4 Ways To Foster Belonging and Improve the Experience of Latinx Employees

 Latinx employees in the office

Belonging DEIB Diversity & Inclusion Women in the Workplace

In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, employers can take steps to understand and support the unique barriers and challenges that this fast-growing demographic faces.

Many Latinx employees have experienced or felt like they don’t belong.

As a first-generation Dominican woman working in corporate America, I am familiar with this feeling. I remember moments in my career when I felt like an outsider in rooms or at tables where I was often “the only.”

While I have learned to lean into this feeling and now “see” myself represented more, as diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging (DEIB) efforts are at the forefront of all great companies, the truth is, there is still much work to be done.

Why it matters

According to the U.S Department of Labor, the number of Latinx workers in the labor force is projected to reach 35.9 million by 2030. In other words, by 2030, one out of every five workers in the labor force will be Latinx.

And yet, Latinx employees occupy just 4% of executive roles and less than 3% of Fortune 1000 company board seats. According to Great Place To Work survey data, this demographic is precisely where we see the most significant discrepancy between Latinx employees and their white counterparts — particularly in the areas of retention, well-being, and purpose.

For instance, 98% of white executives feel management involves them in decisions that affect their jobs and work environment, while only 74% of Latinx executives think the same.

What you can do today

Making strides in DEIB and increasing Latinx representation in executive-level roles does not always take bold action. Here are four things you can do to jumpstart real change.

1. Allow Latinx employees to get involved in critical business operations and drive change from the highest levels down.

We all know that change begins from the top down.

Latinx employees are underrepresented in the highest-paying and most influential positions of organizations. This underrepresentation presents a significant problem because it leaves their voices, thoughts, and ideas out of meaningful conversations regarding factors, policies, or initiatives that affect their work and experience.

Landing an executive role does not guarantee equity or belonging. Latinx employees who have managed to swim upstream and land an executive role still face significant gaps.

Eighty-six percent of Latinx executives at the 100 Best Companies to Work For® feel they are given a lot of responsibility, compared to 97% for their white counterparts. On top of that, Latinx executives at the 100 Best have an 8-point gap when it comes to being paid fairly.

Be intentional about representation at the highest levels of your organization and seek input from Latinx team members on organizational goals and initiatives. At the Best workplaces, Latinx employees who feel management has a sincere interest in them as individuals are twice as likely to have higher retention.

2. Cultivate trust by creating a positive Latinx employee experience.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) allow Latinx team members to come together as a community and share a sense of belonging or common experiences.

This sense of community is critical for Latinx employees who often feel the need to assimilate, downplay who they are, and modify their appearance, body language, or communication style. From what we see in employee comments, ERGs provide a safe space for employees to come together, network, express themselves freely, and drive organizational change.

At the Best workplaces, Latinx employees who feel a sense of belonging are twice as likely to have higher purpose at work.

3. Ensure mentoring and professional advancement opportunities — even if your organization is highly diverse.

Providing opportunities for mentorship, both with individuals of the same background and those with different backgrounds, will allow employees to feel more included, supported, and valued.

Latinx employees who are offered training or development opportunities are 40% more likely to have a higher sense of purpose in the organization.

Intentionally providing Latinx team members with coaching, mentoring, and sponsorship possibilities is good for business because it will ensure long-term growth, retention, and quicker opportunities for upward mobility and representation within organizations.

4. Understand that the needs of each Latinx employee are unique.

The experience and needs of one Latinx employee will not be the same as another. The breadth of Latinx employees’ unique experiences and cultures means that companies must take flexible approaches to development and promotion.

Socioeconomic factors, culture or country of origin, generation in the U.S. (first, second, third, etc.), as well as other factors all play a role in the career development needs of Latinx team members. Instead of focusing on a one-size-fits-all approach, focus on the individual needs of each employee.

The bottom line

Great companies understand that Latinx representation and DEIB efforts are imperative to create great cultures for all employees. They understand their efforts are not one-size-fits-all, but rather an ongoing examination of systems, processes, expectations, and goals.

Companies that fundamentally get this not only win in employee experience, but also win in business.

Measure equity and inclusion in your workplace

For more information or help on your DEIB journey, contact us about how to measure and improve belonging in your workplace with our employee experience survey and analysis tool.

Stephanie Oribhabor