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3 Ways to Lose Your High Potential Latinas

Are you making these mistakes after hiring those high potential Latinas? Would you like tips on how to identify these high potential employees? Read on!

It happens so often it’s painful. A high potential Latina goes through a relatively short period of unbridled excitement about her new job, and after exceeding all her boss’ expectations, she does a 180 and looks for the door. You can’t help but ask, what the heck?

Mistake 1- Breaking promises to high potential Latinas

The story goes something like this. A high potential Latina, let’s call her Arlene, is hired to fulfill certain duties. After awhile, her boss, Henry, realizes she’s really good at her job and he gives her increasingly larger responsibilities. She’s excited, steps up to the plate and produces outstanding results in a short period of time.

3 ways to lose your High potential Latinas. Read on to find out how to identify them!

You may be surrounded by high potential Latinas.

Arlene invests long hours at work not only because she loves what she does but also because Henry told her that when her colleague, Tony, leaves in six months for another position, she will be promoted.

The six months come, Tony leaves, and Henry tells Arlene that he has decided that the results she produces are very hard to come by, therefore she needs to remain in her position. They will hire someone else to fulfill Tony’s job. Come again?

But wait, Arlene surely got a salary bump, right? Producing such great results and all… Nope. Not a dime. Zip.

Disillusioned and feeling undervalued, unable to make sense of what happened, Arlene decides to look for another job where her “unparalleled contributions” are appreciated and compensated. But most importantly, a place with a clear career path.

Mistake 2 – Not seeing a high potential Latina as a high potential employee

Yes, unfortunately, this happens quite often as well. You’re desperately looking for those unique gems to create a strong talent pipeline but inadvertently overlook the high potential Latina employee staring you in the eye. Why? Because she (or her resume) doesn’t look like they have the qualities of a leader. My question is: are you looking closely enough?

Let me give you an example. Daysi was the first in her family to go to college and she inspired, motivated, and supported her two younger sisters to do the same. She studied aviation administration at CUNY (City University of New York,) founded an organization for women in aviation at her college, did internships in aviation and at my non-profit organization, Latinos in College. She worked for JetBlue and for an aviation services company at La Guardia Airport before starting a career in retail at Target and now at Macy’s. She has a very unusual background to work in retail and you could be fooled into thinking she’s jumping around. Or you might underestimate her, because she didn’t go to a top tier school.

Are you making these 3 mistakes after hiring those high potential Latinas? Read on to find out!

High potential Latinas may have unusual backgrounds. Photo credit: Galleryhip.com

But believe me, you’d regret overlooking Daysi as the high potential Latina with all of the leadership qualities you seek. See, when you dig a little deeper, you realize this is a young woman committed to her community, who always goes above and beyond the call of duty both in her personal and professional lives.

Daysi thinks outside the box, is solutions oriented, has an enviable ability to network with high-level people, and is unusually open to feedback. She knows what it means to make do with few resources and how to prepare for things not working the way you expect them to. In her early thirties, she has assumed more responsibility than a lot of people will in their entire lives. Her challenging life-circumstances have built her resilience, grit, and hopeful outlook on life. No, you don’t want to lose your Daysis.

Mistake 3 – Pigeonholing Latinas

In a way, this mistake is connected to the previous one. If you pigeonhole Latinas, you’ll hardly see their high potential, right?

What I’d like to propose, is that you might be assigning your high potential Latina employees to areas that you believe they’re well-suited for when, in fact, you’re just following stereotypes for Latinas. Like customer facing or support positions, event planning, and so on. It’s as if you couldn’t imagine an Indian employee anywhere but in the tech department. What happens when that employee is actually a brilliant operations person?

You run the same risk with high potential Latinas. Pigeonhole them and you miss out on their real potential for your company. So it’s smart to keep yourself tuned into your subconscious biases and ask questions.

