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How Values Matter at HI USA

Most agree why values matter. They help us live with direction and purpose. They guide beliefs, attitudes, and behavior. They inform thoughts, words, and actions. For organizations like HI USA, the larger question is how they matter.

HI USA’s values have long flowed from our mission statement:

To help all, especially the young, gain a greater understanding of the world and its people through hostelling.

Last December, HI USA elucidated our values to declare how we want to make a difference in today’s world. We challenged ourselves on how we will grow, and now four values are front and center:

  • Community. We grow an inclusive movement of travelers grounded in exchange, respect, and diversity. As industry leaders, we foster a worldwide network of travel champions whose shared experiences catalyze intercultural understanding, creating global citizens.
  • Integrity. We prioritize honesty, equity, and fairness in all circumstances. We encourage and support challenging conversations and accountability among our employees, leadership, partners, guests, and additional stakeholders.
  • Respect. With courage, empathy, and open minds, we facilitate a deeper appreciation of how we are similar and different from each other and deliberately show the strength that can flow from that diversity. We foster active listening and amplify the dignity of all present in our hostels and programs.
  • Relationships. We believe our collective health and welfare depends on valuing one another and educating ourselves on the inter-connectivity between people, perspectives, and planet as we balance social, financial, and environmental responsibility.

How these values matter is all about the way we choose to act on them. Of course, HI USA made sure to share our updated values publicly, both to send a message to current and potential customers, donors, employees, partners, vendors, and volunteers about what we stand for, and to encourage the like-minded to climb on board. It’s a good starting point, but not nearly enough to shape organizational direction.

In the time since, our updated values:

  • Helped us make strategic decisions. Our Strategy 2025 now focuses more heavily on programs that reflect our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access.
  • Focused our budgeting. With limited resources after COVID, our commitment to be an employer of choice has required we redeploy resources that would otherwise have been spent on other emergent priorities.
  • Enhanced operations. Applying an educational lens to all our activities has taken on a new significance.

The “how” of values is all about walking the talk and staying true to our purpose. And that impact will grow as we actively create more opportunities to apply them. Learn more about HI USA’s mission, values, and vision here.