Last year was a busy one for luxury charter yachting. Vessels were busier than ever, which meant that even more stamina and dedication was required from crew.
Yet rumours abound of captains having difficulties with a new generation of staff. Known as ‘Millenials’, or the ‘Y generation’, there is a general consensus that these newcomers have unrealistic expectations of yacht crew jobs; that they are headstrong individuals rather than team players; that they have a different and sometimes negative concept of authority; that they are selfish, self-centred, money orientated and prone to job-hop as soon as another opportunity arises.
Indeed, these are sweeping and extreme generalizations of an entire generation. But with the US Bureau of Statistics stating that Millenials became the majority workforce in 2015, captains and senior crew must understand how to not only recruit, but how to get the best from this highly talented pool.
They are, after all, incredibly talented. They are passionate and sporty with a love of travelling and adventure. They are very fast learners and brilliant communicators – a result of having grown up in the age of social media and the Internet. They are keen to acquire new skills and prove themselves within a competitive environment. All of which are perfect ingredients for those that are willing to train and develop them.
This might take some adaptation on the part of captains and crew, as Millenials are unlikely to respond positively to the traditional ‘command and order’ management style that is the common method on many luxury yachts. But there are a few simple changes might make the difference between retaining your crew and having to start building it up all over again.
Start by being clear about what is expected of them, and imbue them with a sharp vision of the collective goal. Explain that life on a luxury yacht is anything but a holiday, that there will be hard physical work and very long hours. Tell them that you want them to take courses and learn new things. Make them see that they will be part of something that is rich in rewards for those that keep the pace, and that responsibility and promotions are not only achievable but also encouraged. Above all, let them know that they will be working in a unique and enjoyable environment with friends that will take them to places they never dreamed they would go. If you do all that, or even some of that, and give them a chance, you will see that Millenials offer a very bright future for crew.