Managing Hispanic and Latino Employees

A Guide to Hiring, Training, Motivating, Supervising, and Supporting the Fastest Growing Workforce Group

Louis Nevaer (Author)

Publication date: 01/11/2010

Managing Hispanic and Latino Employees

The first book on supporting and developing Hispanic employees in any organization.

  • The first book on supporting and developing Hispanic employees in any organization

  • Identifies three overarching concepts that shape Hispanic culture and explores how they influence workplace behavior and expectations

  • Written by a distinguished Hispanic author and authority on Hispanic economic behavior


Hispanics are the largest minority group and the fastest growing demographic in the United States—they are already 15% of the population and 22% of the workforce, and it’s estimated that by 2050 those numbers will go up to 36% and 55% In this much-needed new book Louis Naevar helps non-Hispanic employers and colleagues understand how Hispanics see the business world—and the world in general—so they can better support and develop this dynamic group of workers.

Drawing on his own ethnic background and years of experience as director of the organization Hispanic Economics, Nevaer identifies three concepts that shape Hispanic culture and often result in behaviors and beliefs very different than, and sometimes seemingly at odds with, those of non-Hispanics. He explores subtle nuances within the Hispanic community—which is no more monolithic than the “European” community—that will help employers appreciate differences and tensions between Hispanic workers. With this as an overarching framework, and using a wealth of specific examples, Nevaer shows how to develop Hispanic-friendly approaches in every aspect of the modern workplace, from recruitment, retention and evaluation to training, mentoring, and labor relations.

As Hispanics become an ever-larger segment of the workforce, organizations who fail to make them feel welcome and valued risk losing access to a significant source of talent and innovation, not to mention a connection to a major evolving market. Managing Hispanic and Latino Employees is an invaluable resource for creating an environment where Hispanic workers feel comfortable, recognized and rewarded.

  •     The first book on supporting and developing Hispanic employees in any organization

  •     Identifies three overarching concepts that shape Hispanic culture and explores how they influence workplace behavior and expectations

  •    Written by a distinguished Hispanic author and authority on Hispanic economic behavior


Hispanics are the largest minority group and the fastest growing demographic in the United States—they are already 15% of the population and 22% of the workforce, and it’s estimated that by 2050 those numbers will go up to 36% and 55% In this much-needed new book Louis Naevar helps non-Hispanic employers and colleagues understand how Hispanics see the business world—and the world in general—so they can better support and develop this dynamic group of workers.

Drawing on his own ethnic background and years of experience as director of the organization Hispanic Economics, Nevaer identifies three concepts that shape Hispanic culture and often result in behaviors and beliefs very different than, and sometimes seemingly at odds with, those of non-Hispanics. He explores subtle nuances within the Hispanic community—which is no more monolithic than the “European” community—that will help employers appreciate differences and tensions between Hispanic workers. With this as an overarching framework, and using a wealth of specific examples, Nevaer shows how to develop Hispanic-friendly approaches in every aspect of the modern workplace, from recruitment, retention and evaluation to training, mentoring, and labor relations.

As Hispanics become an ever-larger segment of the workforce, organizations who fail to make them feel welcome and valued risk losing access to a significant source of talent and innovation, not to mention a connection to a major evolving market. Managing Hispanic and Latino Employees is an invaluable resource for creating an environment where Hispanic workers feel comfortable, recognized and rewarded.

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Overview

The first book on supporting and developing Hispanic employees in any organization.

  • The first book on supporting and developing Hispanic employees in any organization

  • Identifies three overarching concepts that shape Hispanic culture and explores how they influence workplace behavior and expectations

  • Written by a distinguished Hispanic author and authority on Hispanic economic behavior


Hispanics are the largest minority group and the fastest growing demographic in the United States—they are already 15% of the population and 22% of the workforce, and it’s estimated that by 2050 those numbers will go up to 36% and 55% In this much-needed new book Louis Naevar helps non-Hispanic employers and colleagues understand how Hispanics see the business world—and the world in general—so they can better support and develop this dynamic group of workers.

Drawing on his own ethnic background and years of experience as director of the organization Hispanic Economics, Nevaer identifies three concepts that shape Hispanic culture and often result in behaviors and beliefs very different than, and sometimes seemingly at odds with, those of non-Hispanics. He explores subtle nuances within the Hispanic community—which is no more monolithic than the “European” community—that will help employers appreciate differences and tensions between Hispanic workers. With this as an overarching framework, and using a wealth of specific examples, Nevaer shows how to develop Hispanic-friendly approaches in every aspect of the modern workplace, from recruitment, retention and evaluation to training, mentoring, and labor relations.

