Soak Up Information - Barbara Kallay, VP of HR at Royal Caribbean
Barbara Kallay, Vice President of HR at Royal Caribbean Cruises, has two watchwords: "listen" and "learn".
When Barbara Kallay interviewed for her job as Vice President of Human Resources (HR) with Royal Caribbean Cruises, she had a secret: She had never taken a cruise because of severe seasickness.
Now six months into her
"I have been on cruises now and am fine.
Our ships are so big that I don't even notice it," she
said, recalling an "amazing" experience on Oasis of the Seas.
To work in the cruise industry, Kallay
thinks that employees need to be passionate about customer service.
has gained a more extensive understanding of daily life for more than 50,000 workers across Royal Caribbean
's entire fleet.
Many are fulfilling multiple-month contracts, working and living together.
Their environment is radically different from the corporate office, where employees return home after a day's work and perhaps more neatly separate their work and home lives.
"These individuals are their coworkers, and family, friends and social network, for several months at a time physically living together," Kallay
"That has some challenges and complexities, especially when you consider the many different nationalities and cultures."
Communication & Conflict Resolution
According to Kallay
, communication is the key in these situations.
HR members on board deal with most of the daily issues that arise, with the corporate team there to support the shipboard operations.
Many avenues allow any crew member to escalate issues up the chain of command, which includes the chairman and chief executive officer.
"The more open you are to taking risks in your career and life, the more doors open up for you."
"Usually, when there's a conflict, it's due to communication problems," Kallay
"If you want to know a solution, it's usually communication."
To assist with conflict resolution, Kallay
suggests relying on clear policies and procedures, which are fairly and consistently applied across the workforce.
A strong supervisor and leadership team who can engage and motivate employees is essential.
People Solutions & Business Results
The role of a successful HR leader, according to Kallay
, is functioning as a subject matter expert and sound business partner.
also thinks that good HR professionals become great if they translate their functional skills into providing people solutions in real business situations.
Some examples include programs to improve employee engagement, assistance with organizational development, and establishing of a pipeline of leaders for the future.
still follows the advice of a mentor who recommended operating as a business person who happens to have functional expertise in HR.
Global Growth & Risk Taking
For businesses that are growing globally, Kallay
suggests building a strategy that identifies top talent internally and then giving those individuals more worldwide experience earlier in their careers.
believes that preparing leaders to think and act globally is vital to the success of a worldwide growth strategy.
At Royal Caribbean
Cruises, a new Global Management Development Program targets master's of business administration graduates who have been educated in the U.S. but have worked in international operations.
"People should not be averse to risk taking," Kallay said, recalling her own experience working for PepsiAmericas Inc. in Budapest.
"The more open you are to taking risks in your career and life, the more doors open up for you.
Be open to new opportunities and new challenges to help you grow and learn."
"Life is too short," Kallay