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Attracting & retaining employees- the value of a rolling benefits strategy

Seafarers Awareness Week takes place in the UK from June 24-30th. MHG would like to publicly acknowledge and salute all seafarers across the globe. They have written this short article for HR Consulting to share their knowledge and experience of attracting and retaining seafaring staff.

Attracting and retaining a talented, committed workforce is crucial for cruise lines. Research shows that employees' attitudes toward their health and retirement benefits are correlated with their employment choices, as well as with their levels of commitment and engagement. This is no different when it comes to officers and crew. Employers that are able to target their benefit package to attract and retain officers and crew gain a valuable competitive advantage.

With the continued expansion of the cruise industry and a full order book for new ships over the next few years, sourcing and keeping your best crew will become more challenging as the demand for quality seafarers increases. It has become apparent that having a long-term strategy in place for attraction and retention will be conducive to improved job satisfaction resulting in higher productivity and as a result, hopefully, increased revenue. There are many factors that affect overall job satisfaction: working conditions, opportunity for advancement, workload & stress level, co-workers & management and of course financial reward. Increasingly though, financial reward cannot be limited to just money in the bank at the end of the month. The solution lies in an integrated employee benefits package; and this package is taking on an increased level of importance as it not only affects the officer or crew member but potentially their dependents as well.

Rewarded Workforce = Dedicated Workforce
Traditionally, a wider range of benefits was reserved for only very senior officers, and even in some cases, to only those in the Deck and Engine Department. As competition for the best crew increases, from the Captain to the dishwasher, benefits can be tailored to provide added value to all employees while remaining affordable to the employer. Providing benefits may not be enough to keep your crew happy. A good communication strategy is key to ensure that crew members understand their benefits as well as ensuring that they appreciate and value the package they receive. For example, turn your CBA / MLC obligations into a benefit that your crew appreciate. In some cases, with a little extra investment, it is possible to extend the benefits provided under a CBA agreement to cover the crew while on vacation – this can be a great way to ensure that the crew report to the ship fit for duty.

Keeping Your Staff Pays
One of the keys to a successful business is to keep the level of employee turnover to a minimum. Replacing employees’ affects the bottom line in many ways from lost productivity to recruitment costs – interviewing, hiring & training candidates. This cost can be as high as 30 percent of a position’s annual salary. Therefore, it could be said that it pays to keep on your current staff! A competitive benefits package may include:

  • International health insurance – year-round cover or vacation cover
  • Disability income protection / Sick pay
  • Accidental death and dismemberment
  • Life insurance
  • Retirement Savings

Budget for Your Goals
As with anything, it all comes down to budget. A company might not be able to offer all benefits to all crew members, however, with a rolling strategic plan based on projected budgets, the benefits offered can be tactically tailored to current and future employees to maximise employee attraction and retention. By having a budget in place and working towards an overall goal, the probability of reaching that goal becomes more attainable. MHG will work with you to build a strategy that will give you the best value for your dollar down the road. Rather than jumping into a plethora of benefits, we can work with you to create a timeline as to when to start offering certain benefits, and in essence save you money, retain your employees, and increase your bottom line.

Get in Touch
For more information on a rolling benefits strategy or any of the plans that we offer, please contact us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0)1624 678668 or visit us at

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