Cruise Whitsundays is one of Australia’s premier Marine Tourism Operators, taking people into the postcards they’ve dreamt of visiting. Established in 2004, Cruise Whitsundays operates Day Cruises and is the only Resort Connection service for the island resorts scattered throughout the 74 Whitsundays Islands.
The company has substantially expanded over the past 12 years, with the most rapid growth occurring since the 2012 acquisition of a long-established competitor. In 2014, they moved to their purpose built Maritime Terminal at Port of Airlie and in 2016 became part of the Experience Australia Group, which is comprised of Great Southern Rail, Rottnest Express and now Cruise Whitsundays.
Building and maintaining the right staff culture is of strategic importance for Cruise Whitsundays. The company has developed and maintained effective recruitment, retention and employee pathways by recruiting people who are proud and passionate about the Whitsunday region and are eager to have a career in Marine Tourism. They recruit for attitude (positive, environmentally conscious) first and foremost and then provide resources and support for staff through training and recognition programs.
The company have hired mature professionals who are looking for a sea change in both their personal and working lives and have engaged students to acquire and expand on their skills through Work Experience (WE) blocks offered in their marine, maintenance and reservations teams. This valuable experience assists students in their transition from school to work life as they gain an insight into the nature and diversity of the Marine Tourism Industry.
Cruise Whitsundays has developed several internal training courses – improving productivity, staff confidence, commitment and increasing staff awareness of safety issues such as confined spaces training. Safety courses along with the internal customer service program, ‘the CRUISE Way’, give staff the tools and knowledge they need to identify hazards in the workplace and how to meet customer service expectations.
The CRUISE Way training teaches all staff to Communicate, act with Reliance, Understand, Investigate, be Sincere and Exceed guest expectations. Their internal training courses allow staff to confidently perform their work, with the expertise on how to perform their duties to the Cruise Whitsundays standards. Resulting in a more engaged, focused and productive workforce who are loyal and committed to providing their guests the best experience.
Another comprehensive course that has been developed is the ‘Cruise Whitsundays In-Water Training Program’. This program teaches staff about the risks associated with in-water activities and how to manage those risks as well as educate them on how to deal with emergency situations when providing in-water activities.
They make observing and engaging with their staff part of the experience for guests, all staff mentioned through Trip Advisor and other social media platforms are rewarded at their quarterly team meetings.
The ‘Extra Mile’ quarterly awards program also recognises the achievements and great performance of staff who deliver service ‘the CRUISE Way’. These awards are peer nominated and presented at the quarterly staff meetings which further engages all staff in the process.
Organisational participation into the Employer of Choice Awards includes private companies, publicly listed companies, multinational subsidiaries, not-for-profit organisations, non-government organisations, educational institutions, franchise systems, partnerships, government departments, government agencies, local government and statutory bodies operating in Australia.
Employers of Choice are required to demonstrate their achievements the across the key areas of Organisational Culture & Leadership; Employee Education, Training & Development; Employee Health, Safety & Satisfaction; Performance Management; Recognition & Remuneration.
Entries are assessed utilising a rigorous and dynamic framework to ensure that the assessment process is pertinent and objective. The Employer of Choice Framework (EOC Framework) is a structured model of assessment that consists of specialised assessment criteria and sub-criteria that provide a robust set of requirements that are used as the methodology for benchmarking and learning among the participating organisations.
The key attributes of the EOC Framework outline the characteristics of well-managed, high-performing, industry leading organisations that provide a stimulating and supportive workplace.
The Australian Business Awards are the regional chapter of an integrated, hierarchical leadership program conducted on a national and international level. Eligible organisations from each region are invited to participate in the international chapter of the program at The World Business Awards. Conducted annually and currently in the second year of its international launch, The World Business Awards seeks to engage with the world’s business, innovation and technology leaders through a global recognition and knowledge building initiative that is underpinned by the program’s established framework. The program engages with organisations worldwide to benchmark the full spectrum of their products, services and initiatives and to review their business performance. The cycle culminates in the recognition and celebration of organisations that implement world-class business initiatives and industry leading products and services on a prominent and far-reaching scale. All entries must be entered in the regional chapter where the organisation is based.
Organisations that participate are provided with the unique opportunity to benchmark themselves against the top performers globally. The recipients are acknowledged for their achievements and recognised as the elite of their industry earning a place amongst a distinguished group by having their products, projects, initiatives, contributions and achievements recognised on a prominent and far-reaching scale. The program provides the ultimate platform for building knowledge, increasing brand awareness, equity, loyalty and retention through increased exposure, recognition and prestige. This establishes a valuable resource that can be used extensively to create opportunities for publicity, positive organisational profiling and heightened brand awareness within the respective industries both nationally and internationally.