In any industry, the potential for upward mobility keeps us driven and enthusiastic about performing our tasks to our best abilities. We are more willing to put in extra effort if we feel appreciated and respected. This is a mutual feeling across society, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, creed, etc.
In an industry such as ours, where there is a vast Hispanic workforce, there tend to exist strong cultural and linguistic barriers that can keep us from being able to offer some of our best talent opportunities to climb the ladder. By fostering relationships with site workers that encourage a productive and positive work environment, we can help our businesses build a strong core team that consistently delivers quality results.
In many cases, a Spanish-speaking workforce creates demand for Spanish-speaking supervisors who can better communicate, train and retain those laborers with the same cultural and linguistic background, increasing profitability and decreasing turnover.
In order for Hispanic talent to take on higher roles and added responsibilities, they need the right tools and resources to learn new skills and prepare for their next big step.
Hispanic laborers are willing and looking to learn but may not know where to begin. Associations such as the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance focus on educating Hispanic Americans in the industry and growing leadership. They often provide materials in Spanish for members and offer networking opportunities with other more experienced members who can share tips for betterment, set an example and prove that growth is attainable.
There are great training programs and workshops available, even some specifically tailored to capacitating the Hispanic workforce. Train the Trainer is an example of a program that focuses on the development of the Latino workforce, led by Ellen Ely who is a nationally recognized leader in this space. Another useful resource is 7 of 7 Best Business and Life Strategies, a guiding hand on the processes for managing a successful business.
Bring in other successful Latino leaders and owners. Along your own path, having mentors served as an inspiration. Listening to successful individuals share personal trajectories and development processes is encouraging.
Offering staff the opportunity and an incentive to learn English more proficiently allows them to more effectively communicate with other supervisors, administration and clients. Local colleges offer Spanish-language courses for non-English speakers. High schools also offer English as a Second Language courses for adults, many free of charge. You can also provide resources in house.
Encourage your laborers to become certified in specific skills. Sometimes what prevents Spanish-speaking laborers from becoming certified is the linguistic barrier itself and a lack of understanding of the test-taking process. In some states, local organizations and universities have partnered to create Spanish prep courses for certification exams.
There are a great deal of Latino conferences throughout the country that are highly recommended.
- Association of Latino Professionals for America offers 400 combined events a year focusing on future Latino leaders.
- Associations such as the National Association of Landscape Professionals offer great industry resources and value.
- United Way’s Latino Leadership program provides Latinos the opportunity to enhance their professional and personal skills as business and community leaders.
On a final note.
The most important thing to consider is to offer yourselves as resources. As someone with experience and stature, make sure that you are personable and make yourself relatable to your workforce. Maintain a welcoming atmosphere and consider your colleagues and staff a family. Make your business a place where your employees look forward to being and feel appreciated.