When Thenamaris, a ship management organization based in Athens, Greece, discovered a need to strengthen talent development aboard its vessels, the marine personnel performance and development team knew that the approach had to be grounded in science. They connected with ICAP People Solutions, an authorized Hogan distributor, to further explore how personality affects leadership performance. Together, Thenamaris, ICAP, and Hogan began a talent development initiative they dubbed the Ulysses Project.
Lasting for two and a half years, the Ulysses Project featured job analysis research to give Thenamaris insight into the qualities that help their seafaring leaders succeed in deck management and engine management positions.
More than 500 multinational officers completed Hogan’s three core personality assessments: the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI), Hogan Development Survey (HDS), and Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI). To date, more than 350 of those officers have received one-on-one, confidential, and personalized feedback for development based on their results.
After the project concluded, the Thenamaris team gave Hogan a trove of feedback on the resounding success of the Ulysses Project. They spoke highly of their experience working with Hogan and ICAP and filled us in on some of the lessons they learned from using personality assessments to enhance their talent development strategy.
Here are just a few of the takeaways.
On Collaborating with Hogan and ICAP
To administer the assessments and deliver feedback to the participating officers, Thenamaris developed a team of internal Hogan facilitators early in the project. Several people completed Hogan’s foundational certification workshop. As part of the process, they completed the Hogan assessments and received feedback on their results.
The value was immediately apparent. One marine personnel manager remarked, “I completed my HPI, HDS, and MVPI questionnaires and received one-on-one feedback. I have realized firsthand how useful this effort can prove on a personal level. I do therefore expect that it will prove equally useful at a company level.”
(Spoiler alert: It did prove useful!)
As the project progressed, Hogan and ICAP’s collaboration, patience, and understanding impressed Thenamaris. Encouraged to ask questions, they found that Hogan and ICAP were available to help them whenever needed.
“Both Hogan and ICAP teams kept an open mind to collect as much information as possible to understand the peculiarities of the shipping industry, the challenges of the seafarers’ profession, and the differences between managing people onboard and ashore,” they reported.
This new experience for Thenamaris looked like “one more day at work” for ICAP and Hogan—in a good way. Hogan and ICAP’s expertise, experience, and project management capabilities gave Thenamaris extra confidence in the endeavor. Thenamaris’s team also appreciated the robust project planning, effective time management, and the high focus on quality.
“Working with partners with solid scientific and professional backgrounds made our lives easier all the way,” they said.
Early on, the Thenamaris team knew they could trust Hogan and ICAP and gain buy-in for the initiative from their leadership team. Most importantly, they were certain that the results of the project would be meaningful for the seafarers.
And they were.
On Using Personality Assessments for Talent Development
From the Ulysses Project, Thenamaris learned how personality assessments could strengthen talent development initiatives. Following are some of the most notable insights they gained.
Deeper Development Discussions
The Hogan assessments proved to be critical tools for going deeper in development discussions in a short amount of time. During a few of the feedback sessions, the personnel team gained insights into some seafarers’ personalities that previously were unrecognized—and it helped to explain past incidents aboard the ships. Now, Thenamaris has a new scientific lens for building high-performing leaders and teams.
Meaningful and Constructive Feedback
For many seafarers, the Ulysses Project was their first time receiving feedback more thorough than “bravo,” “good job,” or “well done.” Some employees even commented that it was a lifetime opportunity. Many others responded with gratitude for the experience and the opportunity to talk about their work with honesty.
Actionable and Applicable Feedback
The feedback provided was actionable, practical, and immediately usable. One second engineer testified, “I gained better insight and knowledge of how to manage my actions. I understood that it is more important what others think of me, rather than what I do. I was able to understand how to take advantage of the findings and try to apply them in my day-to-day life, even before joining my next vessel.”
Strengthened Trust and Engagement
The Thenamaris team realized that their genuine interest in the seafarers’ development and their willingness to listen had a positive impact on trust and employee engagement. Some seafarers approached them to ask for advice months and even years after their feedback sessions. Others reported that the feedback gave them epiphanies about their careers—for example, perfection isn’t necessary to pursue a promotion, but development is. For many seafarers, the experience offered a renewed perspective on their career trajectories.
Benefits for All
The seafaring leaders weren’t the only people who developed from the Ulysses Project. Those administering the assessments learned about themselves and their own areas for development during the process. In addition to what they gathered from their individual Hogan profiles, they also improved their skills in cross-cultural awareness, listening, showing empathy, and stepping outside of the comfort zone.
But that’s not even everything they learned! Want to know more about the Ulysses Project and its impact on Thenamaris’s talent and business?