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P&O are apparently changing the way crew members will receive their bonus – or tips, as passengers will think of them. It’s tied to a change in the way tips will be collected: instead of passengers paying them in cash direct to the crew member, they will be added to the shipboard account. What has now become clear is how P&O are going to handle the handover to crew members. It’s all going to be based on crew appraisal, by the passengers. Crew members will have to achieve ‘attitude’ ratings from passengers (presumably in the form of appraisal forms) ranging from 92% for some crew member (cabin stewards?) to 96% for other crew members (waiters, perhaps). If they fail to achieve this rating then they will forfeit their bonus; u.e. the won’t receive the tips that the passengers will have paid.

The following thoughts immediately occur to me:

  • crew members will start to concentrate on the rating for doing the job, rather than actually doing the job. This isn’t a criticism of crew members, it’s just that I’ve seen it happy whenever metrics are introduced and performance is measured by the metrics. An example would be meeting SLA targets in an IT help desk environment. Managers start to expend time and energy on managing the metrics instead of doing the job. It’s just human nature – if performance figures start to make a difference to peoples’ income, then managing the performance figures becomes a priority. Senior management hope and assume that staff will ‘manage the figures’ by improving their job performance, but staff everywhere know that it’s easier to find a way of getting rid of the bad figures. So we can expect that crew members will start asking passengers to make sure they give them good marks. Again, this isn’t a criticism; I think it’s an inevitable result. It’s something we saw when we cruised with Celebrity, for example.
  • In a situation where crew members have not qualified for the bonus, what happens to it? Does it disappear into the P&O coffers? Or will it be repaid to the passengers who were, presumably, unhappy? I shouldn’t expect so!
  • There’s a further twist. Gratuities will be added to the shipboard account; however, it will be possible for a passenger to ask to not have this done and they can simple refuse to pay gratuities. They can then have a further impact on what the crew receive because they will be allowed (presumably) to complete an appraisal form. So in addition to preventing the crew getting a bonus from themselves, they can also contribute to crew members not getting their bonus from anyone.

I’m not sure that this has been completely thought through….

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