Sea ViewsFrom President and COO, Adam Goldstein

Sea Views Blog with Adam Goldstein

Never a Typical Day in the Office! A Day in the Life of a Human Resources Manager

I am Jeff Carswell, the Human Resources Manager onboard Freedom of the Seas.  I was invited to share my experiences as part of the “A Day in the Life” blog series.  Here is a recent day in my life.

I arrived in my office at 7:00 am to prepare for the day ahead and handle a range of issues.  At 9:00 am I joined the rest of the Executive Committee (EC), which is a five-person senior management group under the Captain’s Chairmanship, so we could meet the new crew members.

Freedom of the Seas

The introduction included each of the five EC members delivering a short talk on topics relating to our job responsibilities.  I shared general information about human resources with an emphasis on the benefits each person can enjoy as a crew member while onboard.  I also reminded them of the great opportunity to learn about different cultures and customs from our internationally diverse crew. Finally, I talked about the need to respect other crew members and to dedicate some time to relaxation.

After the crew member introductions, the EC started the weekly management meeting.  We discussed key issues that are happening onboard as well as discussions on various matters of direct operational impact.  We also covered issues from the Miami office for consideration and attention.  One major topic always discussed from an HR perspective is crew welfare, which is considered a very important topic.

Shortly after returning to my office at 10:30 am I was visited by a crew member needing help finding a way home.  He had just received a message from home advising that his father had passed away.  Coming as it did, only a few short weeks after he also lost his mother, this was hitting him very hard.  After calming him down I accessed one of our systems established to assist crew members experiencing major personal issues needing to get home as quickly as possible.  The crew member’s Division Head was advised and all the necessary approvals were arranged very quickly and we were able to get the crew member on a plane home when we reached the next port the following day.  These issues are always treated with special care because it is difficult to receive bad news when you are a long way from home.

Next I attended the monthly Service Award presentations where long serving crew members are honored at a function attended by the EC, Division Heads and the respecting employee Supervisors.  At this particular function, arranged by Human Resources, the Captain presented 19 crew members with a plaque and their choice of a service gift.  Most of the crew members receiving an award have worked for the company from five to fifteen years with one having clocked in an amazing thirty years – and they came from all ranks across the ship. The entire event was video taped to be shown on the ship’s TV Channels dedicated to crew member issues.

After the award presentation, I started work on preparations and planning for interviews of crew members who had submitted applications to transfer to a different position, or requesting a promotion.  There were almost 80 applications and the work involved in screening the applicants and planning the interviews is time consuming.  However, since one of our company’s key areas of focus is crew satisfaction, I spend the time attending to these tasks.

Later, I met with the HR Specialist to discuss issues and activities pertaining to Crew Welfare.  Some of the topics included were scheduling the ship’s next Crew Appreciation Dinner, a special celebratory event held quarterly to celebrate the crews’ successes and the entertainment schedule for the current week and beyond.  We hold movie nights several times a week, as well as Bingo.  We finalized plans for a fund raising Monster Raffle, talked about the Crew Talent Show, and an expansion of the already well equipped crew iCafe.

Freedom of the Seas FlowRider

Next I attended a delicious, special Soup Lunch, arranged as a casual team building event where Officers from two stripe levels up would drop in, enjoy some soup and have an opportunity to chat about whatever was on their mind and in particular, get to know one another better.

Around 3:00 pm I opened my office door to enable crew members to drop in and see me at their leisure as they were waking up from their afternoon break.  Today’s main issues involved advice on the status of the selection processes where crew members had already been successful and were now waiting for a vacancy to arise, career guidance when crew members wanted my advice on where they should be heading in terms of their longer term career aspirations and finally dealing with a couple of conflicts between crew members which turned out to be misunderstandings because of cultural differences.  I was also asked to provide support with plans for a couple getting married on one of the beaches in St. Thomas.  Secretly, I needed to arrange a reception for them on their return to the ship after the ceremony and a Guest Stateroom for the rest of the week.

In the evening I delivered a talk at one of the Leadership Development Training sessions that was conducted to assist crew members preparing for more senior positions as part of their personal career planning.

Then it was time to retire to my cabin and concentrate on the large number of e-mails that arrived during the afternoon.  At 8:45 pm I finally put my feet up and celebrated my birthday.

