October 6, 2023

5 ways leaders can support Latinx & Hispanic employees’ professional development

Supporting Latinx and Hispanic employees during Hispanic Heritage Month goes beyond work parties, Lunch N’ Learns, or social media shoutouts. This is the time for leaders to collect data, build relationships with team members, and identify how the company can provide historically excluded employees with more professional development opportunities.

Non-white Latino and Hispanic people are highly underpaid compared to white men in the workplace. Latina workers earn only 57 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men and those who work full-time year-round only earn 52 cents to the dollar, according to Equal Pay Today.

To create an equitable environment, companies must invest in Latinx and Hispanic employees’ professional development by:

  • Conducting a pay equity audit
  • Providing mentorship and sponsorship opportunities
  • Supporting Employee Resource Groups
  • Providing professional development training and stipends
  • Offering mental health resources

Below are Perfeqta’s recommendations for leaders who want to put a plan into action.

Related: The dos and don'ts of celebrating cultural observances in the workplace

Conduct a pay equity audit

Data shows Hispanic and Latinx employees are often underpaid. The first step toward workplace equity is to conduct a pay audit and rectify any disparities based on gender, ethnicity, or other factors. Here's how to get started:

  • Gather comprehensive data on employee compensation, including salaries, bonuses, and benefits.
  • Work with HR and compensation experts to analyze the data. Look for patterns and discrepancies in pay among different demographic groups.
  • If you find disparities, investigate the root causes. It may involve hiring or promotion biases that need to be addressed.
  • Rectify any pay gaps by making salary adjustments, benefits enhancements, or changes in compensation policies.
  • Commit to regular pay equity audits each year to ensure ongoing fairness and equality in compensation.

To learn more about conducting a pay equity audit, read more here.

Provide mentorship and sponsorship opportunities

Latinx and Hispanic employees are underrepresented in leadership positions, accounting for only 4 percent of large U.S. companies' senior executives in 2021.

Mentors and sponsors are essential for career advancement. Leaders can play a huge role in supporting their Latinx and Hispanic employees by:

  • Actively seeking out potential mentors within the organization who can provide guidance and support to Latinx/Hispanic employees.
  • Encouraging Latinx/Hispanic employees to participate in mentorship programs and ensure they have access to resources that can help them find suitable mentors.
  • Sponsoring Latinx/Hispanic employees for leadership opportunities, high-visibility projects, or promotions.

Support Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

Employee Resource Groups are essential for networking, professional growth, and fostering a sense of belonging. Leaders can support Hispanic and Latinx communities by:

  • Providing employees with the resources to build an impactful ERG at the organization.
  • Attending established ERG events and meetings to demonstrate leadership’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Allocating resources and a budget for ERGs to help them organize events, workshops, and programs for Latinx/Hispanic employees.
  • Acting on feedback and suggestions from ERGs, ensuring their voices are heard and valued.

Related: How your organization can set ERG leaders up for success

Provide professional development training and stipends

Investing in employees’ professional development is critical for retaining top talent. When leaders talk to employees about growth plans, they must also provide resources. This includes:

  • Paying for training programs that address specific skill gaps, allowing Latinx/Hispanic employees to excel in their roles and be promoted.
  • Encouraging employees to participate in cross-functional projects to widen their skillset and visibility within the organization.
  • Working with Latinx/Hispanic employees to develop clear career goals and offering guidance on how to achieve them.
  • Providing a budget for Latinx/Hispanic employees to use on conferences, career coaching, or other resources that help them build confidence and develop a strong network.

Offer mental health resources

While employees put more time and energy into their professional development, leaders must support their well-being to prevent overworking and burnout. Companies can protect team members’ mental health by:

  • Addressing workload imbalances to ensure employees are not overwhelmed with excessive tasks. Focus on delegation, prioritization, and respecting boundaries during non-working hours.
  • Providing mental health day policies and wellness weeks to establish a mandatory time off policy.
  • Offering access to Employee Assistance Programs for confidential counseling and support.
  • Normalizing the conversation on mental health by providing company-wide education and encouraging open dialogue where mental health concerns are treated with empathy and understanding.

Creating a workplace that fully supports Latinx and Hispanic employees requires proactive effort and dedication from leaders. By addressing pay inequities, providing sponsorship opportunities, supporting ERGs, offering professional development training, and providing mental health resources, leaders can foster an equitable workplace where all employees feel safe, valued, and supported.

Learn more about how to build an equitable and inclusive workplace.

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