Employee of the Month Award on Cruise Ships - a good way to recognize the hard working crew

Nov 02, 2021

Since I have worked on land, I have attended so many focus groups related to large corporations and other government entities attempting to figure out how to maintain long term employees. Just as the cruise industry, I presently work in a high burnout profession where the turnaround is 5-10 years. While listening to the people talk in these focus groups it always comes back to being acknowledged and appreciated for the hard work that people do, friendly and healthy work environment, and feeling supported by coworkers and the leadership. 

I am grateful at my current places I get all this and much more. However, often I think how grateful I am for my boss who on weekly basis reminds me of how great of an employee I am. It makes me want to stay and work harder than I have ever worked. Naturally, my thoughts go to my cruise shipmates and how does the cruise industry celebrates its employees. 

Crew Center set out to ask this question from its community of crew members. We were pleasantly surprised that most cruise lines had some way of celebrating their hard-working employees in a manner of "employee of the month." 

Carnival Cruise Lines crew member informed that when a person is selected as employee of the month that person receives $200, a day off and a paid dinner in a specialty restaurant. 

Another crew member working for NCL informed that each leader from a back of the house department places a card regarding an employee and then they vote on who will be the "vacation hero of the month." The crew working in front of the house are voted by guests filling up a comment card at the end of the cruise. The top 5 people are entered into a raffle and they are able to pick small prizes such as internet card, complimentary dinner at the specialty restaurant etc. The "vacation hero of the month" is acknowledged at the monthly captain's meeting and is able to enter raffle for higher prizes such as dinner for two in a specialty restaurant, spa gift card, short excursion, and the guest cabin experience. Furthermore, same crew member informed that a person who saves a life receives a star to be acknowledged as such.

Royal Caribbean crew member informed that each employee of the month receives $500, as well as other prizes “Depends on the ship, prizes might vary... Like, here on the Oasis I think they get a day off” the crew member said.

In the world of psychology, it has been long established that positive reinforcement means employee retention and while these efforts from the cruise industry are great to acknowledge its employees, it is time to directly ask its employees of what does positive reinforcement constitute for them?

As I just finished the last focus group of employee retention, I cannot stop but think how much more the cruise industry has in order to reach this goal long term. Thus, we would like to ask what would be a good way to recognize the hard-working crew members?

Photo credit: Mein Schiff Crew Fb Page