Extreme Makeover: HI-USA Edition

My neighborhood is populated with 1960’s era houses.   With a half century of use, many are now ready for an upgrade.  And with it comes the ecstasy and the agony of renovation.

There seem at least two irrefutable principles to house renovation.   1.  Even small projects are surprisingly inconvenient to the families living there.  2.  The disruption increases exponentially with project scope.   I’ve experienced the first, and seen the second.

Several years ago my wife Kathy and I decided to upgrade our basement.  Thought to be a relatively contained space, we still had dust and construction workers permeating the house in unexpected ways.  Our neighbors had a more extreme makeover, doubling the size of the ranch style house with a new kitchen, expanded bedrooms and bathrooms, and improved electrical and plumbing.  They ate and slept in the basement for months, becoming perpetually under-rested, microwave connoisseurs until renovations were completed.

And both renovations turned out beautifully.

With unification, HI-USA is enlarging and remodeling itself.  And with the New Year, we have kicked off our own extreme makeover of systems and processes as we amp up for growth.  Here’s just part of the list:

–        A new payroll system to better handle our larger staff.

–        A new retirement plan provider for tailored investment choices and more employee education.

–        A human resources information system for easier and more complete employee access.

–         An upgraded accounting system for better reporting and increased timeliness.

–         A unified guest registration system to increase efficiency and improve the hosteller experience.

All of these improvements will strengthen the basic infrastructure of HI-USA: accounting, human resources, and information systems.   And just like a house renovation, these changes will require time for completion, including testing and switch-over.  The new payroll system and retirement plan already went on line January 1, with the other improvements in the works as we move ahead.   

The television edition of Extreme Makeover sent family members on vacation during renovations.    Of course as a nonprofit with others depending on us, we can’t do that.   So we’ll be dealing with our own version of dust, noise, and distractions.  

Yet when it’s all done, we will share the elation of completion, and the pride that comes with state-of-the-art systems and conveniences.

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