As Hispanics become an ever-larger segment of the workforce, organizations who fail to make them feel welcome and valued risk losing access to a significant source of talent and innovation, not to mention a connection to a major evolving market. Managing Hispanic and Latino Employees is an invaluable resource for creating an environment where Hispanic workers feel comfortable, recognized and rewarded.

  •     The first book on supporting and developing Hispanic employees in any organization

  •     Identifies three overarching concepts that shape Hispanic culture and explores how they influence workplace behavior and expectations

  •    Written by a distinguished Hispanic author and authority on Hispanic economic behavior


Hispanics are the largest minority group and the fastest growing demographic in the United States—they are already 15% of the population and 22% of the workforce, and it’s estimated that by 2050 those numbers will go up to 36% and 55% In this much-needed new book Louis Naevar helps non-Hispanic employers and colleagues understand how Hispanics see the business world—and the world in general—so they can better support and develop this dynamic group of workers.

Drawing on his own ethnic background and years of experience as director of the organization Hispanic Economics, Nevaer identifies three concepts that shape Hispanic culture and often result in behaviors and beliefs very different than, and sometimes seemingly at odds with, those of non-Hispanics. He explores subtle nuances within the Hispanic community—which is no more monolithic than the “European” community—that will help employers appreciate differences and tensions between Hispanic workers. With this as an overarching framework, and using a wealth of specific examples, Nevaer shows how to develop Hispanic-friendly approaches in every aspect of the modern workplace, from recruitment, retention and evaluation to training, mentoring, and labor relations.

As Hispanics become an ever-larger segment of the workforce, organizations who fail to make them feel welcome and valued risk losing access to a significant source of talent and innovation, not to mention a connection to a major evolving market. Managing Hispanic and Latino Employees is an invaluable resource for creating an environment where Hispanic workers feel comfortable, recognized and rewarded.

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Meet the Author


Visit Author Page - Louis Nevaer



Louis E. Varela Nevaer is considered one of the nation's leading authorities on Hispanics and Latinos. As director of Hispanic Economics, he has written extensively on Hispanic consumer behavior in the United States and consulted to Fortune 100 comapnies who, sincee the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, have worked on integrating the economics of the three North American nations. With more than a quarter century of expertise, Nevaer offers a unique perspective that reflects his varied background.

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Table of Contents

A Note on the Nomenclature

Preface

Introduction

Part One: The Hispanic Employee and American Demographics

Chapter 1: The Changed American Workforce

Chapter 2: Who Is the Hispanic Employee?

Chapter 3: Management and the Hispanic Outlook

Part Two: The Strategies and Skills for Supervising Nonexempt Hispanic Employees

Chapter 4: Finding, Attracting, and Selecting the Best Hispanic Candidates

Chapter 5: How to Evaluate the Hispanic Employee's Performance and Conduct

Chapter 6: Hispanics, Managers, and Labor Relations

Part Three: The Hispanic Employee and the Organization's Future

Chapter 7: How to Keep Hispanic Nonexempt Employees Challenged and Satisfied in the Workplace

Chapter 8: Nurturing the Hispanic Exempt Professional

Chapter 9: Training and Development: How Successful Managers Nurture Their Hispanic Workforce

Chapter 10: Empowering the Hispanic Employee and an Organization's Future

Conclusion

Notes

Index

About the Author

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Excerpt

Managing Hispanic and Latino Employees

Chapter 1
The Changed American Workforce

The demographic role of Hispanics becomes more apparent when one considers that immigrants from Latin America account for almost 60% of all legal immigrants. In addition, there are an estimated 10–12 million people in the United States who have entered, or remained, in the country in violation of existing immigration laws. Most of these illegal aliens are Latin American. That the majority of these individuals—legal and illegal immigrants alike—are actively employed further strengthens the importance of Latins in sustaining economic growth, and the role of Hispanics as members of the American workforce.

