Accomodating Hispanic Employees

A few tips to help you improve productivity and job satisfaction for Hispanic employees.

August 30, 2001

How to improve productivity and job satisfaction for Hispanic employees.

  • Publish HR materials in English and in Spanish. This means not just company-written materials, but also those from outside vendors. Retirement, EAP, and health vendors, for example, can hold question-and-answer sessions in both languages. The EAP should be able to provide counseling in Spanish.

  • Put supervisors and managers through Spanish language classes. Joelle Davis, a human resources assistant for the Oregon Child Development Coalition, which serves a primarily Hispanic population, says too many employers have the attitude that " 'if they're coming to this country, they've got to learn the language, or I'm not interested in dealing with them.' We stand to gain so much more in meeting Latinos halfway in the struggle to assimilate into American culture."

  • Communicate how important confidentiality is to the company. It's extremely important to maintain complete confidentiality in programs such as EAPs, and to make sure employees know you're keeping private information absolutely private. If not, Davis says, "employees won't trust that the management will find out about whatever issues are troubling them."

  • Try to take into account extended family. Employers with heavily Hispanic workforces might consider extending family leave, bereavement leave, and other benefits beyond the nuclear family.

  • Create a diverse workforce. "People like to work where they are understood and where there are other people with similar backgrounds and interests," Mood says. "Even if a workplace is not hostile toward minorities, it might be a far less appealing place to work than the company across the street that has hired people with a wide range of backgrounds. Latinos now make up over 12 percent of the U.S. population. Who can afford to ignore a segment this large?"