Tanja Schmidt, German Delivery Manager, Welocalize

From Good Enough to Excellence — Adding Value to the Translation Industry: Welocalize’s Health and Culture Committee meets kindred spirit at Localization World London

When I entered the “Bourgogne” room at 4:30 in the afternoon after a full day of presentations and talks at the Welocalize booth already, to be honest, I was already a little exhausted. But then something strange happened: There was a guy talking about things around company excellence and company culture that sounded pretty familiar. And guess what happened: Directly wide awake again!

Stefan Gentz, Managing Director at Tracom OHG, Germany, created a vivid presentation around the topic “From Good Enough to Excellence — Adding Value to the Translation Industry”, including the usual slides, some group work as well as interesting quotes from people like Steve Jobs and Barack Obama. The question at the beginning of everything: What is excellence, actually? What makes an LSP excellent? Answers to the latter from participants were as manifold as the translation industry itself. Given this, why not look for a more structured approach to this?

As per Stefan Gentz, such an approach can be found with the EFQM, the European Foundation for Quality Management, and their “EFQM Model”. The EFQM defined “8 Fundamental Concepts of Excellence”, among them things like “Harnessing Creativity & Innovation”, “Leading with Vision, Inspiration & Integrity” and “Succeeding through the Talent of People”. As per the EFQM, “Succeeding through the Talent of People” involves attracting, developing and retaining talented people, aligning personal and team objectives as well as ensuring a healthy work/life balance. All these aspects are things Welocalize has been looking into in more detail during the past two years now, especially with its “Health and Culture Committee”, which is made up of representatives from all different functional areas across the company, and — what is important — not only upper management people, but also people at the end of the supply chain like project managers and translators. As a member of this committee, I am deeply convinced that this is an important initiative. We have not reached all our goals yet, but we will continue to work hard. Initiatives for this year are — amongst others: Definition of our company culture involving all kinds of different surveys among employees, creation of welcome packages and on-boarding guides for new employees, and many more.

As the EFQM does not only provide the above “guidelines”, but also self-assessment tests for companies, this is probably an invaluable resource for organizations interested in this concept.

Whether companies use this approach or set up internal initiatives like Welocalize did — excellence and culture are important aspects for a company to consider and will become even more important in the future, I think. So, let’s work on this. Let’s work with our employees to create a healthy culture and a sustainable work environment. And with “us” I do not only mean Welocalize, I mean everybody around the world. As we all spend a considerable amount of time at work, shouldn’t we really enjoy this time and shouldn’t we try to make things better when we can?