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 to build your dream team. The first place to start is to ensure you have created a solid onboarding process.

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Finding the right people is just the first step to building a great crew. Getting them onboard, oriented and settled in is vital if they are to perform well. Remember that familiarity breeds contentment, so the sooner they feel comfortable onboard and in their role, the sooner they will perform well.

Here are a few tips on how to personalise onboarding for new crew:

1. Go The Extra Mile

Before the new crew member steps 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 don’t forget that 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.

2. Be Inviting

Your first day can be overwhelming as you meet new faces and get yourself orientated around your new home. After you have done the intros, show the new crew member to their cabin and 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 also a great time to give them the wifi password to connect with the outside world.

3. Introductions

Ensure to make a formal introduction to the crew and share some information about them so that the crew get a better picture of who they are and where they come from. Include some personal interests such as wakeboarding or cycling and 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.

4. Buddy System

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”. Don’t assume that they will know how things are done as it’s 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.

5. Formal Induction

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.

The HOD meeting can be a more personal meeting where you can discuss measurement criteria and performance reviews. It is essential to let the new crew member know when and how often you will check in with them, so 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 communication channels are kept open and to facilitate a personable environment so that they feel safe and comfortable to ask for help when needed.

How to personalise onboarding for crew

Onboarding should be a fun process where you can proudly show off the culture you have spent so hard creating. Be creative with your onboarding process, and let me know how you get on. Best wishes for the new season ahead!