If you recruit and hire correctly, as we have discussed in the last two articles in this series, retaining your Latino workers will be a slam-dunk or, as our soccer loving people would say - gooooooal! No hay problema, as we say.
Retention of your Latino workers is directly related to the level of trust you have developed with your Latino associates.
If your people trust you, then they will be loyal to you. If they are loyal to you, they will stay with you. When people are very loyal to management or ownership, turnover is always very, very low. We all know, as business owners, the high cost of turnover in additional training, increased exposure to accidents with new employees, costs of recruiting and hiring, and more.
So, here's the equation: Turnover = Lack of trust.
When you have low levels of trust, you with have high levels of turnover. When you have high levels of trust, you will have very low levels of turnover.
The question, then, is this: How do you develop trust with the Latino person?
Here's the answer - you develop trust by telling people you are going to do something, then doing what you say. Of course, it is very important that you do things for people that they value.
Something that may be important to you may not be important to another person or group. For example, July 4 probably is an important date for you, while September 16 is probably a more important date for your Mexican workers, since this is their Independence Day. Watching the Super Bowl may be important to you, but it's likely watching Mexico play in the World Cup Soccer Tournament will be much more important to your Mexican workers.
I frequently get e-mails from readers of my columns telling me, "You need to teach the Latinos to assimilate into the American culture." I believe that Latinos should assimilate and respect established tradition in this country. I also believe that if you are going to recruit and employ people from another culture, it only makes sense to respect their culture!
The whole point of understanding culture is to value what other people value, thus building a stronger sense of unity and trust.
Again, trust breeds loyalty, which breeds very low turnover, and trust is gained when we consistently do the things that we say we are going to do, as long as the things we do actually matter to someone else.
Building LoyaltyI do not gain trust, nor do you, simply by giving nice gifts or bonuses to people. We gain trust by doing and giving things that matter to people after having promised to do or give these things.
Let's take, for example, the whole idea of giving bonuses to your people. If you have worked much with Latinos, you will notice that we are not into the big one-time bonuses as much as the American people. Latinos in this country have been slow to catch onto the value of 401(k) plans or other types of pension plans. Latinos, generally speaking, are not people who save money to the degree as others in the North American society. This is due primarily to the fact that many of our family members back home are in desperate need of financial help.
Many Latinos, especially your laborers, need the money now. I love to see American companies move away from the annual bonus with Latinos to a quarterly, or even better yet, a monthly bonus. Not only do they need the money now, it gives you an opportunity to consistently do something you say you are going to do that is of value to them. If you consistently do this, you will gain more and more trust.
When you gain high levels of trust, what else do you gain? By now, you know the answer - you gain loyalty. Of course, when you gain loyalty you have great retention of your workforce.
Allow me to mention a few more things that really matter to most Latinos, and then I'll follow up with some examples of procedures some business owners have implemented that have served to create high levels of trust. These business owners have significantly reduced and, in some cases, completely eliminated turnover, and they have a waiting list of people who want to work for them.
Of course, I'm generalizing here, but some of the things that matter most to most Latinos include mom, children, country, major holidays, music, religion, soccer (especially for those from Mexico, Central America, and South America), and baseball (especially for those from Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic).
Here are a few examples of how you can develop trust with Latinos being sensitive to these needs. This coming summer, several Latin American soccer teams are being represented in the World Cup Soccer Tournament, including Mexico, Costa Rica and Argentina, among others. If your employees are big soccer fans, you could promise in advance to set up a big-screen television to telecast the big games. This would be a wonderful gift to them that shows you care about what they care about. Make sure you tell them beforehand so you gain some trust.
I have a friend in Dallas who each year hands out telephone calling cards to his workers on Mother's Day in their country. In the morning, he says, "Call your mother on me today." He encourages them to call their moms before heading off to the jobsite.
This same man, after hearing me talk about how fathers are not typically elevated in our society, instituted a special function every Father's Day just for the kids and their dads to recognize their fathers. He shows them visually by letting them get in company trucks with their father and really talks up how important their father is in their lives. This man gets it. He not only has extremely low turnover, he always has people waiting to work for his company.
What you do is only limited by your personal creativity and your desire to connect with your people. I can tell you this: When you have trust, you have loyalty, and when you have loyalty you have very little, if any, turnover.