Ten ways to attract and retain Latinos
The buying power of Latinos in the USA currently stands at more than US$800 billion, a figure which is set to rise to more than US$1 trillion by 2008, according to Dr Robert Rodriguez of Capella University, who offers ten ways to acquire and retain the lucrative Latino customer.
According to Rodriguez, the latest US Census data shows that Latinos are the country's fastest-growing ethnic group, also representing the largest minority demographic. There are some 42 million Latinos in the United States, which represents approximately 1 in 8 residents. Rodriguez predicts that by 2008, 1 in every 5 citizens will be Latino. But, he says, many businesses risk losing out on this growing demographic shift, and some clear guidance is needed to help them respond fully.
Employees and customers According to Rodriguez, the questions that need to be answered are: "What should businesses do to attract and retain Latino employees?" and "How can businesses build brand awareness and loyalty among potential Latino customers?" Rodriguez (who is chairman of the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, and faculty chair in the School of Business at Capella University) has studied what works and what doesn't work in attracting both Latino employees and customers.
"It's hard to market effectively to Latinos if you don't have any Latinos in your marketing department," Rodriguez explained. "Latinos tend to be brand-conscious and brand-loyal when it comes to making purchasing decisions, so organisations with a strong employment brand (reputation) are likely to benefit."
Ten-point strategy The following are the top 10 ways Rodriguez says businesses can go about attracting and retaining not only Latino employees but ultimately Latino customers:
- Employers need to understand the complexity of the Latino demographic and must develop tailored approaches in reaching out to different Latino communities. Never assume what appeals to one segment of the Latino population will work with another.
- Leverage Latino employee affinity groups for recruiting purposes. The word-of-mouth and connections of existing Latino employees are powerful assets.
- Learn about and be sensitive to the intricacies of various aspects of Latino culture. For example, employers should know the differences between the terms Latino, Hispanic, Chicano and Baricua.
- Seek out and consult with Latino leaders in your communities. Again, the positive word-of-mouth these leaders can foster and the connections they have are invaluable.
- Show that while you value education and ethnicity, you still reward your employees based on their performance.
- Place talented Latinos in senior positions. It sends a very strong signal.
- Get involved in the local Latino community. Sponsor events, celebrate holidays, be very visible and supportive.
- Partner with academic institutions with high Latino student populations. It's never too early to show your support and build visibility among the next generation of Latino professionals.
- Human Resources should partner with Marketing to ensure consistent messages and leverage every opportunity to reach out to Latinos.
- Partner with Latino associations and professional groups to build awareness among Latino communities and build strong networking ties.
The issue of building an employment brand that appeals to Latinos is one that Rodriguez explores in the Human Resources Strategy course he teaches at Capella University.