Attracting Hispanics requires cultural awareness
To attract, retain and engage Hispanics and Latinos, employers need to understand the common — and unique — characteristics of the various cultures that fall under the label of “Hispanic,” according to Di Ann Sanchez, SPHR, president and founder of DAS HR Consulting LLC in Hurst, Texas.
“People from 22 different countries of origin are considered to be Hispanic,” she said during the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2012 Talent Management Conference & Exposition held April 30-May 2. “Hispanic is a culture, not a race.”
Although Sanchez noted that the label “Hispanic” is a government term, rather than one adopted by those who fall within the demographic group, it’s a term most don’t mind and many prefer over the label “Latino,” she said, citing data released April 4, 2012, by the Pew Hispanic Center.
Often, however, individuals will identify themselves by their family’s country of origin, she said, which is why she urged employers not to “lump Hispanics into one category.”
Highlights of 2010 Census
In order to help conference attendees understand the population of potential applicants, Sanchez summarized a few facts from the 2010 U.S. Census:
• Sixty-six percent of Hispanics in the United States are of Mexican descent.
• The median age of Hispanics is 27.4, compared with the U.S. average age of 36.8.
• Hispanics have an average of four children per household, while non-Hispanic households have an average of two.
• Hispanics made up 16% of the U.S. population in 2010. By 2050, it is projected that 30% of the population will be Hispanic.
“The majority of the Hispanic population is still blue collar,” she noted. “Education is our challenge,” she added, because it is difficult for large families to fund a college education and because parents with a below average English reading level sometimes have a hard time filling out financial aid applications.
What recruiters need to know
The applicant pool will vary based on location, Sanchez noted, with Puerto Ricans and Cubans mostly on the East Coast and Mexicans mostly in the West. And the level of English skills and American acculturation will depend in part upon whether someone is a first, second or third generation immigrant.
Though differences exist based on country of origin, Sanchez said, there are some common characteristics recruiters and hiring managers will need to understand in order to attract and retain Hispanics:
Family is the most important value. Adult children stay home until they get married and tend to live at home during college. Thus, each household is likely to have multiple workers and several family members. Anything that involves families or enables employees to spend more time with family will appeal to members of this population.
Individuals look to their “elders” — the individuals that help the family navigate acculturation issues in the United States — for work-related guidance. Such individuals are not necessarily of advanced age, and some might not even be related to employees, but they can play a critical role in helping Hispanic colleagues find jobs, understand policies and deal with challenges in the workplace. Employers should “Find your elders,” said Sanchez. “If you are doing any kind of change management, you need to make sure they understand.”
Hard work is valued. “We came to this country for the American dream … to live, work and provide for our families.” And that means the extended family, she noted, including those in the country of origin who continue to receive financial support from those working in the U.S. Employee referral programs are an ideal way to generate candidates, she said, adding that Hispanics will not refer family members if they are not hard workers because it’s a negative representation of the family.
Preserving the culture and language is a priority. As the Pew report revealed, three-quarters of Hispanics believe that it is very important for future generations of Hispanics in the U.S. to be able to speak Spanish. Thus, it’s helpful to provide application and employment information, such as employee handbooks, in Spanish. “Be cautious about discriminating against those with accents,” Sanchez warned. “They are very sensitive about accents.”
Diversity and inclusion efforts such as mentoring programs, employee affinity groups and community involvement are likely to appeal to Hispanic applicants as well, said Sanchez.
Rebecca R. Hastings, SPHR, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
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Congressmen weigh in on LEED standards
U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson has sent a letter to U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) president and CEO Rick Fedrizzi, urging changes to the treatment of forest products under the council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) 2012 rating system. LEED is currently taking public comment as it revises its evaluation process and standards, which will be released in November of 2012.
The bipartisan letter, signed by Thompson and seven other members of Congress representing districts with significant rural or forestry interests, urges the USGBC to “accept all credible forest management certification systems for qualification under the LEED rating system,” in order to incentivize the “utilization of domestically produced forest products.”
LEED’s current rating system recognizes wood only if it is certified to the Forest Stewardship Council’s forest standard. However, three-quarters of the domestically certified forests operate on different standards, primarily the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) or the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), which are not recognized by LEED.
As a result, LEED’s rating requirement has the adverse effect of dissuading builders from using U.S.-made wood products that are ineligible for LEED certification, despite their substantial environmental and economic benefits, the letter said.
A recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), released in September 2011, outlines scientific findings that support the environmental and economic benefits of using wood in green building construction. The report further states: “Sustainability of forest products can be verified using any credible third-party rating system, such as Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Forest Stewardship Council or American Tree Farm System."
Thompson, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, is also the Chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy & Forestry. All eight signatories of the letter, including Thompson, were also signatories to a letter from 79 Members of Congress in July 2010, urging changes to the USGBC’s treatment of forest products.
Many thanks to these
Many thanks to these Congressmen. I will no longer use the statement that Congress has done nothing right in years. Now if they could only get rid of Dodd-Frank and loosen up credit terms for business and construction...
Brookstone hires former HD exec as president and CEO
Specialty retailer Brookstone has hired Stephen Bebis as its new president and CEO, effective immediately.
Prior to joining Brookstone, Bebis spent 14 years as founder, president and CEO of Golf Town, the largest specialty golf retailer in Canada. Starting the business from scratch, Bebis grew Golf Town to 57 locations across Canada and led the expansion of the company into the Boston market last year with seven stores.
Bebis began his retailing career with Sears in store sales and management, and later moved into merchandising roles in 1976 with Grossman’s, a chain of 60 lumberyards in the Northeast that broke apart in 1996. Bebis joined Home Depot in 1984, where he grew revenues through the introduction of new merchandise categories.
After serving as the VP, general merchandise manager for Home Depot’s mid-southern division, Bebis in 1991 led the start-up of Aikenhead’s Home Improvement Warehouse in Toronto, Canada. As president and CEO, Bebis grew the company to 12 stores with 10 planned before selling Aikenhead’s in 1994 to Home Depot. After two years as president and CEO of Home Depot Canada, Bebis joined Jumbo Sports (formerly Sports and Recreation) in 1996 as president and CEO before launching Golf Town in 1998.
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