National Hispanic Heritage Month (NHHM) is an observance that is celebrated annually from September 15 to October 15 to commemorate the rich cultures, histories and valuable contributions of Americans with ancestral roots in Spain, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. As we work toward cultivating workplace cultures of true diversity and inclusivity, it is more important now than ever to recognize this observance at work. Not only is inclusivity the right thing to do, but organizations that are diverse and inclusive are 35% more likely to have a competitive advantage. As we commemorate NHHM, we’re sharing a few facts about the observance and how leaders can welcome diversity into their workplaces all throughout the year.
What is Hispanic Heritage Month?
- Origin: The observance was started by Congress as a one-week celebration in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson. It was then expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to span a month-long period, which was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.
- Date: Many wonder why Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15. In fact, there is significance behind the observance timeframe, dating back to the 1800s. The observance kickoff coincides with the anniversaries of national independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, as each declared independence from Spain on September 15, 1821. Also, just one day later on the 16th, Mexico celebrates its independence, and Chile on the 18th.
- Terminology: It wasn’t until the 1970s that the U.S. government recognized the term ‘Hispanic’ after Mexican-American and Hispanic organizations lobbied the government to gather population data, which led to a new law that mandated the collection and recording of information about U.S. residents from Spanish-speaking countries.
- Celebration: Learning the history and stories from the Hispanic and Latinx communities is a great way to celebrate NHHM, and you can also bring the festivities into the workplace by hosting lunch and learn events to educate the team on Hispanic and Latino terminology while sharing suggestions on how all employees can participate in the observance.
Diversity in the Workplace
There are many ways to promote diversity and inclusion during National Hispanic Heritage Month, and it’s crucial to continue such practices throughout the year. By ensuring that all employees are comfortable speaking up to share their preferences and building teams from diverse backgrounds, businesses are better equipped for success.
Here are just a few ways that diversity in the workplace benefits everyone:
- Employee retention: According to a Glassdoor survey, 76% of job seekers and employees said diversity in the workplace is important when considering a job offer with a company.
- Financial performance: Organizations with 30% women executives were more likely to financially outperform businesses with a lower percent of women executives.
- Generational inclusiveness: In a time where multiple generations are merging to collaborate in the workplace, it’s important to consider the needs of the newest working generation, Gen Z. According to Pew Research Center, Gen Z is more ethnically and racially diverse than prior generations and desires to work for companies that value diversity and social issues.
As we join the nation in celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month, we encourage all workplaces to invite this observance into their workplaces. At Work Shield, cultivating positive work cultures encompasses more than managing and resolving workplace misconduct – it means developing workplaces where all employees are welcomed and celebrated.
Image above found at freepik.