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What makes a good charterer? How do you know a good superintendent from a lemon? This is one of the topics we'll be covering at the Maritime HR Forum Annual Conference this coming June. The use of KPIs – or Key Performance Indicators – in the shipping industry has been a thorny issue for employers for some time. Now that we have proper HR professionals in the industry, this particular nettle is being grasped.

As you know, dear reader, having purely financial measurements to gauge the success of a company has its limitations; those methods might not capture all the information you need to project to shareholders or customers.

But increasingly, shipping companies are getting good non-financial KPIs implemented to prove their quality and to quantify results without simply relying on the dollar numbers.

So how best to choose which KPIs for your company? The main objectives of setting up a good KPI system are to drive performance, measure success, reward good performance, compare against competitors and understand if changes need to be made.

With that in mind, it's important to develop KPIs that make specific sense to your company; not a generic rule. Will everyone in the company understand the purpose and intended outcome of the KPIs you choose? How will those KPIs have an impact on staff compensation or bonuses? And lastly, what areas of the business need to be measured through these systems – safety, utilisation rates, freight income?

With HR in shipping becoming more and more professionalised, it's so important to ensure that performance management is correctly monitored. KPIs are a great way of implementing a non-financial measurement system to fully appreciate what's working and what's not (and who!).

If you'd like to sit down with up to 60 other shipping employers and share and compare notes, then come along to the Maritime HR Forum annual conference on 6-7 June.

Contact our Director, HR Consulting Services, Michele Hawkins at [email protected]

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