As I look out at the blue water of Marigot Bay in St. Lucia, I reflect upon the reason for my arrival into this tropical paradise. While one would think it is to soak in the sun of one of the many all-inclusive resorts, such as Sandals, this trip is business. Although I won’t be soaking in the sun, my focus this trip is to negotiate with the union and continue to build upon my relationship with this base location that hosts some of the most superlative sailing among the Caribbean Islands.
Who We Are
Providing yacht holidays worldwide for over forty years, TUI Marine manages the worlds’ leading sailing yacht, power yacht, and canal boat charter business with over 2,500 yachts in over seventy destinations worldwide. Our destinations include locations in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific. Our brands include The Moorings, Sunsail, Footloose, and LeBoat.
A Glimpse into Our World
As a global organization, our HR team faces the same challenges any other team would. We work in employee relations, benefits, training, unions, payroll, and recruitment aspects of HR. Our “challenge,” if you will, is not only knowing, understanding, and interpreting employment laws in the twenty-seven countries we operate in, but also having the ability to form relationships within each of these countries. A relationship that is different among each culture.
Our team of ten HR professionals is located in the United States, British Virgin Islands, France, and the United Kingdom. My area of responsibility spans fourteen countries that include the United States, Australia, Asia, Seychelles, South Africa, and the Caribbean. Working with executives to members of staff, a typical day involves just about every aspect of HR you could think of and that typical day often looks like this:
• Processing employment visas for the Seychelles (known locally as GOP’s) and H-3 paperwork for the United States.
• Conducting employee relations investigations in the United States, Australia, Turkey, and South Africa covering topics that include sexual harassment and performance management.
• Enroll members of the Caribbean and Seychelles teams in the company’s benefit program.
• Finalize job descriptions for positions in South Africa, Australia and Thailand.
• Prepare contracts for new management teams in Canouan and Grenada.
• Meet with members of the management team to evaluate the current staffing structure in Australia and determine appropriate staffing levels.
• Prepare training materials for meetings being held in the Windward Islands.
Knowing the Law
Looking at the list above it’s easy to picture the laws and processes that take place if one were to think in terms of the United States. Looking at the larger piece of the globe the way an employment contract is prepared for an individual in the Caribbean is vastly different than how one is prepared in Australia. For example, if an individual were to be employed in Australia a 9% superannuation (retirement fund) is required by employers, the Caribbean doesn’t have such a requirement.
Looking at another example that focuses on separation cost in four countries the requirements to separate employment with a member of staff will be quite different from country to country.
While information such as separation requirements above can be obtained from the parliamentary library (www.aph. gov.au), labor departments (www.labour.gov.za) or the International Labor Organization (www.ilocarib.org.tt), building relationships with local labor departments are also valuable resources when working across the globe. Labor departments are valuable tools to obtaining full employment codes or obtaining clarification on written law that can be interpreted in different ways.
So as I look out at the blue water in Marigot Bay, I reflect upon the complexities of operating within a global environment, including the challenges, successes, and celebrations. As a global practitioner, I feel that while the location, laws, and cultures may be different, our root is still the same: success for our organizations is the ultimate goal. Success for our team members in a job well done is part of that ultimate goal and ensuring each member of the team feels just as much a member of the organization no matter what part of the globe he or she may reside in is also a part of that goal.
Currently, Toni is a Sr. HR Advisor with TUI Marine providing HR services to fourteen countries throughout the world. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Phoenix and a dual-master’s degree in Human Resource Management and Human Resource Development from Webster University. Toni also holds certification as a Professional in Human Resource (PHR) with the Human Resource Certification Institute.