If any of Mintra’s consultants understand the day-to-day experiences of OCS HR users more than others, it’s Gina Veronica Matre. Before joining the team of expert support staff, Gina had first-hand experience of the system in her role as a crew purser with the largest cruise line in Norway, Hurtigruten.
Having used three of the modules in Mintra’s complete crew management solution on a daily basis over several years, Gina has extensive knowledge in how to get the best from OCS HR from an end user perspective.
She became very familiar with the workings of the Employee Self Service, Crew on Board and Payroll modules, using the software to ensure accurate records were sent back to colleagues in the office on shore while she and her colleagues were sailing along the Norwegian coastline.
So, when Gina learned that Mintra was looking to grow its service centre team just as she had decided to seek out a new career challenge, she jumped at the chance to use her knowledge to help other OCS HR users.
“I had experience of working with these three modules in particular, but when I joined Mintra and learned more about OCS HR I started to appreciate the extent of what it can do,” explained Gina, who is based in Mintra’s Bergen office.
“It is enormous with a wide complexity, and different companies adopt it in different ways. For example, I used the Crew on Board module to record overtime, but other companies use Self Service to record additional hours worked.
“It has been a learning curve to understand the different ways that clients are using it, but that’s the strength of OCS HR. It is adaptable to suit their needs, so clients don’t really have to change their way of working because of how the system operates.
“I think clients appreciate that I can give them an answer from a user perspective. When I am chatting to them, I can say that I understand their issue as I have been where they are now and can explain how I would have addressed that challenge as a user.”
Gina’s career in the maritime sector started soon after she completed her university studies in Australia. Her degree is within International Tourism & Hotel Management, and she had aspirations of developing her career with a major hotel brand.
However, in 2004 she found herself back in Norway and working with Hurtigruten as a receptionist where she would board passengers and allocate their cabins. If she was on nightshift, she would also help with the day’s payroll administration and assist with HR management.
Soon, she was promoted to crew purser with many more responsibilities in looking after passengers and crew. “I didn’t end up working in a hotel as planned, but the ships are very much floating hotels. My father was a sailor, so I guess it was in my blood – maybe I was always destined to follow in his footsteps,” said Gina.
“I am very proud to have worked with Hurtigruten on the route known as the original Norwegian Coastal Express. It is considered one of the most beautiful voyages in the world, travelling up the coast to the north of Norway for 22 days at a time.
“I had the most fantastic view from my office window. The scenery – the fjords and the mountains - is absolutely stunning and passengers from all over the world were in awe of its beauty. I loved it in the summer with the calm sea and the midnight sun shining all day long. But it was a very different place in the winter.
“For three or four months of the year we would experience some bad storms and it was quite common to encounter waves that were 8-10-metres high. It was enough to make even the most experienced crew members a little seasick.”
Although she enjoyed her 16 years of sailing with Hurtigruten, Gina felt that the time was right for her to return to the shore on a more permanent basis. She has now been part of the Mintra team for almost two-and-a-half years.
She misses the family feeling that comes from being part of a crew of 40 or 50 people on board a vessel but enjoys the fact that her new role allows her to retain links to the sector.
Gina added: “The industry is a very close-knit one and I used to call the crew my second family. I am so pleased that I have been able in some way to continue my association with the industry through Mintra, and by allowing customers to get the best from OCS HR.”
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