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Maritime HR Forum Day 1

What a great first day of our #maritimehr forum in London. Big thanks to our 90-something delegates, speakers, and of course Thistle Marble Arch for the venue and keeping us fed and watered.

We've covered some fantastic stuff today already; a fascinating overview of shipping and world trade from Stephen Gordon of Clarksons had everybody dazzled with stats and data, but in a very accessible way.

The general feeling was that after 5 years of shipping downturn, things are picking up – though not in all areas of shipping – and while confidence is good, we must be cautious.

The late morning panel session was lively to say the least, featuring opinion from Tradewinds, Moore Stephens, InterManager and more.

Mark Dickinson, Nautilus International stressed that we have a growing shortage of maritime professionals and must abide by the 3 'F's Fair working conditions / Fair treatment / Fair transport.

It was also hinted that we have to work extra hard to attract the next generation of shipping professionals.

After lunch, everybody attended breakout sessions. Top line findings are:

Retention, attrition and motivation:
– there is such a thing as 'bad retention' – people who might have worked somewhere so long there is no flexibility or willingness to change
– you have to retain the right qualities and skillsets
– engagement must be positive to complement retention
– different age groups are motivated by different things

– good leaders give value to the company and the staff
– leadership drives performance
– the shipping industry is so compliance-focused, there is a tendency to follow a box-ticking culture
– some people can be trained in leadership, sure, but there are natural-born leaders

Social media:
– it's essential to monitor what people are saying about your company through applications such as Hootsuite or TweetDeck
– then you must engage with the public
– social media is a great tool for HR professionals: looking up potential hires and seeing how they represent themselves (which in turn shows how they may represent your company)

Overall, it's been a great day. We look forward to the next sessions tomorrow; follow the hashtag #maritimehr to keep up with all the goings-on.

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