Our People – Caring for our staff and volunteers
Here comes another month in our journey of Sustainable Tourism through Hostelling. In May we looked at Mobility – Inclusive travel & stay, make sure you check out the link to see how HI Hostels around the world are tackling the topic.
In June, we continue our campaign with:
What do we aim to achieve this month?
Without our dedicated employees, volunteers and interns, hostelling would not be what it is today: an open community of like-minded people connected through their common aim of living in a world built on tolerance, mutual understanding and respect.
We believe hostelling contributes to building a more peaceful and sustainable future, and we take pride in working in a multicultural environment that embraces diversity. At the same time, we strive to educate and empower our staff in taking actions that positively increase social and environmental impacts within the hostels and their surroundings.
How exactly can HI Hostels empower their international team? And why is it so important to measure our staff’s satisfaction and continuously aim to improve it?
By working on this topic in our global network of Hostels we also tackle the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
So how do our Hostels care for Our People?
Many of our hostels have come up with great ways to take care of their staff and create a friendly working environment, as well as encouraging them to be more responsible employees and citizens in this world.
Here are some of the outstanding projects that the National Associations as well as Hostels have taken on:
Read more about HI Slovenia’s volunteers
Volunteering at HI Slovenia
Most of HI Slovenia’s work is done by great volunteers who decide to spend their free time and knowledge promoting youth mobility and the development of youth travel. They contribute through participation in promotional campaigns, journalism and various interesting projects both in Slovenia and abroad. HI Slovenia’s volunteers put in 4,500 hours of their time in 2016! Cheers for you dear volunteers, you make the world go round!
Read more about the Green Ambassadors
Green Ambassadors at Stayokay
Meet the Green Ambassadors of Stayokay, our Dutch HI Association! The Green Ambassadors represent a very involved and enthusiastic group of 35 colleagues with one goal: to make the HI Hostels in the Netherlands more sustainable.
Read more about the Green Messengers project
Green messengers at HI Iceland
For over 10 years now, HI Iceland has been hosting European Voluntary Service (EVS) volunteers. The main aim of their project is to raise awareness about sustainability aspects among international guests of HI Iceland, their staff and the local community. From movie nights and swap til’ you drop events to training and maintaining the Swan Ecolabel certification at the hostels, these volunteers are gaining skills and making the world a little better, one step at a time.
This is what we are asking from our HI Hostels around the world:
- Ensure that all your personnel receive periodic guidance and training related to their roles and responsibilities with respect to health, safety, environmental, quality, social, cultural, and, economic issues.
- Offer equal employment opportunities to local staff, all genders and minorities.
- Offer staff the chance to develop experience and skills by fostering and aiding personal ideas and projects in line with the HI Mission.
- Pay fair and living wages.
- Forbid child labour.
- Involve staff in the sustainable development of the hostels and embrace the bottom-up approach.
- Facilitate staff exchanges outside and inside your country such as Study Visits and involvement in the HI-Connect programme.
- Educate staff about sustainability and empower them to become active citizens.
- Give chances to young people facing social, geographical and economic obstacles to gain experience and develop skills (volunteers, interns, refugees etc.).
- Offer various team-building activities, deals and as possible local discounts to staff (e.g. on accommodation, gym and pool, discounts etc.).
- Develop the Human Resources Policy together with your team.
- Offer personal development training to help your staff gain new skills and knowledge (eg. time management, customer care, intercultural communication training etc.) and encourage them to attend webinars that fit their interest and tasks.
What can you, the traveller, do when you’re in touch with our Hostels’ staff and volunteers?
- Keep in mind that just like you, we’re from everywhere, and we also want to find ourselves somewhere new, embrace new cultures along the way and let the whole world happen to us. Thus, don’t be surprised to find people from all over the world working in our hostels. We have dedicated programmes such as the HI-Connect programme which enables HI Hostels in different countries to swap staff between them, learning and gaining new experiences. How cool is that? No wonder that we all love the hostelling culture!
- Although our hostels take serious steps to increase quality in their hostels, if some unfortunate error happens and you’re unhappy with something at the hostel, just openly and kindly contact the reception right away and ask for their assistance. Just keep in mind that our staff are there to take care of you.
- When you’re happy with the service you’ve received from our staff at the hostels, don’t be shy to shout from the roof about it! Let them know – your happiness is their happiness as well.
- We care about our staff and volunteers and we think you should, too. Be nice, and just remember we are all humans and we all like a friendly smile and a lovely conversation.
- Want to learn and share in a great multicultural environment? You have a special talent that you would like to put to the service of education of young travellers? Look for volunteering opportunities available in some of our hostels! Make sure you have the right working permit and offer a few hours of your precious time to contribute to the HI mission of building a more tolerant and inclusive society.
If you have already experienced great sustainable practices in one of our HI Hostels around the world, please share with us in comments below! We would love to hear about your hostelling experiences ♥