Your workforce is becoming more and more diverse — but are your assumptions about changing demographics keeping up with reality?
The 2010 U.S. Census is expected to count a record 50 million Hispanics, or one in every six U.S. residents.
- Hispanics are now the nation’s second-largest consumer market after white non-Hispanics.
- Hispanics in America conceptualize our view of 1950s America. They are young (their median age is about where the whole nation was in 1955) and more often live in large, traditional, married-with-children families with lots of participation from grandparents.
- More than 30 percent of Hispanics in America are younger than 18.
Is that the picture of the U.S. Hispanic population you have in mind when you look at your company’s demographic data? What about when you think about how you communicate with your employees? Hispanics — just like everyone else — are increasingly using the web and social media to stay informed, buy products and connect with each other.
What the latest studies show
The latest studies of Hispanics online show:
- More than half (54 percent) of Hispanics use the Internet, almost two-thirds of Hispanic Internet users are buying online and 42% are downloading content.
- Hispanics are using social media. Nearly 60 percent of Hispanics under 35, and nearly a quarter of those 36 and older, visited social networking sites more than two or three times a month.
- Hispanics are among the most active cell phone users. Hispanic and African-Americans own more cell phones than whites (87 percent vs. 80 percent).
That begs the question: your workforce is changing dramatically, but are you using the same HR communication strategy you’ve had in place for years?
2 key principles of benefits communication
These stats reinforce two key principles of best-practice benefits communication: make sure you communicate to families (not just your employee), and make sure information is accessible on the Internet — and on mobile phones (not just locked behind your firewall on your intranet).
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And what about translating materials into Spanish? If your employee population includes any population who doesn’t speak English well enough to understand health care and benefits information, translating is obviously the right thing to do. It is hard enough to engage people in their benefits, near impossible if they can’t read the information you send to them.
Some of our clients already recognize this need and have bilingual benefits websites. A great example of this, the U.S. administration debuted www.cuidadodesalud.gov, a first-of-its-kind website in Spanish that provides information and resources about health care coverage. Both the flexibility of web development and a lower cost to translate materials make this a more practical approach than it was just a few years ago.
If this is something you are putting off because of cost, it may be time to reevaluate your approach and make sure the needs of your employees are being met.