Values at work

Maersk’s Group Core Values have guided the company for more than a century – and remain equally relevant today. Whether in an engine room on a vessel in Chile or from the Group’s managerial bridge in Copenhagen, the Values are inseparably linked to business.

The 318-metre long S-class vessel “Maersk Sebarok” is moored at the port of San Antonio, Chile. In the depths of the engine room, Chief Engineer Michael Wilson is doing his rounds. With a torch he lights up every dark corner to spot possible irregularities before the engine sets the ship into motion.

This routine signals how he defines Constant Care, one of the five Maersk Group Core Values that guide the behaviour of Group employees. Together with Humble­ness, Uprightness, Our Employees and Our Name, Constant Care is one of the passwords that outlines how Maersk conducts its business.

Mint condition
“We need to have the engine in mint condition at all times. A breakdown can potentially be dangerous and will for sure lead to a delay,” Michael Wilson explains.

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Michael Wilson is Chief Engineer on Maersk Sebarok.

However, Constant Care means more than simply keeping the engine running. Wilson also interprets it as a way for him to pass his knowledge on to the several young crew members in his team who are eager to learn.

“To me, Constant Care means educating engineers for the day after tomorrow. And I try hard to train them to become even better than me,” Wilson says with a smile.

A view from the bridge
Metres above the engine room, the Captain of Maersk Sebarok, Kyaw Khaung, stands on the bridge. From here Khaung has a good overview of the cranes unloading cargo into the port of San Antonio on this late Saturday evening. The cranes work fast and efficiently to allow the vessel to leave on time.

As on every vessel, the crew members have to follow the Captain’s orders. Still, Khaung tries hard to lead in line with another of the Maersk Group Core Values: Humbleness.

Kyaw Khaung
Captain of Maersk Sebarok, Kyaw Khaung.

“No matter if it’s the deckhand, the chef or my second officer that I deal with, I always remember that we are in this together. Perhaps the deckhand has noticed something important that I have missed, so I have to respect every crew member, listen to their concerns and take a serious note of what they say,” Khaung says.

Constant in a complex world
These employees are just two of the many in the Maersk Group who lean on the company’s Values as a guiding light in their daily work – a light that has existed in the Group since the very beginning in 1904, where it emanated from the Møller family home. According to the Chairman of the Moller Foundation, Ane Mærsk Mc-Kinney Uggla:

“They were first formalised in 2003, but they have been lived out without being explicitly expressed from the very beginning. This is what makes them authentic, genuine, valid and integrated into the business,” says Ane Uggla.

Ane Uggla
Chairman of the A.P. Møller Foundation Ane Mærsk Mc-Kinney Uggla: “The Values are constant in a complex world.” Photo: Ricky John Molloy
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The Maersk Group Core Values

Ane Uggla is in no doubt about the continued relevance of the now more than 100-year-old Values. On the contrary, the Values are even more necessary in a world where complexity is on the rise.

“Whether in shipping or energy, today’s markets are less and less foreseeable, which adds to the complexity. Our employees constantly need to be ready for change, which is very demanding. We expect a lot from our workforce, and in many situations, the Values represent a hand rail, something to hold onto. The Values are straightforward and easy to relate to, they are constant in a complex world,” Ane Uggla says.

Values behind every decision
Maersk Sebarok has now continued its sea voyage onwards from San Antonio and soon clears the shallow waters off the Chilean coast. As the vessel is slow steaming in order to save fuel, only a deep hum from the engine fills the air. Ahead lies a relatively short sea voyage for the crew on board down to the next port in San Vicente, Chile.

Captain Khaung is getting ready to hand over the con of the vessel to his second officer so that he can get some rest before having to steer the vessel safely into the next port.

“We have a lot of rules, regulations and procedures on board the ship, but still not all details are described in the procedures. So to me it is important to have the Values to lean on when crucial decisions are taken. My decisions as Captain determine if we deliver the containers as promised – and at the end of the day, my decision-making is crucial when it comes to the safety of the crew,” Khaung says, as he gets ready to leave the bridge for the night.

They were first formalised in 2003, but they have been lived out without being explicitly expressed from the very beginning. This is what makes them authentic, genuine, valid and integrated into the business.

Ane Uggla

ANE MÆRSK MC-KINNEY UGGLA, CHAIRMAN OF THE A.P. MØLLER FOUNDATION

Examples of how the Group Core Values are embedded in the business

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Activated in everyday business

To enable managers across the Group to activate the Values in everyday business, communication materials are used in induction courses, managerial learning courses and induction exercises to assist employees at all levels to relate to the Group Core Values in their work and identify supporting behaviours.

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Extended into policies

As a natural extension of the Group Core Values, business principles have been formulated and are updated regularly. To increase transparency and to provide every employee with a clear view of what the Maersk Group stands for, the Group Policies put the Group Core Values into practice, and together with the Values, they govern how the Group conducts itself.

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Employee engagement

For eight years in a row, all Group employees have been provided with a confidential platform to report on questions related to management, communication, career development and values – the annual Employee Engagement Survey. Whether off- or onshore, the survey gives employees the opportunity to express their views, allowing the Group to influence and reinforce effective leadership behaviours.