18 responses to:
“Never a Typical Day in the Office! A Day in the Life of a Human Resources Manager”

  1. Rosemarie Dginto

    Hey Jeff .. Working on the FOS, you know Ryan Lalchan. GREAT guy and a lifesaver when we were on our cruise in May. Say hello to him for me. Enjoy your time on the FOS and safe sailing!

    • Adam

      We’ll be certain to pass your message along, Rosemarie. Thank you for your comment and we hope to see you back onboard soon.

  2. Linda Thoresen

    Happy Birthday, have a wonderful day, and can’t wait to sail on the Freedom of the Seas on January 8, 2012. WooWoo….. Sincerely, Linda Thoresen P.S. LOVE ROYAL CARIBBEAN!!!!

    • Adam

      Thank you for the birthday wishes to Jeff, Linda, we’ll be sure to pass them along. Less than half a year away for your cruise, we can’t wait to have you onboard. See you soon.

  3. Kate Lindstrom

    Dear Mr. Carswell:

    What a wonderful day! I truly enjoyed reading about a ‘day in the life’ of a crew member, especially from the HR department. I knew that Royal Caribbean would offer the most amazing jobs imaginable, and I honestly believe you have a position of a lifetime, and that you’ll make a positive difference every day you’re at work. I would love to be a part of this company, so I’m going to keep sending my resume in hopes I can live my dreams and give guests the most incredible and positive vacations imaginable. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to meeting you one day (for my new position of course!). Many smiles, Kate

  4. Helen-mama Monarch

    I met Jeff on my first cruise on Freedom and since then we have made it a point to meet up every time I am onboard, be it for coffee and a chat or maybe even when he co-hosts the Table. I have found him to be a very caring person, showing great consideration towards the crew. People seem to think that HR just involves hiring and firing but that is the tip of the iceberg, as can be seen by the above blog. Jeff is always available for any crew member that needs someone to talk to, someone to listen and someone to help them sort out lifes little problems (that seem so much larger away from home). I look forward to seeing Jeff on my next Freedom cruise.

    • Adam

      Thank you for your kind words, Helen. We’ll be sure to pass your passionate message along to Jeff. Thanks again and we can’t wait to have you back onboard.

  5. Marianne Lucas

    Thanks for the great information. Gave us a better look into your duties. Hope to meet you someday on a future cruise. Also… belated Happy Birthday! Enjoyed your blog.

    • Adam

      You are more than welcome, Marianne. Thank you for your kind words and we will be sure to pass your message along to Jeff.

  6. Donna Marsh

    I was fascinated by your day! I work for Publix Super Markets, and my job title is Adminstrative Coordinator, but is more like a Human Resources position from what I’ve been told by other who see me work. I like my job because there is always something new to do and people to help. I would think it would be a great experience to be on a cruise ship. Are there entry level HR jobs? Maybe one day…I can’t wait to go on our next RC cruise! Love the cruise line!

    • Adam

      We are glad to hear you found Jeff’s day so interesting, Donna. Thanks for your wonderful comment. If you would like to take a look at our open positions we invite you to look here.

  7. Lois Warner

    Our whole family will be sailing on Freedom of the Seas on the July 10, 2011 cruise. We are sailing with our children and grandchildren to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. The family is very excited as we have told them about our previous sailing on Freedom! See you in July!

    • Adam

      Hello Lois, congratulations on your 50th wedding anniversary! We look forward to you and your family joining us onboard Freedom of the Seas this July.

  8. gena diaz

    As an Hr Manager also, I salute you Jeff for maintaining an excellent employer-employee relationship. Hr work is like raising a big family that needs quality time for the betterment of all concerned. You are an asset of the company and that is why Royal Caribbean is well known for being service oriented as the management value their employees very well. My son is lucky for joining Freedom of the Seas as Commis 2. Good luck! Have a nice day.

    • Adam

      We are glad to have your son onboard Freedom of the Seas, Gena. Thank you so much for your kind words, it is great to see our cruisers appreciate all of the work our crew members put in through every facet of our company.

  9. Dawn

    I just wanna say Myself & my best friend are soo excited to be going on our first crusie in December,,we are going on Freedom of the Seas!!

    We plan on experince the whole ship,,;-))

    • Adam

      We can’t wait to have you both onboard, Dawn. Freedom of the Seas is an excellent ship to set sail with and you will certainly have a marvelous time exploring the entire ship. We recently posted an article regarding her enhancements which you can find here, please feel free to read at your leisure and we will see the both of you this December.

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