When a crewmember leaves a vessel, an exit interview should be a standard part of the process, but it often gets missed. I take a look at why it’s essential, not just for the departing crewmember, but for the boat they leave behind, too.
Poor leadership is a common factor when we look at the reasons for crew jumping ship, and without an exit interview the important feedback often goes unknown by captains and management companies. An exit interview gives opportunity to identify any red flags or underlying issues you may not be privy to. As inspirational speaker Simon Sinek says, most employees don’t quit jobs but rather quit bosses.
At The Crew Coach, we get into the guts of the human operation of the vessel through a series of surveys to assess the culture, crew engagement, job satisfaction and leadership. This falls under our People and Culture service. As an industry we are so focussed on the aesthetics of the vessel that we tend to not service the human element.
Even if you have a positive culture onboard, I recommend having your yacht management company or an external service provider, like The Crew Coach, conduct an exit interview with departing team members. I have seen some very poorly written exit interviews that gather no real information; it just serves to meet the obligatory procedures. Open questions allow for more detailed responses, which in turn will allow for you to build validated strategies. If your leader is toxic, it is less likely they will initiate an exit interview for obvious reasons!
Here are five reasons why it’s beneficial to have exit interviews as part of your procedures:
- Identifying reasons for turnover: Exit surveys will help you understand why crew choose to leave. By collecting feedback on their experiences, work environment, management, and overall satisfaction, you can identify patterns and trends contributing to crew turnover. This information is crucial for developing strategies to improve retention rates.
- Retaining top talent: Understanding the factors that lead to crew leaving allows vessels to take proactive steps to address any issues and mitigate the risk of good crew leaving. By addressing concerns and making necessary improvements, vessels can enhance crew satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty.
- Improving the onboard culture: Exit surveys can shed light on aspects of the onboard culture that may be problematic or need improvement. Feedback regarding communication, teamwork, recognition, work-life balance, and growth opportunities can help identify areas where the vessel can create a more positive and supportive environment for the crew.
- Enhancing employee engagement: Exit surveys offer a platform for Crew to share their thoughts openly and honestly. When crew feel heard and valued, it can garner a more positive perception of the vessel even after leaving. This positive experience can translate into a willingness to recommend the vessel to others rather than it being criticised.
- Identifying systemic issues: Exit surveys can uncover systemic issues, such as bias, discrimination, harassment, or unfair practices. By addressing these issues, the vessel can foster a more inclusive and equitable workplace, reducing the risk of legal or reputational damage.
In summary, exit surveys provide vessels with valuable feedback that can drive meaningful changes, increase crew satisfaction, and improve retention rates. By addressing issues and enhancing the crew experience, vessels can create a more positive work environment and build a strong brand/reputation for the vessel.
In our Advanced GUEST IAMI Leadership Course, we help students create their own professional exit interviews. To learn more about the course, visit www.thecrewcoach.com