Hispanics abound, from the classroom to malls and growing exponentially, a tidal wave of incoming consumers and employees. Unless you’ve been enthralled by politics and shimmering butterflies, you and your team have included Hispanic engagement and strategy in your strategic and operational plans. Of course you have, after all, we are in the middle of Hispanic Heritage month, celebrated from September 15 thru October 15, and you are fully cognizant that Hispanics remain Hispanics the other 11 months of the year. Right?
With this tremendous opportunity to woo, court, win and serve Hispanics within your organization, there is a need to have bilingual and bicultural staff to ensure retention of these new clients, voters, students (truly, substitute any designation from customer to patient, the engagement process is still the same.)
We have been recruiting and placing Bilingual and Bi-cultural talent for years and there’s definitively a secret sauce that works- But I urge you to address the employee engagement process that occurs AFTER hiring, as well. And, my friends, this applies to ALL employee hiring, not just diverse or Latino candidates.
Recruit from Diverse Sources
Consider the sources in which you advertise to attract your candidates. What is their geographic reach? Who is their target audience? Are you advertising, consistently in Spanish media, newspapers and radio? Which ones? Is your message culturally appropriate and resonant?
How about schools with diverse student base? Are you exhibiting in the local diverse job fairs?
And if you are engaging external recruiters, verify their community network and grassroot expertise with diverse candidates.
If your job postings lean towards the “entry-level” and you wish to draw from the huge Latino talent pool, conduct a quick assessment to determine your brand recognition with this population BEFORE investing advertising dollars. Does the mainstream “Juan” recognize your brand? If not, they will not acknowledge, pursue or investigate opportunities within your organization.
Building trust within the Latino community takes time, established with authentic and genuine efforts to engage and support our community. Consider having a Hispanic Liaison that represents your organization externally and aids with your brand exposure.
Latinos run the gamut of technological savviness – either fully competent and knowledgeable on IPads, online application submissions, mobile apps; in both English and Spanish. Or barely literate, in either English or Spanish (literacy levels are generally low, around 3rd grade reading/writing levels for some unacculturated Latinos.)
Now, this does not impact their work ethic or dedication, but it does impact their assimilation process. They may not be able to submit an online application or use their phone to navigate a mobile app. Consider alternate application submission processes depending on the characteristics of your ideal target candidate. Would completing an application verbally, through a bilingual HR representative be effective?
Cultural Competence- YOU
Evidently, you wish to capitalize on these changing demographics, hence the need to recruit and hire diverse candidates, specially Latinos… Typically, the Latino is hired for their unique skill set, language skills, different background- all deemed positive attributes initially. Until the honeymoon phase wraps up, then these differences become odd, awkward…Maybe too different to really fit within your organization.
We often provide organizations with Cultural Competency and Cross-Cultural Communication training- but not geared towards the “different employee” but for YOU and the rest of the leadership and management team. That’s right, YOU! To create an inclusive environment where differences are appreciated and leveraged as tools to improve performance. To facilitate difficult conversations and coaching sessions; to learn to be more accepting and accommodating.
Remember that “Different” does not imply “Incompetent” or “Wrong”, it is just Different.
Onboarding & Training
Moving on- The ideal, diverse candidate has been hired- YIPPEE! Now, throw them to the wolves!
The sad reality is I, on occasion, receive feedback that our candidates “aren’t working out.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that… Let’s figure this out- Describe the onboarding process?”
“Ok, tell me about the orientation and training curriculum? How much on the job training occurred?”
Eh… Um… Well…
“Alright, who mentored and coached the new employee?”
Ahh… My… He.. She… Not sure…
As you can see from my brilliant screenplay, the new hire was never onboarded, nor trained. To minimize hiring and training expenses, while increasing retention, please develop and implement an engaging onboarding process for all new employees… As well as following an effective training and development plan. Your people are at the foundation of your success.
Of course, let me emphasize that these guidelines apply to all employees, not just Latinos.
We are typically too busy to invest in the employee life cycle and experience… This tends to be a costly mistake. Amigos, go on and celebrate Hispanic Heritage month by scheduling some time with your HR team to discuss diverse recruiting and engagement tactics- a worth-while investment.
Adios, Till next time!