Brecht Buchheister is senior director of Welocalize’s global localization staffing solutions. In this blog, he focuses on the two most important factors in successful onsite localization staffing.
The success and viability of the localization staffing business within Welocalize principally depends upon two critical factors: client and employee satisfaction. Seems a bit cliché; however, any person in business needs to have a keen eye on these two foundational pillars. In localization staffing, we serve two masters and if either one is neglected the whole house crumbles. Without happy clients nobody has a job, including me, and without happy and engaged onsite field employees, instances of staff turnover increase and we find ourselves working twice as hard to service the existing project.
PILLAR ONE: THE CLIENT – Clients always come first at Welocalize. All of our business is based on trust. It is trust that we can get the job done if a request comes in for a team of 30 to be onsite in a week and trust that an in-house Welocalize team will be constructed to successfully support the project until completion. Getting new business is always exciting and of course at kickoff and inception, everyone is putting their best foot forward. Whether it’s a three-month engagement or multi-year, our clients must get the same enthusiasm and dedication that they received at the initial discussions.
The lifeblood of client support and trust in staffing is built around recruiting capabilities and ability to scale. Sometimes it’s one to three contractors and in other instances, it’s a team as large as 60, spanning 20+ languages. It is hard to predict what will come through; however, when the requests come in, you have to deliver, sometimes on a tight timescale. Maintaining long-term clients means consistently demonstrating your capabilities.
Another element to the client service is your involvement in handling performance issues. This would include field employees not meeting agreed metrics and tardiness, to name a few.
If the client asks questions like, can we be there tomorrow to speak with the team and individual employees? Can we attend certain meetings? Can we deliver news about contract extension and termination? The answer is always yes, even if we have to jump on a plane to make it happen. The client has to count on us, come rain or shine, in the long and short-term, to fill every position to the best of our ability.
PILLAR TWO: THE EMPLOYEE – A challenge that all staffing companies face is to not just come across as a check cashing firm for the employee. A deeper relationship has to exist whether the employees are translators, linguists, localizers, engineers, testers or programmers. If you never call your employees or e-mail to see how they’re doing, or stop by with lunch and afternoon snacks, this relationship will never happen.
Our field employees need to understand that we’re the intermediary between them and the client. They must feel they can call on us if they’re having a hard time getting along with someone on the team, if they’re not sure how to approach a situation with the client, or if they need to take off time to care for a sick relative. In short, we’re here to help and address any issues or concerns before they end up at the client’s desk.
Our field employees benefit from the growth of our staffing business in the sense that we’re able to suggest alternate projects once an existing engagement ends. Just as clients place trust in us over the long term, we also develop those trusting relationships with our employees who have been reliable and received positive reviews from our clients. Ideally we will work with them for many years.
Clients are well within their right to demand a high level of service and scalability. This also holds true for our on-site, field employees. They should expect responsiveness, respect and compassion from all of their points of contact within Welocalize. The motto that we have adopted internally is that every position matters and every field employee should be treated as a co-worker.
In summary, I’ll say that it’s been a pleasure and honor to lead and direct the Welocalize Staffing business and I’m thankful for the trust that the organization, clients and field workers place in me and my team every day.
Brecht Buchheister, Senior Director of Staffing Solutions