Master and chief engineer, also referred to as “Top 2”, constitute the senior management on board and as such they are making key decisions concerning the crew and vessel performance. But how are they part of the company performance management today? And who does the actual performance evaluation?

Green-Jakobsen has made a survey that gives you a picture of how your senior officers experience the performance evaluation process.

If you ask: “Who is the boss of the vessel?” many will refer to fleet management or technical superintendents. But in many cases, they do not see themselves as the manager of the Master or the Chief Engineer, more likely they will see themselves as a ‘controller’.

Perhaps this results in the following situations:

In many cases, briefing of the Master and Chief Engineer before they take command is limited to technical matters and operational plans.
The debriefing meeting, at the end of their contract, is mostly done if issues did arise during the contract period. The meeting is informal and there are often no reflections on the actions made.

Do you discuss leadership style and crew engagement?

In some cases, it is the crewing department who are conducting the meetings with input from superintendents. In other cases, the meetings are held by different superintendents from time to time. We experience that in many companies it is difficult to identify a strong partnership between Top 2 and a counterpart ashore. The relation can be further repressed if the superintendent is a young and less experienced person struggling with building own confidence and respect from the master or chief engineer.

When it comes to making a performance evaluation of the master the performance criteria are often limited to vessel performance results, and the discussion does not include leadership style or crew engagement. Often, this is due to reasons like: “It is difficult to judge the work of someone you cannot observe”.

We see many cases in which master and chief Engineer are not really being part of the performance evaluation; yet, most companies agree to the point that ship-board management and crew engagement are among the top factors influencing the performance of the vessel.

The fact is that having a more structured “people and performance management” approach with the masters and chief engineers will have significant influence on both individual and vessel performance.

Simple points for improvement could include:

A more formalised briefing of master or chief engineer before taking command, including identification of possible focus points such as “facilitating of learning sessions”, “ensuring a more open and trusting working environment” or “stimulating crew engagement”.
Defining or selecting focus areas like an objective setting process rather than using standard performance criteria.
Identifying and setting shared goals between office managers and Top 2
Structure the debriefing meeting with focus on evaluation of defined objectives, progress and learnings made during the contract period.

So, how is your existing performance evaluation process of Top2 actually working today?

Do your senior officers find it engaging? Are your vessel managers or superintendents engaging in the briefing and debriefing?

If you cannot answer these questions with a clear Yes, let us help you get to a point where the performance evaluations provide a much greater value both for the company and the employees.

Need help?

Contact us to participate in the survey or to have your own survey made on performance appraisal.

Thomas Schmidt
Thomas Schmidt
Partner and Senior Consultant

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