By Nicholas Crespo, Senior Client Success Manager at DailyPay
Hispanic Heritage Month provides us with an opportunity to celebrate the rich contributions of Hispanic and Latino communities to the fabric of our society. However, it is crucial to shed light on the persistent challenges faced by the Hispanic community in the corporate world. Despite our significant presence and hard work, many Hispanics find themselves serving as the backbone of organizations, supporting the ladder that their counterparts climb to advance their careers.
The Hardworking Backbone
Hispanics have long been known for their strong work ethic and dedication. In my experience, they often go above and beyond to excel in their roles, contributing immensely to the success of their respective organizations. Yet, despite their efforts, 60% of Latinos feel they have been overlooked for career advancements because of elements from their ethnic and racial background, according to a survey by Axios. This perpetuates a cycle where Hispanics are left to bear the weight of the corporate ladder without being afforded the chance to climb it themselves.
Barriers to Progress
Numerous factors contribute to the underrepresentation of Hispanics in leadership positions. One significant barrier is the prevalence of unconscious bias within organizations. Studies have shown that biases, whether implicit or explicit, can influence decision-making processes, leading to the sidelining of qualified Hispanic employees. These biases may stem from stereotypes or preconceived notions about leadership styles, language proficiency, or cultural differences. Consequently, deserving candidates are overlooked, and the corporate ladder remains inaccessible to them.
Furthermore, the lack of diversity and inclusion initiatives exacerbates the situation. Thankfully, many organizations have made strides in prioritizing DEI efforts over the past several years. Companies that failed to foster inclusive environments struggled to cultivate diverse talent pools. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) have been prioritized to create communities within diverse groups within a workforce. At DailyPay, I am proud to have founded our Latinx ERG, DailyVida – DailyVida came to life with the intention of nurturing and motivating a vibrant community of Hispanic employees and their allies. Our aim is to foster cultural diversity, amplify professional growth, and create a supportive space where we not only acknowledge and celebrate our heritage but also align with our organization’s values and business objectives. I firmly believe that a more personalized approach to our goals could significantly amplify representation, fostering a deeper sense of connection and commitment among all members.
Breaking the Cycle
Addressing this issue requires a multi-faceted approach that involves individuals, organizations, and society as a whole. It starts with raising awareness and challenging unconscious biases. Organizations must invest in diversity and inclusion training to sensitize their employees and foster a culture of inclusivity. By understanding the value of diversity and dismantling stereotypes, decision-makers can make unbiased choices that promote a more equitable workplace.
Companies should also implement robust mentorship and sponsorship programs. These initiatives provide Hispanic employees with access to senior leaders who can advocate for their advancement and provide guidance. Mentoring relationships can help break down barriers, offer exposure to new opportunities, and empower individuals to aim for leadership positions.
Additionally, organizations must prioritize transparency and fairness in their promotion processes. Establishing clear criteria for advancement and providing feedback to all employees ensures that promotions are based on merit rather than subjective factors. Implementing diversity targets and regularly tracking progress can also help hold organizations accountable and drive change.
Lastly, it is essential for society as a whole to recognize and celebrate the achievements of Hispanic professionals. Highlighting success stories and promoting positive role models can inspire younger generations and challenge the prevailing narratives. By acknowledging and appreciating the contributions of Hispanics, we foster an environment that encourages equal opportunities for career growth.
Climbing The Ladder
Although we may not be where we want to be, we have to acknowledge how far we’ve come. If you spoke to those from generations past, they would revel at the opportunities that are available now. In that same spirit, I am confident that our experience will be similar when observing the opportunities given to the generations ahead. Luckily our culture has not and will never be scared of the work that it takes to get there. We are strong, we are capable, and we are here to stay. Salud!