How to personalise onboarding for new crew:
Once you have successfully found your new crew members for the season you need to lay firm foundations on which to build your dream team. Finding the right people is just the first step to building a great crew. Getting them onboard, oriented and settled in, is so important if they are to perform well. Remember that familiarity breeds contentment, so the sooner they feel comfortable on board and in their role, the sooner they will start performing well. Here are a few tips on how to personalise onboarding for new crew:
Prior to the crew member stepping onboard find out some of their home comforts or practical products that will help get them through the season, this can form part of your welcome pack! Not only is this an opportunity to get creative but you are also setting a precedence of the existing culture. And dont forget acts of kindness can go a long way!
When the crew member arrives greet them at the tender and get the crew to help them with their bags.
After showing them to their cabin invite them to the crew mess for a cup of tea or meal. This is an opportunity to have an informal chat and make the newbie feel at home. This is a great time to give them the wifi password so that they can connect with the outside world.
Then make a formal introduction to the crew and share some information about them so that the crew can get a better picture of who they are and where they come from. Include some personal interests such as wake boarding or cycling, as well as some detail of their previous work experience. In doing so, you can help the new person connect with other crew members who may have similar interests.
Use a buddy system by assigning an existing crew member to show them around and be their go-to person if they have any queries. Ideally the ‘buddy’ is in the same department and can show them the “in and outs” of the department. Don’t assume that they will know how things are done as its often different between yachts. Taking the time to physically show them where things are, how to use the equipment, is far more effective than sitting them down and working through a check sheet.
Set up a personal one-on-one meeting with the Captain and yourself. The purpose of this meeting is for the new crew person to understand the procedures and standing orders aboard your boat. The safety officer will also cover standard safety procedures. Most importantly the Captain can cover both the personal and professional expectations. For the HOD meeting this can be a more personal meeting where measurement criteria and performance reviews can be discussed. It is really important to let the new crew member know when and how often you will be checking in with them so that they know what to expect. In time as they settle in you may not need to check in as frequently. The key is to ensure the channels of communication are kept open as well as facilitating a personable environment so that they feel safe and comfortable to ask for help when needed.
Onboarding should be a fun process where you can proudly show off the culture you have spent so hard in creating. Best wishes for the new season ahead!