The impact of the global pandemic, racial injustices coming to light, and so much more has catapulted new trends and expectations in the workplace and society. While these events have widened disparities, they have also generated greater awareness of the inequities that exist, and increased action toward increasing access and equity.
Latinos also began to speak up about racism and colorism as #BlackLivesMatter represents our community, significant others, children, family members, colleagues, and friends as well.
According to the Edelmen Trust Barometer 2020, 73 percent of employees expect a prospective employer to give them the opportunity to share the future of society. The Edelman special report on Brands and Racial Justice in America reports that 92 percent of African Americans and 91 percent of Latinos agree brands that take a stand against racial injustices would gain their customers’ trust.
The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE) envisions a world where Latinos and their communities reach their full potential. This seems closer to reality during HACE’s year-round events, yet we are disproportionately underrepresented in highly compensated professional and leadership roles across corporate America and other sectors.
HACE’s 2020 theme “Our Collective Power: Latinovate 2020” has taken this, and the current political and cultural climate, into consideration, meaning it will require everyone (Latinos and allies) to take action toward building a more inclusive workforce and society.
Programs like HACE’s women’s leadership program Mujeres de HACE, which empowers Latina professionals to succeed professionally and thrive personally, are key to moving the needle. The program is a cohort model and a safe-space that provides 24 hours of culturally relevant training, coaching, leadership assessments, and engagement with successful Latina role models, mentors, and trainers.
This program has effectively catapulted the careers of our alumnae who, after completing the program, have a 40 percent promotion rate within six months (70 percent within a year), and an average 40 percent increase in salary within the next six months. These benefits help close the career and wage gaps Latinas face.
The year to take action
To further HACE’s 2020 theme, HACE collected data on the ways Latino professionals were contributing in three areas: 1) individual professional and leadership development, 2) workplace engagement, and 3) community engagement. For each, the assessment provided an opportunity to reflect on the various ways participants may be part of our collective power by contributing to each of these areas.
With an election and a census looming, 2020 is a big year for Latinos. We need to ensure our community is counted with the Census in order to ensure proper and equitable distribution of public resources, and that our voice is heard this election. In addition to these, and as a result of the assessment, the following resulted as the top areas of opportunities for our community to take action this year:
- Become aware of the statistics and trends, and speak up! Use them as part of your advocacy toolkit in the workplace. If your current employer is not building a strategy to recruit, retain, and develop Latino talent, you can help advocate the case as to why it is necessary. If you are part of an employee/business resource group, use statistics in your public speeches or remarks.
- Seek nonprofit or community groups to contribute your time and talent, and/or make a financial gift. Community-based organizations and nonprofits need speakers, money, volunteers, and board members, and especially Latino ones! It is time to ramp up a culture of giving. Whether it is with your finances, expertise, or time, your contribution is needed and valuable.
- Mentor and be mentored by people from different backgrounds. No matter where you are in your career trajectory, if you are not leveraging mentorship as part of your own professional development, and with diverse perspectives, it is time. Mentorship has the opportunity to turn into a sponsorship, meaning a mentor no longer only provides advice, but actually vouches for you when key decisions are being made. These types of relationships help increase our awareness of opportunities and possible blindspots and biases that may be hindering progress.
Join HACE this Hispanic Heritage Month and for the years to come as we change Latinos roles in corporate America. It starts with each of us, and we all have the power to make a difference!
HACE President & CEO