Supporting the Red Shoe Movement, students from @SLU_AphaRho and @SLU1987

Supporting the Red Shoe Movement, students from @SLU_AphaRho and @SLU1987

When you notice that one of your employees does something brilliantly outside of her job description, explore. Is this something you love to do? How come you’re so good at it? Do you do this in your spare time? If you’re able to connect that amazing skill with a position, she’ll do much better than if you keep her in the box you put her in.

Take a look and you’ll start seeing high potential Latinas all around you. Just keep in mind that quite often their backgrounds, resumes, or schools probably won’t look like your more typical high potential. But digging a bit deeper will unveil a treasure trove of talent in your own backyard.

Meanwhile, take a look at how to ignite your team’s fire!!

Discover how to ignite your team's fire with the RSM Memberships!

Ignite your team’s fire with the RSM Memberships

Old Tactics for Retaining Talent Don’t Work Anymore

If you want the definitive answer to retaining talent, you must figure out how to engage employees. Read about the consequences and how to avoid them.

Jess (40) had been working for many years in sales and marketing at several large communications companies. It was interesting meeting people and attending networking events, and to tell you the truth, she was pretty good at it. But love it? She did not.

Awesome Mondays. I love my job. It's Monday Quote

A great way to know you have engaged employees is finding out how much they love Mondays.

In the past she had turned down offers for promotions because she didn’t want the added responsibilities. Her last job, a large bilingual media platform, was no different. Intent on retaining talent, her boss felt lost at her refusal when he offered her a promotion that came with a substantial salary increase. He knew that rule number one in the “how to engage employees” manual was to offer them growth opportunities. So here he was, doing what he was expected to do and failing miserably at retaining a kind of expertise that was hard to come by. What was the problem?

Nowadays retaining talent involves much more than following traditional rules

Yup. The old rules don’t apply any more. If you’re really interested in engaged employees that lead to retaining talent, and particularly women and people with diverse backgrounds, you have to look beyond the obvious. (You can also read What is Employee Engagement.) Throwing around what may seem to you, as a “great promotion” or a “wonderful growth opportunity” is not how to engage employees effectively. Why? Because if Jess is not interested in sales and marketing, she will probably have no inclination to invest emotional and intellectual resources in that field. She’ll probably do what she needs to get by, or even to reach middle management. But that’s it. If she doesn’t find a modicum of honest interest in the space, she won’t go as far as you envision her going.

The question is: Should her boss continue to fund sales and marketing courses for Jess in hopes of turning her around? Or should he rather find out what excites her so he can help accelerate her career growth in a different area? The latter is much likelier to result in retaining the talent you can’t afford to lose.

Racing in sneakers? Anybody can do that. Ways to engage employees and retain talent. Read on!

If retaining talent is at the top of your list, start by valuing the talent of your female employees.

Here’s what happened with Jess — When the “how to engage talent” question is ignored.

Unhappy at work and not sure what to do about it, Jess attended a few Red Shoe Movement Signature events in search for what interested her. She participated in our mutual mentoring circles and used the occasion to explore her motivations and aspirations. It wasn’t long before she realized she wanted to be a lawyer. She would still love to work in the communications industry but not in the sales or marketing functions. So she went back to school while holding a part time job in the communications department of a small law firm. She also signed up for the RSM Step Up Program so she could continue to strengthen her soft and hard skills.

Fuel Your Employees Career Growth

RSM Step Up Plus
Fuel Your Employees Career Growth

Could this outcome have been avoided?

Well, when it comes to Jess going back to school to seek a law degree at 40, that’s obviously something she needed to do. What could’ve been avoided is for her organization to lose her in the process. They could’ve offered her a part time job in the company’s legal department while she finished school. And once she passed the bar exam, she could have rejoined her company as a full-time lawyer.

The way things worked out, several companies lost the chance of retaining employees as valuable as Jess’ for sticking to a book of rules that no longer applies.

