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National Hispanic Heritage Month honors the rich history, significant contributions, and diverse cultures of Hispanic Americans.
This month-long celebration—from September 15th to October 15th—offers a unique opportunity to foster deeper understanding, construct a more robust narrative about Hispanic Americans, and promote diversity and inclusion in your workplace.
Celebrating Hispanic and Latinx employees
At Spring Health, one of the ways we elevate diverse perspectives is through our Employee Resource Group (ERG) members. ¡Viva Spring! is dedicated to supporting our Hispanic, Latinx, Spanish, and Portuguese employees. This group brings unique insights and guidance for our HR and People leaders to enhance support for underrepresented minority communities.
This year’s theme for Hispanic Heritage Month is driving prosperity, power, and progress. For Hispanic/Latinx employees, this requires active listening, provision of resources, and a commitment from leadership to build a supportive community in the workplace.
Here are four tactical ways you can do this:
- Promote meaningful engagement by establishing an ERG dedicated to Hispanic/Latinx employees. This provides opportunities to uplift and support each other, fostering a sense of community.
- Implement immersive training and peer-to-peer learning initiatives that illuminate the multifaceted nature of Hispanic diversity.
- Encourage collaboration between members and non-members of the Hispanic/ Latinx community by including both in your company’s event planning and management committees.
- Leverage data to make informed decisions that benefit the organization. For example, if your data reveals that the promotion rate for Hispanic/Latinx employees lags behind other segments, delve deeper into understanding the reasons behind this gap—and take action to close it.
To continue unpacking these three areas, let me introduce you to a few of our ERG leaders, who all serve as Care Navigators at Spring Health.
Sandra Rios-Monsante is a leader of ¡Viva Spring!, and will discuss the power of nurturing leadership and recognition. Jonathan Mendoza is also a ¡Viva Spring! leader, and will explore strategies for enhancing growth and mental well-being. Karen Salas-Caballero is a leader of our Spring Together ERG, and will concentrate on advancing efforts to overcome challenges and promote equality.
Power: Fostering leadership and representation
By Sandra Rios-Monsante
It’s essential—and highly beneficial—for organizations to create opportunities and achievable career paths that enable Hispanic/Latinx employees to attain leadership positions. Elevating employees to positions of power yields multiple benefits and a return on investment, including:
- Enriched and innovative organizational culture
- Enhanced team dynamics and morale
- Positive impact on business performance
- Promotion of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB)
In fact, when the ¡Viva Spring! ERG was launched, we observed a positive change in the overall dynamic at Spring Health. This was characterized by a renewed sense of social connection and a more inclusive atmosphere.
To ensure equal opportunities for Hispanic employees, consider these action items:
- Clear performance goals: Develop clear and attainable performance goals integrated into employees’ personalized career paths within the organization.
- Mentorship and coaching: Present yourself as a team leader, manager, and mentor who consistently offers professional guidance and coaching. This visually represents the organization’s investment in professional development, growth, and upward mobility—and your unwavering support as their team lead.
- Level the playing field: Recognize that underrepresented minority talent may start from a disadvantaged position compared to some peers. Be intentional about creating opportunities to address these disparities.
Prosperity: Empowering growth and mental well-being
By Jonathan Mendoza
Latin culture emphasizes the importance of family bonds, community collaboration, and resilience in adversity. This profound sense of determination and purpose equips Latino employees with a valuable skill set that seamlessly extends to their relationships with peers in the workplace. It enhances their capacity to innovate and adapt in a professional environment.
For most Hispanic employees, these attributes come naturally. They’re raised with the belief that their fellow team members genuinely care about their well-being, are willing to assist and share a similar perspective on the value of collective success. These characteristics reinforce the belief in collaboration and supportive relationships that benefit everyone involved.
Supporting the prosperity and mental health of Hispanic employees
Flexible work schedules and PTO policies can positively impact Hispanic employees’ mental well-being and overall job satisfaction. Given the collective nature of Latin culture, it’s common for extended Hispanic families to reside together in a single home. This sense of community carries a deep commitment to assisting extended family members, a responsibility taken very seriously.
The unwavering dedication to helping others means that Hispanic employees may require more flexible sick days than their colleagues—not for themselves but to care for a sick grandparent, cousin, or other family member requiring support. This dynamic can result in these team members not having the same opportunity to utilize their sick days for their own well-being.
Therefore, offering flexible PTO days can make a significant difference for Hispanic employees, particularly when many family members in their communities also struggle with disabilities.
Progress: Overcoming challenges and striving for equality
By Karen Salas-Caballero
Hispanic and Latinx employees possess a remarkable ability to overcome challenges and advance the organizational mission. Within our ERG, we’ve identified two distinct categories of challenges: family and cultural considerations and structural and workplace barriers.
In the first category, Hispanic/Latinx employees often contend with added pressure to succeed, particularly if they are the first in their families to pursue higher education. Many also shoulder the financial responsibility of supporting their families, requiring consistent employment. The increased workload and related stressors can lead to burnout, perfectionism, and difficulties in self-advocacy.
Historically, leadership in the workplace has predominantly been associated with being male and white. Given this longstanding norm in the U.S., Hispanic employees may struggle with “imposter syndrome” feelings because they inherently recognize that the system was not originally designed with their representation in mind.
Framing the resolution of workplace challenges as solely personal responsibility may not be appropriate. As an employee, the assurance of being treated with cultural humility and respect is crucial, especially when expressing different perspectives from most colleagues.
It’s important to know that there’s a desire for Hispanic employees to have a seat at the table and their contributions are valued and indispensable. They don’t neatly fit into the traditional mold of what is considered “professional,” and this diversity of perspectives is a powerful asset.
It’s heartening to note a positive attitude shift toward Hispanic mental well-being in the workplace. More and more conversations about mental health occur in common areas, indicating comfortability when discussing this important subject. Embracing and acknowledging diversity in the workplace fosters psychological safety and trust, making it a natural place for these critical conversations to occur with greater frequency.
Consider an innovative EAP
For Hispanic and Latinx employees seeking support, ensuring that your existing EAP can meet their specific needs is essential. They need fast access to a diverse network of culturally competent providers, who understand their background and lived experience, and guidance for selecting the right provider.
If your current EAP doesn’t offer these features, consider an innovative EAP. All our providers use evidence-based tools and therapies while closely monitoring outcomes throughout the treatment process. Additionally, Spring Health offers care navigation services provided by licensed, masters-level clinicians—like three of our authors, Sandra, Jonathan, and Karen.
Enrolled employees have unlimited access to their dedicated Care Navigator, who provides inbound and outbound support to address concerns and guide them along their mental health journey. This level of support can be valuable for Hispanic and Latinx employees seeking culturally sensitive and effective mental health care.
Take a closer look at Care Navigation and how it can bridge the large gap between the availability and use of employee benefits.