Hispanic Heritage Month occurs from September 15 – October 15, and it provides an opportunity for organizations to highlight the richness of Hispanic cultures and celebrate contributions and achievements of the Hispanic community. Taking time to honor Hispanic heritage is one way to boost employee engagement, learning, and understanding, which are all important in an increasingly diverse workforce. We wanted to share some ideas to celebrate Hispanic heritage throughout September and beyond.
These internal efforts can be coordinated relatively easily and at low cost:
- Cultural Awareness Campaigns & Employee Spotlights: Through the company newsletter or social media posts, share facts, stories, and achievements related to Hispanic culture. Highlight achievements and contributions of HIspanic employees within the organization.
- Cultural Events and Celebrations: Host Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, where you can showcase traditional music, dance, art, and cuisine from different Hispanic countries. Some simple and fun ideas are a luncheon featuring employees’ favorite foods or a Zumba class.
- Interview with the CEO: Have the CEO record an interview with a group of Hispanic employees, allowing them to share a few of their favorite traditions and ways to honor their culture. Share this interview with the overall organization.
With the support of leadership and connections in the community, here are some other ways you can feature Hispanic culture throughout the month:
- Art and Exhibitions: Display Hispanic art, artifacts, and exhibitions in common areas such as coffee centers and break rooms to promote cultural awareness and understanding.
- Educational Workshops and Seminars: Host workshops and seminars that focus on Hispanic history, culture, and achievements. Invite speakers, historians, or community leaders to share their insights and experiences.
- Collaborative Projects: Collaborate with Hispanic artists, musicians, writers, and other creatives for projects that celebrate Hispanic culture, such as art installations, music performances, or storytelling events.
- Participate in community events celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Having a booth or a tent at a community event allows employees to engage differently with the community, in a fun and less formal setting. It is a great way to enhance your organization’s visibility within this community.
Honoring Hispanic heritage is not just a one-time event; it should be a continuous effort to have the most positive impact. A responsible multicultural effort not only includes recognizing and celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, but also taking active steps to elevate the Hispanic community and including them in your organization’s ongoing initiatives.
These options will require the buy-in and support of leadership, but they can make a tremendous impact on the culture of the organization.
- Diverse Representation: Diverse representation in leadership positions and decision-making roles helps promote inclusivity and provides diverse perspectives.
- Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Establish an Employee Resource Group focused on Hispanic heritage. ERGs provide a platform for employees to connect, share experiences, and organize cultural events. ERGs can also help establish priorities for engaging Hispanic communities, as they will have first-hand knowledge of what their community would find most valuable.
- Diversity and Inclusion Training: Educate employees about Hispanic culture, heritage, and the importance of creating an inclusive workplace.
- Language and Communication: Use bilingual communication materials or incorporate Spanish into internal communications as a way to show appreciation for the Hispanic community’s linguistic heritage.
These options show a financial commitment to the Hispanic community inside the organization:
- Pay differential: Spanish is an additional, valuable skill, especially in markets or roles that interact heavily with Hispanic customers. This shows your employees their additional skills are valued and demonstrates to your customers that your organization is committed to serving them in the best way possible.
- Offer tuition assistance for employees who are interested in learning Spanish.
Here are some ideas for community outreach to further show support for the Hispanic community:
- Scholarship Programs: Create scholarship programs aimed at supporting Hispanic students pursuing education in relevant fields, demonstrating the organization’s commitment to education and diversity.
- Partnerships with Hispanic Organizations: Collaborate with local Hispanic organizations, nonprofits, or community groups to support initiatives and events that promote Hispanic culture and awareness.
- Support Hispanic-Owned Businesses: Partner with or support Hispanic-owned businesses in your community through vendor relationships, sponsorships, or collaborations.
- Volunteer Initiatives: Encourage employees to participate in volunteer initiatives that benefit Hispanic communities, such as language tutoring, mentorship programs, or community outreach. Offering volunteer time off is a great way to encourage this, but it’s also important to ensure employees know what opportunities are available. They don’t always know where to start or where to look.
Your organization might not be prepared to tackle all these ideas at once. Selecting a few to start with and leaning on the knowledge and experience of members of your organization who are part of the Hispanic community is a great start. As you learn more about what is important to this group, you can expand your multicultural efforts and set your organization up for success and a lasting positive impact on your community.
Honoring Hispanic heritage should be a continuous effort that reflects a genuine commitment to diversity, inclusion, and cultural appreciation within the organization. Engaging with the Hispanic community respectfully and authentically will create a meaningful impact.
About the Author
Jenny Hipple, SHRM-CP, PHR
Co-Director, Communications, HR Virginia