Why are women bosses bitchy? The shocking answer

There has been plenty written about awful women bosses. Time to turn the table and focus on how employees behave with a woman boss!

Type of issues women bosses and men bosses are asked to deal with

R&J is a large consulting firm with two managing partners, John and Leticia, and several hundred associates. Leticia is regularly approached by associates with the following types of situations:

“Rachel and I share the same admin and Rachel is overusing her. So every time I need something, the admin is busy working for Rachel.”

“I’m very angry at Peter having called my client without asking me first. I had to find out from my client! Imagine my embarrassment.”

“Every time I try to reserve the conference room, Margaret or Ernest ‘coincidentally’ need it for the same time. This is unacceptable!”

John is regularly approached by associates with these kinds of situations:

“I’d like to discuss with you a strategy for client X so we can nail that account.”

“Let’s talk about how to deal with the hiring issue that client Y has brought up. I think we can help them with that.”

“I have an idea for a new service we can offer that can take the firm to a whole new level.”

 

The Devil Wears Prada, women bosses quote

The Devil Wears Prada, women bosses quote

 

In other words, Leticia is more often than not consulted on emotional, internal (or external) fights and expected to help employees resolve their personal problems. John, on the other hand, is mostly approached on business-related issues.

The reality experienced by women bosses

This distinction is pretty clear at R&J because there are two managing partners, one of each gender. But this is exactly what many, many women bosses experience in the workplace. They are faced with an expectation to respond like sympathetic mothers when employees, who behave as toddlers, come to them crying foul. Could it be possible that when a woman boss is not willing to put up with the kind of behavior she’s almost expected to tolerate she’s called a bitch?

If you expect me to solve your personal squabbles rather than lead, you can call me a bitch. Quote.

Employees approach men and women bosses differently. Could this be the reason women are often called names?

The topic of awful women bosses and the appellatives they are called, from “a bitch” to “too bossy,” has been in the media for many years. Movies such as Working Girl and The Devil Wears Prada have contributed to etching the stereotype in our collective unconscious, making it even harder to eradicate.

I admit that there are some women bosses who could use a good dose of self-examination and modulation of their leadership styles. Just as there are plenty of men bosses who could benefit from the same. Yet I notice that we seldom, if ever, take a look at how differently employees behave with men and women bosses and what their expectations are of each gender.

Evaluating your behavior towards women bosses

I know it’s hard to admit that you are misbehaving at work. But, if we are to move away from stereotyping women bosses as bitchy, may I suggest that we start by exploring employees’ behavior at work? You can start by taking a thorough look at your own behavior towards your men and women bosses. Ask yourself the following:

  •  Do you approach men and women bosses with the same kind of issues?
  • Do you expect your women bosses to be more empathetic towards you?
  • Do you use the same type of emotional intensity when you approach men and women bosses?
  • Do you use similar language to express your concerns, ideas, problems?

    Before you criticize a woman giver her the benefit of the doubt, Women Bosses quote

    We frequently don’t give women bosses the benefit of the doubt.

Next time, before you call your boss a bitch or you jump at the opportunity to call any woman boss or leader names, take a deep breath and give her the benefit of the doubt. Could it be that she’s not accepting the unwritten expectation that she should be empathetic all the time? Could it be that she expects to be treated with the same deference that male leaders are treated in the organization?

What Is Employee Engagement, Really

What is employee engagement? It is the alliteration du jour among business circles. It has been lauded as the solution to talent management and profitability challenges all in one. Why? The equation goes like this: Engaged employees equal higher corporate metrics.

So, what is employee engagement, anyway? Although there are several descriptions that point to the same idea, this is my preferred definition of employee engagement (courtesy of Aon/Hewitt): “Engaged employees invest their discretionary effort in the right behaviors to achieve future business results.”

What is employee engagement? It is the alliteration du jour among business circles. It has been lauded as the solution to talent management and profitability challenges all in one. Why? The equation goes like this: Engaged employees equal higher corporate metrics.

