Monthly Archives: December 2009

Happy 2010!

Hard to believe the year and decade are coming to an end. For me, it’s a time of reflection and goal setting so posts will be relatively light until after the new year. I’ll be spending some quality time with the family and working on additional plans for the upcoming year. Hopefully, we’ll be introducing  podcasts and vlog postings soon after 2010 is under way. Best wishes for a safe and happy new year! See you soon.

My Christmas Message: Find Your Purpose

CA09My wife and I often talk about our future plans. Where we want to be five, fifteen, twenty years from now? What are our dreams? For me, many of my dreams have been fulfilled many times over – good health, a loving family, a good education, and a roof over my head. While many of my dreams have come true, there is another piece to the puzzle of life that is just as important to me – Purpose.

Victor Frankl, a Jewish survivor of a Nazi concentration camp, and a psychologist once said, “Without purpose, people have enough to live by, but nothing to live for; they have the means, but no meaning.” Examples of modern day obsession with material gain without meaning?  Bernie Madoff.  I’m convinced that Purpose focused on material things will eventually lead to unhappiness. The icons of success do not compare to whether or not one experiences a meaningful life. Purpose is found, over the long term, through the feeling of rightness inside of ourselves. Continue reading

My Chance to Contribute

Over the last few days, I’ve been editing a manuscript that I’ve been asked to resubmit to a Hispanic business peer reviewed journal. If you’re not familiar with the term “peer reviewed” it’s a process that journals use to ensure the articles they publish represent the best scholarship currently available. When an article is submitted to a peer reviewed journal, the editors send it out to other scholars in the same field to get their opinion on the quality of the scholarship, its relevance to the field, its appropriateness for the journal, etc. Since this is the first time I’ve had to go through this process, it’s been a challenging but learning experience.

Despite the short-term agony, I feel extremely fortunate to be at this point in my life. Growing up, I never dreamed to have earned a doctorate. A colleague who is helping with my editing reminded me the other night that there aren’t many Hispanics that hold a Ph.D or doctorate. “You have to do it.”  He told me to remember this when I felt overwhelmed or less than confident in my “scholarly abilities.” So I took a break from my writing this morning and did a bit of research on the subject of Hispanics and doctorate degrees. Here is what I found (from which I borrow liberally from the NSF website). Continue reading

Still Making the Case Inclusivity

The U.S. workforce is facing a skills shortage that is a threat to the long-term health of our economy. Organizations are experiencing recruitment challenges with its traditional sources of labor. As I’ve noted consistently on this blog, efforts are being made to recruit more Hispanics into the workforce, but with limited success. In the short term, some organizations and industry are filling the skills gap using workers from low wage economies. To meet the challenge of the skills gap the recruitment of Hispanics is no longer simply a nice thing to do; it has become a necessity.

While recruitment remains important, there is a knowledge gap in translating qualifications into employment, and employment into retention. This has been described by the ‘leaky pipeline’ concept. Attraction by itself is not the key to increasing Hispanics in the workforce. Recruitment must be followed by induction of the new employee in order to improve retention levels. Job satisfaction as a result of opportunities and promotion is more likely to retain Hispanic professionals.

The “glass ceiling”, the situation where women and minorities can see, but not reach higher level positions and are prevented from progressing in their careers, still exists in many occupations and industries. As I’ve noted on this blog, there are very few Hispanic chairpersons, CEOs, or COOs in the United States. This ongoing fact is important because it raises the debate about the advancement in the subject of inclusivity, assessing the real barriers faced by Hispanic professionals today and discussing means of redressing the balance to improve inclusivity in organizations. Expanding inclusivity, which includes attracting and retaining more Hispanic professionals in all industry sectors, needs to be a key priority for organizations, particularly those in participating in a global economy.

A skilled Hispanic workforce is emerging. While it is clear that more still needs to be done to fully develop a professional Hispanic workforce, it is clear that there could be many more Hispanics if organizations adopted better recruitment and retention policies now.

Thoughts on the 2009 HACR Inclusion Report

Today the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) released findings of its 2009 Corporate Inclusion Index. As expected, the findings are not positive. Aside from the survey’s conclusion that Hispanic Americans are vastly misrepresented on corporate boards despite accounting for 15% of the U.S. population, there’s this astonishing statement:

Over 70% of Fortune 100 companies did not participate in the survey — and in some cases declined to respond. Yet, nearly 80% of HACR’s current corporate member companies responded. This is significant because it validates HACR’s belief that companies that engage with us are serious about Hispanic inclusion and value its benefits to their “bottom line” and shareholder value.

