As part of my routine working as an executive at a Multicultural ad agency, I am part of daily discussions with clients or prospects that want to recruit Latinos as potential customers.
However, over the past few months, an unusual pattern has occurred a few times, which made me think we may be witnessing an interesting new cycle in Multicultural Marketing business: corporations that are asking their agencies to work on campaigns targeting Latinos as potential employees.
Faced with a very low unemployment rate, corporations are competing for talent and in a market where Latinos, Asian Americans, and African Americans represent the majority of the workers entering the marketplace, it makes sense that visionary companies have decided to deploy similar marketing strategies regularly adopted to reach for customers to lure these potential employees to their organizations.
For example, HP launched in 2017 the industry acclaimed “Reinvent Mindsets” program, with a series of social media videos, supported by community-based PR support. These efforts covered African Americans, LGBT, Latinos and Women segments based on the fact that these groups are underrepresented in the technology labor force. (full disclosure the ad agency I currently work for, Alma, was responsible for creating HP’s Latino video).
I spoke with Karen Kahn, Chief Communication Officer at HP Inc. and asked her about the reasons HP decided to embark on this initiative and she said:
‘We have an obligation to ensure our workforce reflects the communities we serve, so we had to first look within and recognize that we can do better. This installment of the Reinvent Mindsets film series was inspired by the misconception of what a “Latino job” is and addresses stereotypes of Latino workers, then replaces them with positive truths about professional growth, hard work, and commitment to achievement. Our message with all of our Reinvent Mindsets campaigns is unwavering: HP is hiring and talent is our only criteria.’
However, this is not a phenomenon seen in high-tech companies in Silicon Valley only. Across our society we can observe concerning gaps in recruitment in critical sectors, that may have a negative impact on our economy, like for instance the deficit in truck drivers or nurses in America.
While recruitment advertising always existed, what makes these recent efforts remarkable is that they are borrowing from conventional multicultural advertising & marketing tools to not only reach the Multicultural segment but also connect on a meaningful and emotional way, presenting their organizations as a great place to work. Out of the many best practices I’ve seen from the several projects I’ve been involved with, here are the ones that seem to be a constant on almost every best in class in the marketplace:
1- Community Support: Leading corporations in diversity hiring tend to have an active and continuous presence in the minorities’ communities they focus on and have established programs to give back to these communities, like college scholarships for instance.
It is important to notice that these efforts tend to complement traditional advertising and marketing programs to diverse consumers, not replace them.
2- Role Models & Mentorship: Successful companies that attract diverse talent tend to have various role models in the high-level positions of their organizations and have some coaching or mentorship of diverse young talent in place.
3- Employees Resource Groups: ERGs, as they are known, tend to be a great way to understand your employees’ concerns and listen to their suggestions. Similar to what we see in the consumers’ marketplace, a happy employee can be an effective way to convince potential recruits to join an organization and ERGs are starting to plan an important role in corporation’s diversity recruitment.
4- Take A Stand: We all know that we live in a highly divided society and this fact makes corporations extremely uncomfortable in taking a stand in key social or economic issues, as they are concerned about alienating a significant number of customers. However, it is also known that a significant number of consumers, mainly millennials and Gen Z’s appreciate brands that stand for something that their customers believe is meaningful. Leading companies understand these issues and act according to its core set of beliefs, regardless of potential short-term risks.
According to Dr. Robert Rodriguez, a diversity consultant and author of “Latino Talent: Effective Strategies to Recruit, Retain and Develop Hispanic Professionals,” confirms that minority recruitment marketing efforts are a trend will be seeing more and more in the years to come:
‘Upwardly mobile Latino professionals with a proven track record of high performance and demonstrated leadership capabilities are in high demand. This means they have numerous choices as to where they can work. Those companies that have an employment branding approach that appeals to top Latino talent in a culturally appropriate way will have a competitive advantage in the war for Latino talent. Additionally, companies that are having success in the Hispanic consumer market, but have little to no Latino representation in senior management, run the risk of being seen as exploiting the Latino community. Companies that want to avoid this distinctive are wise to leverage a multicultural approach in their Latino talent acquisition strategies.’
The time has come for CMOs and Human Resources leaders to start to work together and integrate their Multicultural Marketing consumer strategies with their talent acquisition and retention plans, as a successful multicultural strategy may start inside your own company. The Latino workforce can be a great addition to companies and also a great bridge to enhanced Latino customer bases.