Management Connect with Seafarers plays an important role in the success and growth of the
maritime business. With the seafarers’ adapting to a challenging lifestyle and swift changing
technology, maritime management must also work to ensure a positive and healthy relationship
with its employees.
Factors such as lack of progression opportunities, organizational policy, poor working conditions, and isolation from families lead to estrangement, dissatisfaction, and demotivation among seafarers. Also, reports indicate that the instances of ego clashes between the authorities and the employees have increased more than before in the maritime organization. For smooth and safe operations, seafarers and the management should imbibe good understanding among themselves. The chief officer or the captain should instil the importance of interpersonal relationship among crew members. The management should also work toward enhancing social engagement and avoiding politics among the mariners while on board.
Motivating the mariners time to time can enhance the performance of the Mariners. Here are a few steps to ensure an efficient management connect with maritime workers:
• Give them a voice and a vote: It’s said that the best knowledge lies within the people on
the front lines and enables the seafarers to drive decisions and priorities.
• Hear what your employees are actually saying: Listening to your employees’ concerns and feedbacks has always been the most efficient way to build a relationship and make them feel valued. The management must arrange for platforms where the employees can provide their feedbacks and express their concerns.
• Embrace random connections: Nothing is better than a one-to-one communication. Therefore, whenever possible move around and randomly connect with employees. Ask them what they're doing as well as how they're doing.
• Empower, ask, and listen: The job of leaders is to empower their teams and stand for them. This is the kind of support that builds insane loyalty while inspiring employees to deliver their best output. The best management believes in empowering its crew members. The idea of empowerment advocates giving employees requisite skills, resources, authority, opportunity, and motivation. This also makes them responsible and accountable for the outcomes of their actions.
In an industry where many seafarers leave the job after a few years owing to the challenging
conditions, motivation by the management becomes highly important. It saves the industry from
losing valuable trained manpower. Categorised as extrinsic and intrinsic motivators, motivation
helps in retaining employees. The following are some of the extrinsic motivators.
• Attractive wage: Handsome salary and its timely payment are one of the greatest instruments of motivation and bring the most out of the employees.
• Additional payments: Remuneration in the form of bonuses and other types of formal or informal payments boost the morale of the seafarers and dockworkers. • Career advancement opportunities: Seafarers must get a chance to spend a good amount of time at sea because it is essential for their growth. They should also have a choice to opt for shore opportunities. For dockworkers, training programs are essential because it helps them, move up the ladder.
Besides extrinsic motivators, there are many intrinsic motivators that boost the morale of the maritime workers and help in increased productivity
• Employee-Employer relationship: The sea, at times, can turn out to be a hostile place to work. The positive attitude at the management level where the management listens to its employees and takes care of its employees’ needs at sea can drive and motivate the seafarers to keep going and perform their best.
• Physical security: High accident rate and harsh working conditions in the maritime industry can impart a negative image of the profession. Therefore, the management should ensure the safety and comfort of maritime workers.
• Autonomy: A certain level of autonomy but with strict regulatory management constraints often leads to better productivity.
• Recreational facilities, such as swimming pools, squash courts, purpose-built gyms for collective sports on board can break the monotony of sea life, allowing the seafarers to socialize.
Good management and positive work culture onboard are the foundations of every industry, and the maritime industry is no different with respect to that aspect; they can help in rebuilding a good social life at sea. Moreover, the success of management counts only when the team is happy, energetic, and excited. Adopting the best practices mentioned above can help in motivating and retaining the maritime workers for longer duration.