Developing crew on board – utilising the ‘down time’

The Islander – February 2015

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On the job development accounts for 70% of learning

This pre-season period is considered by some as ‘downtime’; Christmas has been and gone and the ‘crazy season’ of back to back charters is a mere memory.  Your work list is ticking over, and things are generally looking pretty ship shape.

BUT, are you making the most of this window?
Many people already utilise this time to undertake the mandatory courses that help them up the career ladder. Unfortunately, one of the biggest complaints I hear from senior crew is that newly qualified Officers have all the tickets, but lack real experience and the ability to transfer theory into practical application. They have crammed all the knowledge and passed exams, but when they step back on board they are not ready to step up.

This time is the perfect opportunity to invest in your crew in developing skills on board – call it training, mentoring, coaching, leading; helping crew to retain and apply the skills and knowledge they have acquired is key to bridging the gap.

Management Tool: Holding 1:1s
As a leader you need to take an interest in finding out exactly what your team’s skills and knowledge levels are; this will enable you to discover any gaps, both for the individual and for the larger team as a whole.

Dedicating just 30 minutes of uninterrupted, 1:1 time per crew member, can be invaluable. By asking open questions you can gauge their progress and what their next steps should be.  If they are looking to move up, even if you are not able to offer them the promotion, you can still help them to start preparing for that next position and to gain the experience that they need.

If they need to increase their knowledge - or re-learn elements that they covered on various courses - there are many ways to pass on information.

Meet regularly to see how they are progressing (at least once a month), and use an agenda such as the sample. In time everyone will know what is expected from them and will come prepared.  Those 30 minutes of exclusive time with you talking about themselves, helps individuals to feel valued and in turn motivated – how important is that?!

Even if you are helping them to move on and find that next job, give them your support - you’ll have the added bonus of understanding why they left.  You never know, they may help you to find their replacement and train them into their position!

Encourage them to drive the agenda.  Every few 1:1’s discuss their career and progress.  If there is a performance or attitude issue, deal with it early and give the constructive feedback.  Don’t forget to be a good listener and be as open and honest as you can be.  We recommend that the meeting is documented – ask them to e-mail you a summary, which will strengthen their ownership of the process, as well as save you time!

Give it a try!

TIPS for ONBOARD SKILL DEVELOPMENT:

  • Set them a small assignment, where information has to be researched and presented back
  • Part of the research assignment can be to find YouTube clips of right and wrong ways of doing things
  • Run quizzes – share round the writing of the questions
  • Work shadow someone senior / or junior! / or even from another department
  • Invite a supplier aboard to present to the crew
  • Keep it fun and interactive – this helps with memory retention

SAMPLE 1:1 AGENDA:

  • What has been working well? (add your feedback afterwards)
  • What has not worked so well? (add your feedback – if necessary)
  • Progress – towards specific goals (no more than 3 at any time)
    • What will help them move forward?
    • What support do they need from you?
  • What will they do before your next meeting?
  • Summarise all action points and they should leave feeling positive

Impact Crew is here to help you with your leadership journey – please contact us if you have any questions or need advice.

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