Shipping and diversity need no introduction in terms of relevance to each other. Being a globally oriented industry, personnel from virtually every country co-exist in the shipping industry, on merchant ships that travel from one country to another, experiencing a surreal change in nature, culture, values and all the emotional aspects of the locality and its inhabitants.
But as the bigger picture emerges, we still manage to falter in our ways of being a truly diversified industry. As the evolution of shipping has been tremendously complex, what happens in the year 2050 could be either a derivative from current prospects, or some far-fetched idea, but the need for sustainable diversification will surely pave the way for our future foundations.
Reckoning up, I would say that shipping’s majority workforce will by then no longer be from the big guns of the industry, such as the Philippines, India, China, Thailand, and Singapore. Rather, it will also have appreciable human resources from smaller yet rapidly developing shipping nations such as Qatar, Malaysia, and Myanmar.
To achieve ease of working and coordination, as well as people being comfortable in their own skins and environment in the future, the need to lay the foundations of a diversified organisation is evident like never before, and that is how the Synergy Group (one of the fastest growing organisations in the industry) has always gone about things, and with efficient management of its human resources driving the core of the business.
For the next five years, I would suggest, from my own knowledge, the following actions to inculcate the foundation of a better diversified environment in the organisation.
1. Cultural exchange events
Gatherings such as open talks and seminars should be conducted by the company. Such will promote people to interact with others so that they can understand each other’s culture and values, thus enhancing harmony and promoting diversity.
2. More planned recreational activities
Food is one of the best ways to find out about anyone’s heritage. Food festivals on board or onshore promote the notion of showing one’s sense of belonging and upbringing. Similarly, the idea behind “Wear Your City” is a dressing competition, for people to show off the handicrafts, clothing, accessories, and history of their region.
3. Collective training onshore
Training onshore with people coming together from different groupings will promote the sense of togetherness while accepting individual differences. The groupings could be based on region, religion, economic background, or type of work. Common training would focus on how to maintain each person’s morale, while taking account of differences and adapting to them, hence creating a healthier work environment.
4. Sensible crew management
Together with the above onshore training, crew management should be done so as to restrict any sort of trend, bias or monopoly, (whether regional, national, ethical or departmental) on board. This will automatically promote work in a diverse environment, better enabling a crew to handle all kinds of mental stress and fortifying them, mentally.
5. Stricter action in cases of fault
I mean here any sort of racism, whether based on colour, race, religion, gender, or caste). Racism can be a big problem for any organisation with a wide variety of individuals. Any such must be met with strict, but also justified, action, so faith in the system is maintained and the diversity and dignity of the organisation remain intact. Synergy has been upholding such values right from its founding, and with continuing proper measures I am optimistic about a bright future for each individual associated with it. A system consisting of a workforce based on the principle of “Unity in Diversity” is bound to have success.
Deck Cadet Suraj Chand – “BW Boss”