I often advise companies on how to make their employees feel heard and respected. It’s not an easy task when employees are so diverse in their thinking, experiences, and desires.
Inevitably, clients will ask, how do we reach, engage, inspire all employees when they’re all so different? How do we make them feel part of a common purpose or community?
For me, it’s important to recognize and respect those differences, because I’m part of a group that can’t be described as uniform, either.
Who Hispanics Are
Tell me what being Hispanic means. Describe the common characteristics of Hispanics. I’ll give you a moment…
If you’re like most people, this exercise should have stumped you. What exactly is Hispanic?
Hispanics Are Not Monolithic
Ask five different people and you’ll likely receive five different answers. There is no one answer – likely because being Hispanic doesn’t come with a singular culture, attitude, or history.
Unsurprisingly, it’s because the language of Cervantes is as varied and beautiful as the people who speak it. Our commonality is our native tongue, but even that has nuances depending on where you learned Spanish.
We’re a combination of people with a (mostly) shared language, but vastly different accents. And, no, I don’t mean language accents, but how each one of us tells our story and shares our perspectives.
We’re Growing – and Making An Impact
In the United States, Hispanics are the most rapidly growing population in the nation, and we’re making strides in positions of power and influence – from the business world to theatre to politics and science. But it’s not simply the fact that we have power that matters, but how we use it. Having Hispanics with seats at the table means more diverse views, mindsets, and perceptions for some of the challenges that face our society.
As a Hispanic woman, with Mexican heritage, and a leadership position at my company, I always try to remember the lessons I learned about my community. That having individual uniqueness, histories, and traditions only makes us stronger. It’s a powerful reminder, that even though we are all vastly different, we can all be bound together by the reassuring fact that we are one people, one language, many accents.
This is what I often remind my clients – that despite the differences of their employees, they all chose to work for them and be a part of them. Treat them with respect, honor those differences and the rest will fall into place.