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5 Lessons from the Best Companies for Latinx Employees

Over the past thirty years, the Latinx population in the U.S. has nearly tripled.  The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that the Latinx population will double again by 2060.  As the population shifts, organizations must adapt.  For many organizations, the obvious solution is to hire more Latinx employees.  The Harvard Business Review states that Latinx employees “[are] likely to be an important source of talent for major corporations over the years ahead.”  Indeed, in the past few years, many employers have redoubled their efforts to find Latinx workers.  

While organizations realize the need for Latinx employees, they must also understand that looking for employees is only the beginning of the process.  Organizations must combine diversity efforts with efforts designed to create inclusion and equity.  While this task may seem difficult, several companies have already scored high marks for their ability to hire Latinx employees, make them feel welcome, and help the Latinx community at large.  In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, this post will list five things that the best employers for Latinx employees do well.  

1. The Best Organizations Hire Latinx Employees

The best employers for Latinx employees hire Latinxs.  While this may seem obvious, companies should not dismiss the “obvious” so quickly.  Latino Leaders magazine publishes an annual list of the best employers for Latinxs.  Most of the companies on the 2018 list have workforces that are more than ten percent Latinx.  Some companies’ labor forces are more than forty percent Latinx.  Only a few have workforces that are less than five percent Latinx. 

The lesson is that while diversity should be embraced, tokenism should be avoided.  Of course, any organization committed to diversity will have to start somewhere.  However, few diverse employees relish being “the only one” in the room.  So, developing a diverse workforce is key to attracting diverse talent.   

2.    The Best Organizations Have Diversity at All Levels

 Some companies point with pride to the diversity of their employees.  However, for some businesses, a closer look reveals that while they do hire Latinx and other people of color, they treat them differently.  In these companies, Latinx employees are relegated to support staff.  Worse, these companies employ no Latinx in positions of power or authority. 

While support positions are necessary and provide steady income for millions, companies cannot use these positions alone as a gauge for diversity.  Organizations that truly value diversity hire people of color at senior levels.  Including people of color in the decision-making process not only provides guidance, but also lets employees of color know that they can advance in the company.  Unsurprisingly, most the best companies for Latinxs have Latinx people in management positions. 

3. The Best Organizations Have Support Systems

As stated, it is not enough to hire diverse employees.  Businesses must ensure that these employees feel comfortable enough to share their experiences.  Thus, inclusion efforts are central to any organization’s diversity efforts.   

The best organizations for Latinx use a variety of programs to support their Latinx employees.  The most common support system is an employee resource group.  Employee resource groups allow Latinx employees to bond together, seek support, and find mentors.  Organizations that want to support Latinx employees should adopt similar programs. 

4.  The Best Organizations Develop Diverse Talent

 Many organizations say that they’d like to hire diverse candidates but complain that they don’t know where to find them.  On the other hand, the best companies do not wait.  They make the effort to find talent wherever it may be.  Moreover, these companies know that there may be systemic barriers that hinder Latinx students and applicants.  To address these issues, many of these companies have created programs that work with high school and college students.  These programs prepare students for the industry and make them better applicants.  By addressing these pipeline issues, the best companies create equity in their industries and beyond.    

5.   The Best Organizations Commit to Diversity in the Community

The best companies understand that a true commitment to diversity extends beyond its doors.  Companies that value equity do work with contractors and supplies owned by people of color.  It should come as no surprise that the best companies for Latinx work with companies owned by Latinxs.  Establishing these relationships not only benefits the companies involved, but reinforces the company’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion for its employees and customers. 

As the country’s demographics change, understanding Latinx history and culture is no longer an option – it’s a mandate.  As organizations attempt to recruit and retain top Latinx talent, hopefully these lessons from the best companies for Latinxs will provide helpful guidance.  For more tips on supporting employees of color, enroll in the Equity Toolkit e-courses.  The Equity Toolkit is an interactive, four-course online series containing essential, research-based concepts on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

DeEtta Jones

DeEtta Jones is an invited speaker, equity, diversity and inclusion strategy consultant and author with more than twenty years of experience working with people from around the world to on personal effectiveness and building workforce capacity.

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