Community, in its many forms, is at the center of Hersha. We strive to not only serve our guests, but also to serve our neighborhoods and our associates. Hersha’s founders have always led by the belief that there is no greater dignity than that found in service, and even now, social responsibility as well as both internal and external community engagement is an integral part of Hersha’s identity.
SDG PRIORITIES: SOCIAL
Having a Local & Global Impact
Supporting Our Associates
OVERVIEW OF SOCIAL METRICS
HAVING A LOCAL AND GLOBAL IMPACT
The core of hospitality is the care and service of people. To us, this extends to our guests as well as into serving our local and global communities. “Hearts that Serve” is in fact one of our core values and reflects our long tradition of community stewardship.
Our Local Impact
Our hotels are tightly linked to the communities in which they operate – stronger, more vibrant communities in turn support our hotels. Thus, we encourage our associates to proactively serve their communities, and they do so with much enthusiasm. Their involvement includes charity walks, collecting donations for food drives, and mentoring students interested in the hospitality industry. We are proud of our associates for modeling Hersha’s values and being positive forces in their communities. In 2018 alone, our hotels and corporate offices held and participated in over 200 events. Below are a few examples highlighting their efforts:
Our community efforts extend to the creation of a corporate philanthropy strategy managed by a formal Giving Committee.
Get to Know the Team:
Natalie Fisk, Assistant General Manager at NU Hotel, Brooklyn NY
Natalie has been with Hersha for five years and in that time has been the force behind the strong relationship NU Hotel has with the local Brooklyn art community. Through her involvement with the Gowanus Swim Society – a Brooklyn-based art collective – she has been able to engage the creative community directly and give our guests something unique to remember during their stay. One of Natalie’s projects has been to invite local artists to paint murals in our guest rooms and host shows in the lobby and gallery. In her words, “We give our guests the opportunity to experience the culture of Brooklyn right within our hotel”.
Our Global Impact
We recognize that in this globalized age, we are able to be a positive force, not just for our local communities, but also for those communities in which we do not directly operate. As such, we engage in partnerships that can help us make the greatest impact – particularly in the areas of clean water and sanitation.
SUPPORTING OUR ASSOCIATES
We believe our people are our strongest asset. In our values, we highlight “People Are Our Capability” and have seen time and time again how engaged associates make for a more vibrant, innovative, and motivated workforce. Their drive and creativity are the soul behind the growth and continued success of Hersha as a whole. As such, we strive to facilitate a welcoming and inclusive environment, provide development opportunities, as well as actively demonstrate our genuine appreciation for our associates.
Our Work Environment
We believe it is imperative to provide our associates with an inclusive, safe, and open work environment. Thus, we have developed robust human rights and labor policies that condemn discrimination, embrace diversity and inclusion, and outline reporting mechanisms for assault or harassment.
We also recognize that our associates lead full lives outside of Hersha and so provide benefits that allow them to have a healthy work-life balance – including health insurance, a retirement plan, paid time off, family and medical leave, and a lodging discount program, among others.
For more information on Hersha’s human rights and labor policies, benefits, and other policies please download our Code of Conduct on our Hersha website.
Professional Development and Opportunities
When our associates join Hersha, we strive to foster their ambitions and nurture them to become our future leaders. Thus, we provide our associates with numerous opportunities for advancement and personal growth. A few of these opportunities include:
Get to Know the Team:
Kathleen Flanary, General Manager at The Boxer Hotel, Boston, MA
Kathleen is a passionate leader who aims to drive adoption of sustainable practices and support our communities. She is on the Board of Directors for her local neighborhood association in the West End of Boston, and attends meetings to voice her support for sustainability initiatives being implemented in the City of Boston – from plastic bag bans to more bike lanes for the community. Through her leadership, she empowers her team at the Boxer to embrace and lead sustainability efforts. They have been able to quickly roll out new initiatives, for instance doubling the amount they recycle. In 2018, Kathleen was recognized with the EarthView Award, given to the team member who truly embodies EarthView’s goals.
Hersha would not be the success it is today without our dedicated, inspiring associates. We value all our associates and consciously foster a culture of appreciation to ensure they feel recognized for all that they do for our company, our collective environment, and our communities. Our senior hotel leaders take appreciation seriously and have proactively created their own initiatives to regularly recognize their associates.
EMBRACING HEALTH AND WELLNESS
We believe that a large part of creating a great place to work, as well as designing a comfortable destination to stay, is focusing on promoting the health and wellness of our associates and our guests.
For our associates, we strive to foster opportunities for social interaction and connection. We see Hersha not as just a workplace, but as its own community; a place where associates feel they are part of the larger Hersha family. As such, senior leaders across the company regularly host team events, sponsor team outings, and celebrate each other’s important milestones. In our offices and hotels, we also support wellness initiatives spearheaded by our associates, including providing fresh fruit and access to stress management and healthy living programs.
Because of our efforts, our corporate Philadelphia office has been recognized as “Best Place to Work” by the Philadelphia Business Journal for two consecutive years.
At our corporate Philadelphia office, we have partnered with Simply Good Jars, a local food startup, to provide associates with access to nutritious, healthy organic salad options throughout the week. For every meal purchased, a meal is donated to an individual in need.
For our guests, we provide programs that enable them to maintain their daily wellness routines, even while they’re traveling, through offerings such as healthy locally sourced food items and complimentary bike rentals. We see each of our hotels as an oasis whose purpose is to recharge and refresh our guests both mentally and physically after a long day of work or play.