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Reaching a Gold standard: what does it mean for members?

22 April 2024

Nautilus International's achievement of a global Gold accreditation from Investors in People (IIP), the human resources assessment body, means it is among an exclusive group of organisations which achieve that standard. It demonstrates that the Union has a clear commitment to the people who make up the organisation’s staff. But how does that benefit members and those we care for? Deborah McPherson explains

All three of the Union's national branches in the UK, Netherlands and Switzerland – as well as the charity Nautilus Welfare Fund– are now officially recognised for their high standards of people management and staff development.

What is the IIP Gold accreditation? 

The IIP Gold accreditation is given to organisations that demonstrate exceptional commitment to people management and staff training and development. It signifies that Nautilus has met rigorous criteria set by the central IIP body, making the Union a standout example in its sector. The IIP body recognised the Union's positive commitment towards adopting high performance practices across the organisation 'in the face of significant headwinds'.

Why is it good for members? 

General secretary Mark Dickinson sums up the significance: 'Whilst it is important that we celebrate our stunning success, it is also important we reflect and understand why the Council of the Union continues to support investment in our people strategy and in IIP accreditation.

'It is quite simply about securing better outcomes for our members and those we care for. Our staff understand this, and live our values, and they deliver on our objectives set by our members. Our focus is 100% on our members and beneficiaries.

'It's not rocket science. If you demand that maritime professionals are respected, as we do, then you must walk the talk. IIP is our way of leading by example.'

Senior Nautilus officials and Council members from across the Union's branches lead the GM23.

The investment in training and development also ensures Union organisers can go to the collective bargaining table with employers in the knowledge they are asking companies to abide by principles which the Union has itself lived up to.

The investment in the Union's team also translates directly into excellence in member services. It means an enthusiastic, knowledgeable and highly trained staff, who naturally go the extra mile. It also means new innovations for members, such as access to the superyacht sector's ground breaking sea time verification process, our online Sea Service Record. It also helps encourage and attract engaged members to stand for the Council in elections.

This can also be seen in how Nautilus communicates, from bringing members a wide range of digital and social content – such as award-winning podcasts and video content – to live webinars and specialist online forums.

A journey to excellence

Being the first truly trans-boundary union for maritime professionals, Nautilus has always had a pioneering spirit, and has held IIP accreditation since June 1998, making it the first trade union to receive this honour. Its longstanding commitment to employee development has been recognised consistently.

Every three years, Nautilus has undergone external assessments to showcase ongoing IIP compliance. In 2011, we successfully extended IIP to our Rotterdam and Basel offices, reinforcing our dedication to nurturing talent across all branches of the Union.

From Bronze to Silver

In 2020 the global Covid-19 pandemic disrupted our reassessment plans, delaying the re-assessment due in November 2020.

In February 2021, the central IIP body was impressed by the strides Nautilus had made and our three-year accreditation was elevated from bronze to silver.

Nautilus also stood out among IIP's Top 20 Silver Assessments, a testament to its unwavering commitment to employee wellbeing and growth.

Setting our sights on Gold 

Not content with silver, the Nautilus Gold journey began in November 2023. With a successful General Meeting concluded, we began the rigorous reassessment activities for the IIP award through to February 2024.

Extraordinary contributions made by individuals across the Union's three national branches were celebrated by members and staff during the General Meeting 2023.


It's not rocket science. If you demand that maritime professionals are respected, as we do, then you must walk the talk. IIP is our way of leading by example. General secretary Mark Dickinson

The achievement of the gold standard means the workforce is now recognised as a strong advocate for Nautilus. Staff engagement and satisfaction contribute significantly to strong support for members and those we care for.

Benchmarked against the best


Nautilus International is among the 28% of IIP accredited companies who currently have achieved the Gold standard. Image: IIP

The Investors in People assessment framework provides a clear benchmark against the very best performing companies, with in-depth employee interviews and key indicators of high performance combining to not only 'score' our performance, but also to drive improvement into the future.

Globally, Nautilus holds the 18th position in benchmark ranking for organisations with 50-249 employees in our sector.

This achievement reflects its commitment to excellence.

Assistant general secretary, and director of operations, Olu Tunde said that being continually assessed 'allows us to see where we are, where we want to be and how we will get there.

'We must continue to deliver the best services to our members.

'Being benchmarked offers members across all branches reassurance that Nautilus is on a journey of continuous improvement, focused on aligning its people management with its objectives and that it will defend their rights and look after them.'


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