Transforming the Hispanic Promise from a pledge to a plan | OP-ED
Four years ago at Davos, the We Are All Human Foundation launched the Hispanic Promise — the first-ever corporate pledge to prepare, hire, promote, retain, celebrate,
MORE IN THIS SECTION
Four years ago at Davos, the We Are All Human Foundation launched the Hispanic Promise — the first-ever corporate pledge to prepare, hire, promote, retain, celebrate, and buy from Hispanics. Since then, nearly 300 companies have signed and 30 Hispanic organizations, representing nearly 10 million Hispanics, are backing it.
Our work with companies these past few years has shown us that the drive to diversify continues to increase every year. But companies are finding that even when the purpose, goodwill and budgets are there, major challenges, gaps and difficulties in building successful DEI programs persist.
About a year ago, we put together a core team of companies and organizations, and asked the University of Chicago to play a role in helping us leverage our knowledge and our collective experience to create a framework that companies can use to activate and support their DEI activities. The new framework adds “teeth” to the Hispanic Promise — a roadmap with goals and metrics, best practices right down to activities that companies can deploy to realize their own unique strategies.
Every company has its own corporate personality and culture, so our intent is not to be proscriptive but rather to offer a full set of resources and expertise to help companies as they take actions to advance diversity and inclusion. In other words, the framework will help companies build achievable goals and then support the objectives with a wealth of resources and tools, as well as a community of peers and DEI experts.
Our organizational principle continues to be influenced by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which provides the discipline of concrete but reachable goals — not meant to intimidate but inspire. We have organized the framework to support the pillars that uphold the Hispanic Promise — and have in the past year, developed two new ones based on real needs.
In looking at DEI holistically, we felt our first pillar had to be “Prepare”. What we keep hearing from companies is how they can’t find people with the right skills or knowledge. Take, for example, AI, which is finding its place among all industry sectors. So we believe that companies need to plan for the future by investing in the Hispanic community. There is a definite link between social impact programs and future potential growth. For example, if we aren’t supporting computer literacy and interest early on, we aren’t developing next generation talent. Presence in the community not only affects a future talent pipeline, we also know that it pays back in both loyalty and profits.
Hiring right now is a perennial concern, which is why our next pillar is “Hire”. Our goal with the framework is to actively cultivate Hispanic talent at all career levels. We are building a pipeline, making sure that recruitment extends to college and graduate schools. We have the ability and the network to make this happen.
The “Promote” pillar is often a source of pain for Latinos. And unattended to becomes a problem of retention for companies, which is the next pillar, “Retain”. Young Latinos who join a company will make decisions on whether they stay or go based on whether they see Latinos rising up the corporate ladder. They aren’t going to complain; they are going to look for opportunities elsewhere. So, promotion and retention are intertwined. The framework accounts for both: creating career pathways and opportunities to advance, while at the same time offering support because we know that people often feel they have been thrown in the deep water not knowing how to swim.
The next pillar is “Celebrate”. Latinos still suffer from invisibility. It is debilitating and devastating and we are tired of not being seen, heard or valued. Tired of having to take multiple jobs to earn a non-Hispanic income. We also know that Latinos feel that they have to hide their Latinidad. Repressing who you are comes at a great human cost. That cost is matched by the cost to the company in loss of engagement, efficiency and long-term commitment. Celebration of Latinos must be both internal — to recognize achievements and increase visibility. But it also must be external, so that we help drive systemic change that increases the positive perception of the Latino community.
The final pillar is “Invest/Buy”. One of the often-neglected pieces in the ecosystem is building a sustainable, diverse supply chain. The good news is that Latinos are hugely entrepreneurial — in fact, today, Latinos lead at building technology startups. Investing in the future of Latino businesses is investing in one’s own company.
For every one of these pillars, we have resources, tools, access to experts and an ongoing community of participants who are sharing their best practices. In addition to the tools, resources and metrics, the Hispanic organizations that are aligned with the Hispanic Promise make it easier for companies to engage with the community, to build new partnerships, to strengthen the whole ecosystem.
Our first Hispanic Promise framework summit for Hispanic Promise signatories and backer organizations took place on March 1st. A morning of presentations was followed by an afternoon of workshops and discussions. We are always driven by data, and this new iteration of the Hispanic Promise elevates the DEI pledge into a real, actionable plan. We feel the importance of the moment — and we feel the excitement of change. This year’s Edelman Hispanic Trust Barometer continues to show that Latinos trust their companies and the NGO/non-profit world to come up with solutions for societal challenges. We believe that the work we are doing creates a win for everyone — the community, Corporate America and our country. Be part of our change.