Known for its beautiful mountains and lakes, Sweden is the third largest country in Europe based on its land area. The population of Sweden is approximately 9 million; it is highly educated and skilled in manufacturing higher-order electronic products. The main language of Sweden is Swedish, but English is widely spoken and taught in the schools.
This serves as a major benefit to North American trainers, who do not need to translate their training content. Sweden has a high standard of living, with education, health care, vacations, and pensions mandated by the Swedish government.
Because of the quantity and quality of the benefits the Swedish people receive, their tax rate is very high compared to the tax rate in North America.
WHERE DOES TRAINING FIT IN?
Because of its small population, Sweden needs to export products to truly grow its economy. There is awareness that workers require higher skills to compete in the global economy. Swedish companies can earn far higher profits selling finished goods as opposed to commodities. Training is needed to allow this change to occur. Your business will benefit from manufacturing products and exporting them worldwide. Swedish companies are famous for their information technology, pharmaceutical, and telecommunications products. In addition, the Swedish people have the education and high standard of living to purchase your products and services.
The Swedish government is well aware that continual training is required for its citizens to stay on the cutting edge of technology. Training is needed in topics as diverse as critical thinking, communications, customer service, creative problem-solving, quality (including Six Sigma), time management, leadership, and advanced presentation skills.
While your training costs may be higher in Sweden, it is worth it as this is a well-educated, wealthy population that can produce and purchase your goods and services. The main locations for training are in the following major Swedish cities: Stockholm, Göteborg, and Malmö. Training programs often are held in hotels or onsite at the company itself.
- Keep in mind that the Swedish people are very reserved, but they can be direct and almost abrupt in their communication.
- The training environment can feel formal, so expect to address your participants by their last names.
- Ice-breakers and training games will not be appreciated.
- Small group work is very popular.
- Although the individual is respected in Sweden, do not single anyone out for praise.
- Have clear ground rules as to the structure and schedule of the training.
- Use slides and provide handouts to help participants retain course content.
- Adjust the speed and delivery of your material until you are clear on participants’ English comprehension. English is most likely not participants’ first language.
- Be prepared for the fact that participants may not ask you many questions.
Dr. Neil Orkin is president of Global Training Systems. His organization prepares corporate professionals for global business success. For more information, visit http://www.globaltrainingsystems.com.