Over the past two years it’s become clear that work is no longer a place, but an experience that binds employees and leaders whether working remote, in-person or a combination of both. Employees around the world have embraced flexibility and hybrid work schedules, while leaders still crave the familiarity of having employees come into the office and working together in person. In short, there’s a disconnect between employers and employees about what constitutes productivity, how to maintain autonomy while ensuring accountability, the benefits of flexibility and the role of the office. And in an unpredictable economy, that disconnect is only growing wider.
At the same time, the demographics of the U.S. labor force are also changing. According to McKinsey, Hispanics and Latinxs currently make up 18.4 percent of the U.S. population and 17.3 percent of the U.S. labor force, a share forecast to rise more than 30 percent by 2060. As significant contributors to the labor force, it’s ever so important for leaders to understand the needs and motivations of Latinx employees.
To bridge the gap between employers and employees, a new approach is needed that recognizes work is no longer just a place but an experience that needs to transcend time and space so employees can stay engaged and connected no matter where they are working. Furthermore, it’s important to understand the fundamental nuances that shape the Hispanic and Latinx community—one that is passionate and driven by a collectivistic culture where group activities are dominant, responsibility is shared, and accountability is collective.
To help leaders navigate the new realities of work, the Work Trend Index Pulse Report points to three urgent pivots leaders should make to bridge the divide and help empower and energize Hispanic and Latinx employees:
- End productivity paranoia: 90% of Hispanic and Latinx employees report they are productive at work, yet 79% of Hispanic and Latinx Business Decision Makers (BDMs) say the shift to hybrid work has made it challenging to have confidence their employees are being productive. These findings show that leaders need to trust in their employees in order to bridge the divide that has emerged. Leaders also need to create clarity and alignment around company goals, eliminate busywork that doesn’t support those goals and listen to their people — only 47% of Hispanic and Latinx employees in the U.S. (vs. 48% U.S. employees) can confidently say that their company solicits employee feedback at least once a year – meaning that over half of companies may rarely hear about their Hispanic and Latinx employees’ experiences at work.
- Embrace the fact that people come in for each other: Hispanic and Latinx people originate from a collectivist culture, where harmony and cooperation are revered. It’s no surprise then, that 71% of Hispanic and Latinx employees say they need a better reason to go into the office besides company expectations — and 82% of Hispanic and Latinx employees in the US say that the promise of socializing with coworkers would fulfill that longing for connection. Seventy-five percent of Hispanic and Latinx employees are also motivated by rebuilding team bonds. Digital communication will be crucial to keep people connected inside and out the office — both employees and leaders rank communication as the number one most critical skill needed to be successful in their roles this year. Communication is the road to connection.
- Re-skill to re-recruit your employees: Growth opportunities are vital to Hispanic and Latinx employees, who want the best future possible for themselves and their families. According to the data, 64% of Hispanic and Latinx employees in the US believe the best way for them to develop their skills is to change companies; however, 67% of Hispanic and Latinx employees in the US say that they would stay longer at their company if it was easier to change jobs internally and this number rises for people managers in the US (71%) and BDMs (79%), revealing a powerful retention tool for leadership. Support is a leading desire among employees, with 85% of Hispanic and Latinx employees agreeing that they could benefit from more learning and development support (vs. 78% U.S. employees). Fostering connections between employers and employees is the first brick in bridging the employer-employee disconnect.
To address these challenges, Microsoft is expanding its employee experience platform Microsoft Viva to help companies deliver an employee experience optimized for the way people now work. To learn more about the several new and enhanced capabilities coming to Viva visit the Official Microsoft Blog and Microsoft 365 Blog.