Why Your Company Should Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Would it be perceived as discrimination by non-hispanic employees if your company celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month? Discover what HR experts think.



Navigating the global marketplace means understanding the rich array of cultures that shape it. For business owners, the challenge often lies in striking the right balance: How do we honor the vibrant Hispanic heritage without overshadowing other cultures?

As the influence of the Hispanic community grows, savvy business leaders recognize the immense potential in embracing this culture. Let's uncover the essence of Hispanic Heritage Month and learn how, with the right HR strategies, your company can not only celebrate it effectively but also amplify diversity all year round.

If you're struggling with cultural inclusivity in your workplace, Stratus HR can guide you through and ensure diversity without discrimination. Contact us today for expert HR solutions.

Should your company celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?

I recently heard a business owner admit they were afraid of marginalizing non-Hispanic employees if their company were to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. He continued to share concerns of reverse discrimination by focusing on just one culture.

This got me thinking: could celebrating one culture and not another constitute discrimination?

Could a cultural celebration be considered discriminatory?

While you want to steer clear of potential discrimination claims, it depends on the context and intent behind the celebration. In most cases that involve celebrations, employee goodwill and sentiment far outweigh any legal concerns, but here are some factors to consider:

1. Intent

Discrimination typically involves harmful or prejudiced intent. If the intent behind celebrating one culture is to exclude or denigrate another culture, it could be considered discriminatory. However, if the intent is to appreciate and learn from one culture without any negative or exclusionary motives, it may not be discriminatory.

2. Context

The context in which the celebration occurs matters. For example, if a workplace or educational institution consistently celebrates one culture while ignoring or actively discouraging the celebration of other cultures, it could be seen as discriminatory.

3. Equal Opportunities

Ensuring that all cultures are given equal opportunities for celebration and recognition is important. Discrimination can occur if one culture is consistently favored over others in terms of resources, funding, or visibility.

4. Impact

Consider the impact of the celebration on individuals and communities. If the celebration of one culture leads to feelings of exclusion, marginalization, or harm among members of other cultures, it may be seen as discriminatory.

5. Cultural Sensitivity

It's essential to be culturally sensitive when celebrating or appreciating any culture. Insensitivity or cultural appropriation can lead to harm and be considered discriminatory.

6. Inclusivity

Promoting inclusivity and diversity by celebrating a variety of cultures can help mitigate any perception of discrimination. If efforts are made to ensure that multiple cultures are recognized and respected, it's less likely to be seen as discriminatory.

At the end of the day, if your intent is to exclude other cultures while celebrating or only focusing on one, then it could be discriminatory. Your best approach is to inclusively highlight and celebrate multiple cultures throughout the year.

Why your company should celebrate Hispanic Heritage

On the flip side, if your company does not currently do much to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, you may want to step up your efforts.

1. Hispanic and Latino cultures growth is projected to explode

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Hispanic population in the United States is expected to triple in size by 2050. The last shift in population of this magnitude occurred when women entered the workforce during World War II. 

Being at the forefront of this growth by recruiting and celebrating the Hispanic culture will help your company appeal to both an able-bodied workforce and an exploding population of potential customers.

2. Diversity helps your business

Individual differences provide a uniqueness to your organization that fosters innovative ideas and creative solutions. This uniqueness also helps your company appeal to a variety of audiences. 

Diversity, equity, and inclusiveness have also been recognized as emerging trends and benefits to help attract and retain key talent. In other words, expanding your diversity efforts will help your company have greater revenue, higher employee retention, more innovation, and a positive brand reputation. 

3. Celebrations promote education and awareness

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage month will provide an opportunity for employees to learn about Hispanic culture, history, and traditions. This can lead to greater cultural awareness and sensitivity among coworkers.

4. Activities foster team building

Celebratory events or activities can bring employees together and promote team building. As you involve input from Hispanic and Latinx employees to ensure celebrations are respectful and meaningful, sharing cultural experiences can foster a sense of unity and camaraderie among colleagues.

Please note that some employees may feel pressured to participate in events or activities even if they don't want to. Remember to make participation voluntary and avoid making anyone feel uncomfortable.

How to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at Your Company

For simple diversity inclusion ideas of various cultures, your company could do any of the following:

Multicultural potluck lunch 

    • Start a monthly (or quarterly) cultural potluck lunch where the company chooses to purchase or contribute towards the main course and employees bring side dishes. A different culture can be highlighted from month to month.

Conversation starters

    • Kickstart a team meeting or company lunch with ice breaker questions like, “Which is your dominant eye?” or “If you had to teach a class of 12-year-olds, what would you teach?” or “What is your go-to breakfast when you’re in a rush?” 

“Who am I?” game

    • Have everyone complete an informal survey with 5 little-known facts about them and take the first few minutes of a staff or department meeting to read the facts. See who can guess the mystery person. 

Book club

    • Assign a different employee each month to choose a book that club members read and discuss during lunch at the end of the month. Books can be picked with diverse themes in mind. 

As your team learns about others, they will naturally gain perspective and openness to diversity and inclusion. 

Stratus HR Can Help with Training and Resources

Promoting diversity in the workplace sends a message that your organization values different cultural backgrounds, which adds to your bottom line in various ways. As you celebrate Hispanic Heritage month, make a proactive effort to learn about a variety of cultures to create a more inclusive workplace overall.

Stratus HR has certified experts to help with setting up diversity training and other inclusive initiatives and resources. Contact your Stratus HR expert today to help you get started. 

Not a current Stratus HR client? Book a free consultation and our team will contact you shortly.

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