As companies that have gone through any number of mergers and acquisitions will appreciate, growth can impact an organization’s people in different ways. This was the challenge for Welocalize, the New York-headquartered language services and technology provider (LSP) that, long ago, chose to put people at the heart of its strategic playbook.
“We always say, if we have the right people in the right places, good things happen,” Erin Wynn told the SlatorCon Remote September 2022 audience. Wynn is Company People and Customer Officer at Welocalize.
As a company built on acquisitions, the LSP needed a framework for its many teams around the world to keep talent constantly engaged. So, a year and a half ago, they set out to design one.
What is interesting is that, in creating a career framework, they not only looked at what Welocalize employees wanted, but what clients wanted out of their careers as well.
As Brennan Smith, VP of Talent at Welocalize, recalled, “We all started hearing about The Great Resignation. Folks reevaluating their priorities. We really needed to focus on career progression and get a really good understanding of what people can expect from us; how we plug into their career.”
And then, according to Smith, they asked, “What are our customers looking to do? How are our individual points of contact at customer companies looking to grow their career? How does Welocalize help raise them up? Then our partner network of 50, then our 100,000 linguists, and others who help us deliver on projects.”
It was a massive undertaking with three goals.
- Consistency and predictability
- Transparency and traceability
- Fast yet high-quality decision-making
Why People Stay…or Leave
Welocalize’s career framework clearly showed what factors drive down attrition and result in satisfaction for employees, partners, clients, and the LSP’s network of linguists.
The framework has allowed the company to achieve the lowest attrition, Smith said, adding, “In the past 12–18 months, we’ve seen our highest employee satisfaction since we started measuring [it] in the 25-year history of Welocalize.”
So why did people stay? The main reason given, according to Smith: “Welocalize helps me grow my skills.”
On the sidelines of the online event, we asked Welocalize’s Wynn what they regarded as the cornerstone of this career framework. She replied, “The cornerstone is role clarity. From there, it is a clear path.” Also important are learning and development as well as support, she said.
As to why a person would disengage from an LSP or the language industry, Wynn said, “Some themes we see are pace and workload, [which makes people] want to explore other industries or the client side.”
It is, thus, important to get the people factor right because, as a popular motto at Welocalize goes, “What happens internally shows itself externally.” Or as Wynn told the SlatorCon audience, “When you have chaos anywhere in your life, people around you can feel it.”