It’s hard to believe that this is the case when so many of these same organizations tout the importance of diversity and reaching out to under-represented groups. As more and more Hispanic Americans enter the workforce, and more organizations are engaged in supporting the Hispanic talent pipeline, the fact that so many well known organizations refused to participate in this survey is astounding. Hispanics, women and other minorities often feel that attaining similar qualifications, education, and experience still does not make them as successful as their non-minority counterparts; this perceived discrepancy creates a sense of social and organization isolationism. Research consistently demonstrates that minorities perceive unequal access to promotion and leadership opportunities in organizations; the absence of Hispanic representation at the higher levels of organizations cast doubt on an organization’s commitment to diversity.

Despite being the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States, Hispanics have been historically underrepresented on corporate boards and managerial occupations. Traditionally, it is these levels of leadership which provide new professionals a career support system. Hispanics and other minorities have the most to gain from this opportunity; once formed Hispanics are known to maintain these networks. Having these social ties increases the chances minorities will acquire a mentor to help support and manage their career related decisions. A broad network also enhances professional opportunity. The lack of transparency by some of these organizations in this regard is certainly disappointing.

College Recruitment After the Storm

Every now and then something comes along that changes an entire industry or brings about a new age. The daily employment news is not good. Although we read and hear the economy is getting better, there is a definite lag between improving bottom lines and increased hiring. Despite improvement in some areas, the situation is meager at best. However, the current conditions do provide an opportunity to reflect, review, and adjust college recruitment strategies in what promises to be a very different post recession landscape.

Many of the jobs that have been lost will not be coming back. What impact does this have on your overall recruitment strategy? While some college graduates may be desperate for a job now, how will this economic downturn impact the confidence of those college students graduating in a few years? Or more importantly, the current ones you’ve already hired? What will be the psychological scars left behind once economic conditions improve? There are a lot of questions that need to be considered. Why? Because most organizations will pick up where things left off prior to the economic slowdown. There’s an assumption the same strategies will work despite the change in the environment. Continue reading

Tough Challenges for (Hispanic) Grads

It’s an uncertain time. College students entered their academic careers expecting to launch a new career and a new life four years later. Unexpectedly, they find themselves in the thick of an economic environment that has not lived up to their hopes. For Hispanic graduates, it makes an already challenging journey even more demanding. Cultural, economic, and social barriers are always present. With the latest PEW Hispanic Research Center study showing Hispanics are still likely to be in prison, and twice as likely to have ties to gangs, it’s hard not to become discouraged. However, there are always examples of better things to come. Hispanics are emerging as contributors to a workforce that is in desperate need of new talent and leadership. While the PEW Hispanic Research findings were a bit sobering, the study also found that many young Hispanics are also satisfied with their lives, and value highly education and career success. Today, more and more Hispanic college students are attending and graduating from college increasing their representation in the labor force. They are also contributing to the economic sustainability of regions hit hard by the recession. It’s these skills – determination, commitment, loyalty, and long-term vision that make Hispanic college graduates excellent contributors to any organization.

Congratulations Graduates!

This morning I noted that my alma mater, the University of Texas of El Paso, will be graduating its largest class ever 2,275 students. Although that may not seem like a large number, consider there were only about 700 graduates when I went through commencement in 1990 with my undergraduate degree. Graduate numbers have tripled since then, and it’s an impressive increase over the course of two decades. Also consider that Hispanics at UTEP make up over 70% of the student body. The El Paso Community College system is also graduating about 1,400 students this weekend – again many of which are Hispanic students that will be going on to 4 year institutions. Multiply this number by the 224 Hispanic Serving Institutions around the United States (not including community colleges) and you can begin to see that Hispanic college graduates are growing in numbers. Yes, there is still a long way to go before Hispanic college graduates are graduating at the same levels as non-Hispanic whites, but progress is being made! Happy graduation!

More to Come

I’ve been teaching a few classes, getting ready for a few presentations, and edting a journal paper so and my lack of postings is related to time management not continued interest! I’ll be getting back to consistent posting starting today — I do enjoying writing this blog — however it does take a lot of work to be a blogger!