GALA Members Respond to Employee Training Needs
By: Irene Koppenaal (WhP), James Wei (EC Innovations), Xavier Masa (iDISC), Gavin Wheeldon (Applied Language Solutions) - EC Innovations
19 February 2007
Irene Koppenaal, Localization Manager
A quick integration of new staff is appreciated by both existing staff members and newcomers alike, and it has a measurable influence on job satisfaction and the performance/efficiency of the entire team. Providing information, feedback, training and making sure that the newcomer feels part of the team as quickly as possible requires a specific plan of action.
Assign a coach to the new staff member. Management should make sure that the coach is officially assigned X hours/week for coaching activities so as to avoid workload conflicts that might have an averse effect. The coach's first responsibility is to establish a relationship of trust with the newcomer and to provide constructive feedback on his or her functioning in the new job. The coach should have the correct skill set to supervise the newcomer - it should not just be a person who has some time to spare.
Prepare a training plan based on the newcomer's experience. Take into consideration the CV, also the information that has been gathered during job interviews. Discuss the plan with the new employee and adapt. Plan progress meetings and indicate the end date of the official coaching period. The training plan should account for tool training, company procedures and processes, but also include time to spend on customer information and how you communicate, both internally and externally. Example areas to address are:
- Where can the newcomer find information or who is the person to contact?
- What procedures and processes do they need to know?
- What technical support do they need (training in company applications, other software)
- Who will explain it to them / when / duration?
- How does the company/team interact professionally but also socially
Give the new employee real project or management responsibility (on the job training) from day one, whatever their level of entry. Of course, the less experience, the more supervision will be needed, but this is great for motivation and integration.
Make sure everyone in your organization/project team and - if applicable - your customers know about the newcomer and the role he or she will play in the organization. Also, make sure there are no technical hitches (a desk, PC, (mail) account, etc.) in resources that need to be provided.
And remember, for a newcomer, nothing is evident. Never assume they know what you know - check! And don't make immediate judgments - even experienced newcomers need some time to digest all the new information received in the first weeks.
James Wei, CEO
Beijing E-C Translation Ltd.
When we talk about the localization sector here in China , new staff usually have limited or no knowledge about localization. Therefore, both management and technical training is needed. Generally, the training courses may include basic and specific concepts and knowledge of the localization industry. Letting new staff know the difference between localization with IT or traditional translation is also necessary. New employees should be trained in the specific tools used in localization as well as project implementation workflow and business processes adopted by the localization company that will provide the new staff with the bigger picture about his or her job. Project management, quality assurance, and resource coordination should be covered as well as customer service, the core competition of a localization company. Finally, it's important to let new staff know about the company culture and to stress communication skills and team work.
Training new employees is an ongoing task. Two to three weeks of entrance level training is not enough. The human resource manager needs to carefully design a professional development program together with each new employee and regularly check the progress. More importantly, the localization company should build a staff performance evaluation system so that employees and managers can find the gaps between standards and actual performance and then customize a training schedule for each individual employee accordingly. An effective training method goes far beyond just providing training courses. Building a platform to encourage new colleagues to ask questions and experienced colleague to share their knowledge and skills is more effective.
Xavier Maza, Localization Services Manager
iDISC Information Technologies, S.L.
New staff at iDISC will have a language-based background. We have had an innovative learning module based on the concept of “constant awareness” for more than a year. The system is known internally as SCore. The philosophy behind SCore is one of constant attention, and via test-type questions and predetermined answers, we can question the translator and see his or her level of knowledge on a specific topic. It also serves to bring them up to speed, since the fact that they are provided immediately with the correct response functions as a training system. PMs have a better idea of the translator's knowledge and their awareness or "fitness" to participate in a project and can use it to select the most appropriate resources for a specific project based on their areas of knowledge, their scores, and how up to date they are, among other criteria. SCore is completely customizable and quantifiable, and as such it is a purely objective tool for the evaluation of translators.
Several University - Business partnerships allow us to teach at the university on areas for which we think we can add our point of view, as well as select relevant candidates for internships with a view to incorporating them in the future, if conditions are right. These candidates already possess basic technical knowledge from the Master's in IT translation and localization they have completed, and practical aspects have been taken care of during the traineeship. Management is pretty much simplified with our internal web based portal, IDCP.
Gavin Wheeldon, CEO
Applied Language Solutions
The training requirements for new staff at ALS are dependent upon the new hire's role. Staff hired for technical roles will already have the required expertise in that arena and vice versa for project management. The industry is becoming increasingly technical, so generally new staff require more training on this aspect. Our vision as a company is to use innovative technology in order to provide language solutions for our customers, so training on the latest software, file formats and processes is key.
Our HR staff will assess the training requirements for each new team member and will create a customized training plan, which will include training on our internal systems and processes. All new staff will initially train alongside a team member in each different department in order to gain experience on how the company operates as a whole and how all departments fit together. This will be followed by mentor-based training, whereby the new employee will train alongside an experienced team member in the relevant department. We also have a continuous training program for all employees, which means that no matter whether you are a junior or a senior member of staff, you will benefit from continued training on a wide variety of subjects (for example: hosting webinars or using updated software).