Since the enactment of employee engagement as the secret sauce to organizational nirvana, there has been a rush to implement initiatives to increase the number of engaged employees across industries and regions. Phrases like, “organizational restructuring,” “empowering line employees” and “meeting employees’ core needs” capture the essence of the advice given by gurus in the field.

Employee engagement statistics tell the story

Employee engagement statistics results are mixed. Depending on how and where you look, employee engagement statistics range from 13% to 60%. This wide variance underscores the urgency to pin down the moving target that is grooming and retaining engaged employees.

What is employee engagement? A paradox

It might seem counterintuitive that the short answer to the question what is employee engagement is two words: a paradox. While programs to increase the number of engaged employees in organizations have the best of intentions, a blind spot undermines their efforts: The inconsistency between what is communicated and what is fostered. If this blind spot is not kept in check, the level of engaged employees will stall or even decrease due to toxic competition, mistrust and complacency.

If your organization is looking to strengthen its employee engagement statistics, consider the suggestions below to fine-tune your strategy.

What is employee engagement? Employee engagement statistics show it is a critical way to improve ROI

What is employee engagement? Employee engagement statistics show it is a critical way to improve ROI

Shift from a competitive to a co-opetitive mindset

Co-opetition describes a practice used by companies in similar markets to collaborate in growth-oriented activities such as joint research and development or market research. The end result is the creation of a higher value for all involved rather than the outcomes achieved had they opted to compete in the traditional sense of the word. Let’s look at the rewards and recognition program to test this suggestion.

Currently, this type of program —that aims to acknowledge an employee exemplifying the values of an organization— reinforces an individualistic, win-lose culture. Not only does it recognize one person out of many, but the system might also condition employees to hyper focus on seeking out awards without any regard for the company’s values.

How about restructuring the rewards and recognition program to not only acknowledge the individual employee but also those who nominated her? Expanding the process to include the nominators—and indirectly their supervisors—would add more substance to the process and could jumpstart the shift to a more collective approach to recognizing performance.

A sustainable, measurable way to attract, engage and promote your talent.

A sustainable, measurable way to attract, engage and promote your talent.

Allow accountability and autonomy to coexist

It’s a catch 22: To deploy communication and productivity tools that promote accountability while building trust and employee engagement. Take the concept of flextime. The disconnect happens when managers and supervisors proclaim the benefits of flextime as a way for employees to customize—and own—their work processes and schedule while also asking them to report every single minute spent working remotely. The underlying message becomes, “I don’t trust you and since I still need to be in control, fill out this form and prove to me you are working.” The chances of having a team of engaged employees under this scenario are, frankly, dim.

How about communicating the need for accountability with transparency? Be explicit about the end goal of increasing productivity while allowing for flextime. Acknowledging that the process of remaining accountable while being autonomous could be bumpy strengthens your brand as a trustworthy manager. Soliciting feedback and engaging employees as partners—and not as dependent participants— allows for sharing ownership of the outcome.

Operationalizing an effective initiative to increase the ranks of engaged employees requires grit, patience, flexibility and humility, qualities not generally top of mind for most leaders.

Operationalizing an effective initiative to increase the ranks of engaged employees requires grit, patience, flexibility and humility, qualities not generally top of mind for most leaders.

Patience and humility to step back and consider a more collective, collaborative approach to cultivating engaged employees instead of just conditioning—programming them to perform. Grit and flexibility to review and to apply lessons learned from previous attempts.

Recommended Reading: Solutions to Promote Gender Equality in the Workplace

Producing more consistent employee engagement statistics could become a daunting task. If you are still doubtful about what is employee engagement and why it is so challenging, let’s go back to our working definition: the investment of discretionary effort. The way I see it, there are two ways to persuade employees to channel their discretionary resources –time, creativity, energy—towards organizational goals: The Stepford way (forced conditioning) or The Sustainable way, where transparency, trust, and tenacity prevail. Your choice.

