With unification, HI-USA is now positioned to realize its aspiration of being a worldwide leader in the field of hostelling. As a larger, unified organization, HI-USA will have new access to capital and economies of scale. But that’s only part of it. Our success will depend on investing in our staff as mission partners, with everyone sharing a common understanding for each other’s contributions to mission delivery.
That’s one reason why the experience of last week’s inaugural Leaders In The Field program was so important for me and other senior HI-USA staff.
My itinerary took me to the New York hostel where I worked alongside housekeeping and maintenance staff cleaning sinks and toilets, changing sheets and sweeping floors. Two days later, I was at the San Diego Downtown and Point Loma hostels on kitchen and front desk duty. Other senior HI-USA leaders fanned out to more than a dozen other hostels nationwide.
I came away yet again inspired by the vibe in our hostels and our staff who create it. And returned with reinforced appreciation for how a quality stay depends on everyone working together.
This year’s event coincided with International Housekeepers Week, so our housekeeping staff received special expressions of our gratitude. But all were appreciated for their work.
In my conversations with staff, I heard the importance of compensation, and especially benefits. I took notice of the excitement around instituting long-term staff exchanges between hostels, and with the central office. And the potential for benefits like long term leave and sabbaticals to encourage travel by staff.
These conversations are important, and my special thanks to our VP for Human Resources Donna Stewart and our HR Department for making the nationwide event happen.
Leaders In The Field is a small but important step towards increased collaboration with all staff and realizing HI-USA’s potential as a unified organization. It’s in many such steps that HI-USA will grow and prosper.