Onboarding in localization: translating onboarding into a long-term collaboration

by | May 7, 2019

After many months of research and hundreds of interviews, you’ve finally found the new employee whose skills you need to expand and strengthen your localization team! But if you think all your problems are over… well, think again, because it’s time to start the so-called (technical) on-boarding.

Efficient On-boarding Process

On-boarding — also known as organizational socialization — refers to the procedure that helps new employees get acquainted with a company’s culture and learn about the day-to-day tasks, specific processes and workflows. Starting a career in a company is always challenging. More and more companies today have implemented an on-boarding process to allow new staff to best express their potential. Indeed, on-boarding is more than just orientation for newcomers. It’s sharing values and branding, and it involves the entire organization, from C-level executives to interns.

An independent research carried out by Sapling — a San Francisco-based company that offers technology aimed at a smooth on-boarding process — shows that a good on-boarding strategy is essential not just for productivity, but also to help a company retain its new localization specialists.

According to Sapling, employees who had a negative on-boarding experience are twice as likely to look for new opportunities in the near future. On the other hand, organizations with a strong on-boarding process improve new employee retention by 82% and productivity by more than 70%. However, only 12% of current employees say they value their organization’s on-boarding process.

So, whether you’re an LSP or a translation department, you want to make the on-boarding process of your new localization colleagues as smooth as possible.

Setting up

Start at the earliest convenience. A proper on-boarding process starts before the very first day of work of your new colleague. It’s important to make sure that administrative and the basic IT matters are finalized.

  • Make sure that the new employee has signed data privacy agreements and is aware of all the company’s policies.
  • Inform the company of the arrival of a new colleague and what their role is going to be.
  • Your new localization expert should have immediate access to the IT resources they are going to use on their very first day of work. Make sure that they have all the hardware, software and — most importantly — their own accounts (from a computer and monitor to a mouse, USB stick and even cables; from an email address to a Trello/Slack account and all the necessary passwords).
  • In case your company has a certified quality system, the new employee should access all the relevant documentation, from the quality manual to work instructions, as well as the documentation on all the equipment and proprietary systems in use in the company.
  • Schedule in advance the first 2-3 days of work. This way, your new talent will have the necessary time to learn the ropes and feel that the company is supporting them.

Record videos

Depending on how many people you are hiring, it might be wise to record some videos that can be reused for each new hire. At Wordbee, we use Loom to record both the screen and the webcam, which makes it perfect for showing someone how to do something.

When we’re talking about technical on-boarding, that can be a pretty great thing!

Determine a coach and start training

Determine a coach. Although your new localization employee will already have all the necessary tech knowledge and skills, it’s good practice to assign a member of your team to guide them through the various workflow steps and systems, just to make sure they can become productive as soon as possible.

  • If you have a translation management system in place, make sure your new colleague knows the platform inside out. In some cases, your technology vendor might provide some ad-hoc training, for example on how to handle/store most file formats, how to maintain master translation memories, how to select the right MT engines, and any other functionality that can help speed up work.
  • If training on your localization system proves difficult, contact your vendor. Wordbee, for example, offers several training options to help on-board your new team members.
  • Inform the new colleague about the company’s security policy and make sure that they have the necessary devices (for example, a smartcard or an authenticator) to access the various levels of the company’s IT infrastructure. Sometimes it’s useful to have them sign up for a security training.
  • Explain the best practices when using office equipment and devices.
  • Share any tips about the most commonly used tools for productivity and communication.
  • Provide clear guidelines about the procedure to request technical assistance.
  • Don’t forget GDPR: The regulation requires all employees receive proper training.


Over? Not at all. Now, your new employee has to get into the groove of their daily tasks. Let them find their way through the operating procedures, the quality management system and the company’s accountability systems.

Provide them with the tools and metrics necessary to track their work and their progress. For example, lead them through the company’s  KPIs and how they’re tracked and used.

Finally, last but not least, set up a performance review program to avoid misunderstandings and, most importantly, increase productivity.

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