These facts represent a demographic sea change affecting the American workplace in unprecedented ways. It is important to recall that as recently at 1990, the Census Bureau believed that Hispanics would not overtake African Americans to become the nation’s largest minority until 2020. It occurred fully two decades sooner than experts estimated. When it happened, earlier this decade, it transformed the United States into the fastest-growing Spanish-speaking nation in the world, and it made front-page headlines around the world. “Hispanics have edged past blacks as the nation’s largest minority group, new figures released today by the Census Bureau showed. The Hispanic population in the United States is now roughly 37 million, while blacks number about 36.2 million,” Lynette Clemetson wrote in the nation’s newspaper of record, the New York Times, in January 2003, documenting the federal government’s official announcement of the seismic demographic shifts that defined the character of the United States in the first decade of the twenty-first century.1

Every year since then the Census Bureau, along with other federal agencies, has continued to document the structural changes in the American workforce, changes that herald the ascendance of Hispanics—and the Hispanic employee—in ways that a mere generation ago were unimaginable.

Consider a few tantalizing facts:

Image Hispanics are almost a decade younger (9.5 years) than the general population;

Image More than a third of Hispanics are younger than 18 years old;

Image Fertility rates of Hispanics are higher than the natural replacement level;

Image More than 34 million Mexicans have a legal claim of some kind to seek to emigrate to the United States, which will be discussed later in the chapter2;

Image Hispanic women who attain graduate degrees earn 15% more than their non-Hispanic counterparts; and

Image In September 2008 the United States replaced Spain as the second-largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world; only Mexico has more Spanish speakers.3

These changes have not unfolded without comment. “It is a turning point in the nation’s history, a symbolic benchmark of some significance,” Roberto Suro, then-director of the Pew Hispanic Center, said of the emergence of Hispanics as the largest minority, displacing the historic position held by African Americans. “If you consider how much of this nation’s history is wrapped up in the interplay between black and white, this serves as an official announcement that we as Americans cannot think of race in that way any [longer].”4 Other voices have been raised in acknowledgement—and alarm. “The persistent inflow of Hispanic immigrants threatens to divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, and two languages. Unlike past immigrant groups, Mexicans and other Hispanics have not assimilated into mainstream U.S. culture, forming instead their own political and linguistic enclaves—from Los Angeles to Miami— and rejecting the Anglo-Protestant values that built the American dream,” Samuel Huntington, of Harvard University, wrote in the pages of Foreign Affairs.5

These demographic changes are also of profound socioeconomic consequence, simply because, unlike other immigrant groups, Hispanics have reached a “tipping point,” economically mandating that Spanish be one of the languages of business, and through higher birth rates, fundamentally changing the character of American society in this century. It is not news, for instance, that, during the second half of the twentieth century, certain American metropolitan areas struggled to remain economically viable in the face of sustained population losses. Buffalo, Detroit, and Chicago are three cities that experienced sustained—and debilitating—population declines beginning in the late 1950s. Only one, Chicago, was able to reverse this trend, and is now in the throes of an urban relative revitalization that is the envy of the Midwest.

A closer examination of how Chicago achieved this turnaround is instructive: “After half a century of seeing its population dwindle as people abandoned the core of the city and moved to the suburbs, Chicago has finally rebounded,” Pam Belluck reported in March 2001, after the Census Bureau released data from the 2000 census. “For the first time since 1950, the city’s population grew, and by a larger number than demographers and historians had been expecting. . . . The growth is primarily the result of an influx of immigrants, especially Mexicans and other Hispanics. . . . The biggest change in Chicago’s population mosaic is the increase in Hispanics, up more than 200,000 from 1990. While partly the result of better counting efforts, demographers say there has been a rapid stream of Mexicans coming from Mexico and from other American cities, and a growing influx of immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia and other countries.”6

If only Buffalo were this fortunate, it might reverse its sustained decline.

What this means, however, is that there are more Hispanics than ever before, that they are younger than the general population, and they are entering the ranks of the employed in greater numbers. Non-Hispanic whites, whose numbers are declining, are also older, which means they are leaving the workforce: “Happy Retirement” parties are held, primarily, for non-Hispanic white and African American employees, while the “New Employee Orientation” programs administered by human resources professionals are generally geared for new Hispanic and Asian (Indian, Chinese, and Korean immigrants) employees, with a minority of new workers entering the workforce being non-Hispanic whites or African Americans.

In consequence, there is a continuous change in the character of American society: this time, come tomorrow, there will be fewer non-Hispanic employees in the American workforce than there are today, all other economic considerations notwithstanding.

