The Islander – June 2023< Back
Motivating your Crew
There are many great Captains and senior crew who are doing an excellent job. They are fair, competent and organised; they don’t micro manage and they keep their emotions in check. However, they can still find themselves with crew who are de-motivated, disengaged and all too often leave within a short period of time.
Lord Mark Price spent 34 years working for the John Lewis Partnership, including as Managing Director of Waitrose. Price measured the ‘happiness’ levels of his staff and found a direct correlation to increased profits, less waste, less sickness absenteeism and greater longevity of staff.
“I believe business is a force for good in society and it has the capacity to create a fairer and happier world. Happiness isn't a light-hearted concept, its a serious tool for business. The happier your employees, the happier your customers and the healthier your organisation.”
According to Price, productivity and performance improves naturally if you have a happy and motivated workforce.
Motivation is the force that causes us to take action, whether to eat a snack to reduce hunger or go for a run to get fit. The forces that drive our motivation can range from physical and emotional to social and reasoned. Motivation matters more today than ever before. People have changed in their attitudes towards work, with higher expectations and greater demands. If we want to retain and motivate crew, we need to do more, we also need to motivate them and it’s more than praise and recognition (although that’s important too).
In the 1900’s there was a belief that all you needed was a stick and a carrot to motivate crew. Today the theorists believe there is a third, intrinsic motivation, the desire from within a person to complete the task. Dan Pink has found that the more complex and creative a task is, the traditional rewards such as financial incentives can in fact lead to reduced performance!
According to Pink you require three key ingredients to tap into intrinsic motivation:-
We recently met a Captain who was able to claim longevity from his crew - 7 years’ worth! Crew only left to retire from the industry or take a very senior position. So we asked him what he thought made the difference.
Dan Pink said, “You need to pay people enough money to get the issue of money off the table”.
This relates to purpose. It is important to have a clear common goal for the entire crew and not different ones for each department.
This links with Mastery and a sense of getting better and better. Development is key to helping crew feel motivated and valued, many of the crew who completed the crew turnover survey stated that they would have stayed on a vessel for longer, if they had …. “The opportunity to progress and do courses”.
Both of the last two points relate to Autonomy and helping crew feel that they have some control over their lives.
Over the years, we have heard crew talk about some great ways to motivate people, from giving them their own area to take responsibility for, such as starting with lockers and progressing to tenders. The larger the tender the greater the recognition for their performance and levels of responsibility; to giving crew 3 weeks’ additional leave each year, to complete courses (not necessarily paying for the courses).
Of course every yacht is different and not all of this is possible on your vessel. Why not brainstorm a few new ideas to motivate your crew and try them out this season?!
Impact Crew specialises in on-board team and leadership development, why not invite us aboard to bring some energy and motivation to your crew?! Contact us firstname.lastname@example.org