A recent global study by Lloyd’s Maritime Academy has revealed that over 41% of maritime professionals receive no funding from within their business for training. Strengthening the commitment to training, as well as investing more time in career path development is key to attracting and retaining talent and ensuring businesses are prepared for the future.
Recognising the importance of enhancing its employees’ leadership skills to help inspire peers and nurture a culture of teamwork, learning and collaboration, Fleet Management Limited recently engaged with Lloyd’s Maritime Academy to deliver a programme for its Fleet Managers.
Who is Fleet Management Limited?
Fleet Management Limited is one of the world's largest independent third-party ship management firms with a 25-year history, over 20,000 qualified seafarers and over 500 vessels under management. Employees are the driving force behind the efficient delivery of streamlined services – challenging the accepted wisdom and constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible. People are the Company’s biggest asset and therefore best practices in recruitment, training and development, and employee retention are integral to the business. During a recent five-year period of accelerated business growth, the number of the Company’s fleet managers has increased significantly, giving rise to new challenges that they wanted to address.
“In fleet management, a typical talent pipeline for onshore fleet managers is the step-up from chief ship engineer. But while engineering skills are important, managing multiple ships in an onshore office-based environment requires a new set of skills,” comments Rory Buchanan, Group HR Director at The Caravel Group (of which Fleet Management Limited is a subsidiary). “These skills include managing people remotely, as well as collaborating with different departments and roles within an office environment. Leadership, identifying new talent, recruitment, and training and supervision of seafarers all form an important part of a fleet manager’s skillset.”
Nurturing a harmonious office environment whilst fostering teamwork and cross-team collaboration in a period of growth and change were additional catalysts for Fleet Management Limited’s new training programme for fleet managers.
The Lloyd’s Maritime Academy approach
Fleet Management Limited partnered with Lloyd’s Maritime Academy to design and implement a bespoke two-day Leadership for Fleet Management programme, enabling fleet managers to become more effective leaders. The programme was tailored to the specific needs of Fleet Management Limited by incorporating a maritime-focused perspective and an emphasis on immediate, practical outcomes.
“Lloyd’s Maritime Academy has a wealth of industry expertise which meant it could proactively develop a programme that met our organisational needs. The course applied management theory to a maritime setting and considered our operational requirements, including the fact that we run a 24/7 business,” explains Rory Buchanan.
The aim of the programme was to arm fleet managers with the knowledge and skills required to more effectively manage office and seagoing staff, to deal with internal and external stakeholders in a more positive manner, and to maintain and promote the organisation’s safety culture. Delegates who took part in the programme were also able to develop their communication skills, and complete practical exercises designed to help overcome communication barriers, as well as motivate teams to harness the best performance.
The Company’s fleet managers were also taken on a path towards developing a just culture, where everyone has a duty to listen to others and act as a team player. The participants developed ideas on how to enhance the company as a learning organisation that uses unforeseen outcomes as a vehicle for improvement. A combination of just culture and learning culture in turn leads to an effective safety culture by design where the emphasis is on finding cause, not blame.
A total of 65 ship superintendents completed the programme with an average satisfaction score of 4.3 out of 5. The importance of situational awareness, stress management and the ability to reduce stress in others were noted as some of the most valuable subjects covered by the programme. Participants also found the training to be highly relevant to their role, with interactivity and practical exercises being singled out as other key highlights of the programme’s delivery.
To ensure the course was immediately applicable in practice, each fleet manager developed their own action plan, encompassing key points noted down during the two days for future consideration.
“With growth comes a greater reliance on teamwork and team-based organisational processes. It is vital for our fleet managers to adopt strong leadership skills which become essential in times of stress. The training programme designed and delivered by Lloyd’s Maritime Academy has provided us with a strong foundation for effective leadership and harmonious cross-team collaboration,” comments Rory Buchanan.
Fleet Management Limited is developing a new competency model which will guide the development of skills and competencies of its future leaders. In collaboration with Lloyd’s Maritime Academy, it is aiming to further evolve the Leadership for Fleet Management programme to help deliver targeted development and continued success of the Group’s fleet managers.