Betting on Talent: Introducing Welocalize Talent Management

By Lyn Carroll

Lyn Carroll is Senior Director, Talent Management at Welocalize, leading a worldwide team with responsibility for the external supply chain. She has 20 years’ experience in the localization and translation industry and holds a degree in Applied Languages from Dublin City University. Lyn’s career spans working as a translator, technical editor, as well as program and vendor management. Lyn is a recognized industry expert and frequent speaker for supply and vendor management. She heads up the talent management program that supports all of Welocalize’s global brand clients.  Lyn is based in Dublin, Ireland.

global talent management“Know your translator” is a phrase we are hearing more and more from many of our customers. There is widespread acknowledgement that quality at source starts with matching the best fit resource for the job.

It makes sense that clients seek to participate in that selection process. What this means for Welocalize is that our understanding and management of our external partners must go beyond high level knowledge of skills and experience at the company level, because our supply chain intimacy will come under increased scrutiny.  I liken it to the traceability concept in the food industry. It’s no longer enough to know the company of origin, rather we must be able to trace right back to the translator of origin for maximum accountability and ownership.

While some may see this as a threat, I view it as an opportunity. Translator selection at the individual level with buy-in from the client stakeholder leads to a far more qualified job-resource matching and ensuring a better fit. Having the client vested from the outset also accelerates on-boarding and ensures any tweaks needed are addressed early on to produce the desired output.

This demand calls for a new approach to how we manage our external supply chain: Talent Management.

Welocalize’s Talent Management is about “knowing your translator”, whether employees or freelancers of our single language vendors (SLVs), individuals we engage directly ourselves, or communities we build. The concepts of “vendor” and “supplier” are too vague. Talent Management necessitates market mastery and deep understanding of the talent available: who, how many, where and at what rate.

Our Talent Management strategy is to continue to work with translation companies in-market for our external languages; however, with a far deeper level of engagement. We expect a window into our partners’ processes and workflows, capacity management and sourcing strategies and access at the individual translator level.

Broadening our supply chain approach, we now engage directly with language talents themselves: individuals with specific skills and expertise, consumer aficionados of the products, services and brands for which we translate. In markets where we experience a finite qualified supply for our needs, we are investing in putting our own “boots on the ground” – Welocalize ambassadors growing our own communities. Another important element of our Talent Management strategy is Resource Brokerage with SLVs in-market to avail of their market knowledge beyond the usual sources, thus extending our reach.

Talent Management means big changes for what you previously called the Global Vendor Management team. Our Talent Managers are strategic thinkers focused on specific language markets, which can identify supply chain and macroeconomic trends to source and develop supply accordingly and in line with the profiles defined by our Language Program Architects.

These efforts are supported by Talent Finders who will deploy social media channels to attract and on-board matching talent for our clients’ needs, faster and more efficiently. The creation of Supply Chain Lead and Community Manager positions in top markets (see Brazil and Russia) will augment our reach and enable us to develop alternative models in markets where demand outstrips qualified supply.

Finally, investment in the technology platform to support Talent Management has been identified as one of the “big bets” for Welocalize in 2014.  It is our future and how Welocalize ensures our clients always get the right people for the right language solutions.

We are confident that the adjustments we have made to the model and the increased collaboration between client-focused Language Program Architects embedded in the Business Units, and Talent Managers targeting the best fit resources in the markets we service is the right one to support business growth and profitability for Welocalize.