Career Advice: Interview Tips for Women

Best career advice from Susan Landon and the top interview tips for women you will ever read! How to relay your accomplishments, timing, your personality for a smashing success.

By Susan Landon

You’re getting closer to your new job.  You’ve been following some good career advice and networking everywhere you go.  You’ve written a terrific resume.  And now you’ve got an interview scheduled with your dream employer next week.  You want to make sure that you’re ready and avoid difficulties that you’ve heard women are prone to in interviews, so you’re looking for specific interview tips for women.  So here they are…

Career Advice: Top Interview Tips for Women Photo credit: www. asdanet.org

Career Advice: Top Interview Tips for Women
Photo credit: www.asdanet.org

Interview Tips for Women: Best Career Advice

Be yourself!  As women, we often try to change who we are to fit into a male environment. And we end up hiding the things that make us unique and likeable, and we come across as flat.  I once provided career advice to a delightful woman named Jessica who had a full, infectious laugh. She had a great resume and was invited for many interviews, but Jessica never got the job offer.  As I tried to help her figure out what was happening, I learned that friends claiming to have good career advice had told her to make sure that no one heard that laugh during an interview, because it didn’t sound professional.  So Jessica put all her energy into making sure she didn’t laugh.  And her interviewers saw her as nervous and dull.  Once I told her to be herself and let her true personality shine, she had no trouble landing a great job.  If you put on a fake personality during the interview, they might hire you.  But eventually they’ll find out who you really are.  And if that isn’t who they wanted to hire, it could be disastrous for you.

An important interview tip for women: brag! Photo Credit: www.womendish.com

An important interview tip for women: be yourself!
Photo Credit: www.womendish.com

Interview Tips for Women: Your Accomplishments

Brag!  This is not the time to be humble.  Make sure that you can discuss every job on your resume from the perspective of what you accomplished and what you contributed.  If you’re looking for a more senior position, you should be speaking in terms of how you led your team to achieve X or Y. But if you’re interviewing for a less senior position, it’s crucial to speak in the first person so the interviewer understands the accomplishments are yours. This is a key piece of career advice that often gets overlooked. Think about what you can contribute to your new employer and be as specific as possible.  The interviewer doesn’t want to hear only that you’re a hard worker.  She/he wants to here what abilities and experience you bring to the table.

Interview Tips for Women: Timing is Key

Watch your timing!  Don’t ask about vacation, work/life balance, compensation or other benefits at your first interview.  Of course these are important!  But you don’t want the interviewer to think that these are more important to you than the job content and opportunity to contribute to the company’s objectives.  Just as you wouldn’t bring up how many kids you want to have on a first date, don’t discuss your special needs on a first interview.  Once you and the interviewer have fallen in love, you’re in a better position to ask for things you want. (So keep in mind that regardless of whose career advice you’re following, timing is everything and when applying any interview tips you must be mindful of the situation.)

Interview Tips for Women: When interviewing, keep in mind this sound career advice

When interviewing, keep in mind this sound career advice

Interview Tips for Women: Making a Personal Connection

Make a personal connection!  This is something that women are particularly good at, but sometimes we think it’s not professional, so we hold back.  You obviously seem to be qualified for the job, because you were called in for an interview.  Hopefully you’ve been doing a good job of talking about your accomplishments.  But interviewers want to hire people they like.  People they would want to work side-by-side with and go to lunch with.  If you notice the interviewer has a photo from a ski trip and you like to ski, make that connection.  If you see photos of kids, it’s OK to comment that they’re cute.

Although this is sound career advice for everyone, women can benefit from focusing their attention on the aspects I highlighted. I promise you that if you follow these interview tips for women, you’ll have a great interview and you’ll be settled into your new job before you know it!

 

Susan Landon, Managing Partner New York, Alexander Hughes Executive Search Consultants