The fact of this undeniable reality, too, has not unfolded without comment, and controversy. The debate over illegal immigration is as much about the failure of the federal government to control the borders as it is about the apprehension and fear that Americans sense as they witness, in the course of their routine workdays and their personal leisure, how communities across the country are changing. Hispanics are everywhere; Spanish is heard more often on the public stage of civic life.

The impact of Latin immigrants on “Native Born”—U.S. Latinos included—cannot be characterized as either negative or positive. Their impact depends on a variety of factors, including the economic circumstances of individual states, specific industries, and the conditions of local labor markets. In the most comprehensive analysis available, the Pew Hispanic Center sought to analyze, state-by-state, the impact of all immigrants (Foreign Born workers) on the economic opportunities of American workers, including U.S.-born Latinos (Native Born workers). The results, when plotted on a matrix, demonstrate that there is no single answer to that complicated question.

To understand the overlapping and interrelated dynamics of these demographic changes, however, consider New Orleans. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, many residents decided not to return to that city, and as a result, the population remains just over half of what it was before the storm struck New Orleans. In the resulting absence of “Native Born” workers, industries—from construction to hospitality, restaurant to health services—have desperately sought to find employees, regardless of national origin, or even immigration status. Latin immigrants have filled that vacuum, swelling the ranks of that city’s workforce.

Image

Growth in the Foreign-Born Population Is Not Related to Employment Rates of Native-Born Workers by State, 2000–2004

Center point is the average of growth in the foreign-born population and the average employment rates + denotes above average – denotes below average

“First came the storm. Then came the workers. Now comes the baby boom,” Eduardo Porter reported in December 2006. “‘Before the storm, only 2 percent [of babies born in New Orleans] were Hispanic; now about 96 percent are Hispanic,’ said Beth Perriloux, the head nurse in the department’s health unit in Metairie.”7 The reality that New Orleans is becoming a Hispanic city is undeniable. “The demographics of the health units used to be 85 percent African American, who had Medicaid, and 15 percent other,” Dr. Kevin Work told the reporter. “When the clinics reopened, I started seeing the faces changing. Now 85 to 90 percent are Hispanic undocumented, and only 10 to 15 percent have Medicaid.”8

How can one assess the “impact” of Latin immigrants on “Native Born” workers, when the former residents of New Orleans remain absent from their community? Can it be denied that New Orleans is fast-becoming a bilingual city, where the majority of “new” residents are native Spanish-speakers, and where Hispanic culture is changing the fundamental nature of that city’s social, cultural, and economic character? Of greater consequence, if eight or nine out of every ten children being born in New Orleans and neighboring communities is a Latino child, what will the city look like in the future? Has city government made plans for the fact that, beginning in 2010 and 2011, children enrolled in preschool and kindergarten are from households where Spanish is spoken at home, and whose understanding of English may be little, or even nonexistent? Further down the road, come 2020, what are the high schools of New Orleans going to look like, as these youngsters become teenagers, that city’s youth— that city’s future?

In trying to understand the continuing polemics over Latin immigration and Latino workers, a basic understanding of how Hispanic demographics are shaping the United States is a fundamental necessity for all workplace managers, supervisors, and other administrators. The demographic realities of New Orleans are visceral and dramatic; evidence of changes is also closely linked to the emergence of the United States as a bilingual consumer economy. In no uncertain terms, what is happening in New Orleans—hailed as the “newest” city in “Latin America” by some Latin American intellectuals—foreshadows how the American labor force will evolve this century.

It is, in essence, as if “Latin America,” through an unexpected seismic movement, shifted, and is now about 200 miles north of the Rio Grande. The result is nothing less than the “Hispanization” of the United States, in general, and the American workforce, in particular. These are the demographic facts of life that inform how the American society will evolve and change throughout the twenty-first century.

In Review

Image Hispanics, through higher fertility rates and immigration, account for virtually the entire population growth in the United States as this century unfolds.

Image Hispanics, U.S.-born Latinos, and Latin immigrants are almost a decade younger than the non-Hispanics, meaning they are at earlier stages in their careers and are disproportionately represented in the American workplace.

Image Hispanics, in the same way that women swelled the ranks of the employed in the second half of the twentieth century, are on track to constitute almost half the nation’s workforce by 2050.

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