By Joshua C. Black, Esq.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated each year from September 15 through October 15. Started as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968, the commemoration was expanded to a month-long celebration in 1988. Hispanic Heritage Month is a chance to recognize the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture and achievements of the United States. It is also an ideal time to reflect on the benefits of prioritizing a diverse workplace where people of all colors, cultures, and genders are provided the same opportunities.
Currently, Hispanic and Latino Americans make up the second largest ethnic group in the United States, comprising an estimated 18% of the U.S. population. By 2025, it’s anticipated this population will account for one out of every two employees entering the workforce.
During Hispanic Heritage Month, and throughout the year, business owners should know a well-rounded and diverse workforce helps an organization uncover and seize new opportunities. It provides room for organizational growth that may have been overlooked without the unique perspectives of a broad spectrum of employees. Through collaboration and understanding, a more diverse business will work more intelligently.
Varying viewpoints can help leaders and employees address problems from a wide-ranging perspective, while understanding what it's like to stand in someone else's shoes. A diverse workplace may also be more empathetic to employees’ and customers’ experiences, as well as provide specific insights about how to be better global citizens.
Unfortunately, discrimination and harassment in the workplace continue to be significant issues for Hispanic employees, as well as other minority groups throughout the United States. Federal laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provide protection against racial discrimination in the workplace by making it illegal to discriminate during the hiring and promotion process, and making it illegal to terminate someone based on their race.
For organizations looking for ways increase diversity in their businesses, a few factors to consider include examining leadership roles. Are managers and leaders diverse and representative? Are your leaders thoughtful and culturally aware? Do you consider diversity when building a team? Does your organization support a culture of hiring and promoting people of color and different genders? Do your employees feel comfortable enough to report or call-out discrimination without feeling shunned afterwards? Encouraging a transparent organization where employees and managers feel heard and supported is key in building a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Having an inclusive culture in the workplace boosts morale, encourages professional growth and drives satisfaction among employees. On average, diverse workplaces tend to have lower employee turnover, which provides a significant business advantage when it comes to paying for recruitment, on-boarding and training.
Taking time to explore other cultures and perspectives is a good idea, not just during Hispanic Heritage Month, but anytime. Research shows people with diverse viewpoints actually come up with more innovative ideas than those who think alike, which results in far more creative solutions to organizational problems.
If you feel you have been unfairly discriminated against at your place of employment, or would like to speak with an Arizona employment attorney regarding your experiences, contact the Law Office of Joshua Black, PLC, at (623) 738-2225.