Use best practices for managing Hispanic labor

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A 1999 study reveals several challenges and solutions for producers employing Hispanic workers. Tom Maloney, extension human resources management specialist at Cornell University, conducted in-depth interviews with 20 New York dairy producers who currently have Hispanic employees to find out how they effectively manage a Hispanic workforce. From those interviews, Maloney compiled the following list of eight human resources practices that producers have successfully used when employing Hispanic labor:

1. Work aggressively to overcome the language barrier. Consider learning to speak Spanish.

2. Take time to learn the culture of Hispanic employees. This can help you learn supervisory techniques that are acceptable and unacceptable to employees from another culture.

3. Develop a workplace culture that accepts different heritages among employees. And, help employees recognize and appreciate differences between their cultures.

4. Establish and communicate employment policies so all employees understand the expectations for proper conduct.

5. Check for proper immigration documentation.

6. Acknowledge Hispanic employees’ strong family ties and desire to return home periodically. Develop flexible staffing systems to accommodate longer vacations for these workers.

7. Improve Hispanic employees’ quality of life by encouraging and supporting social and recreational activities outside of the job.

8. Work as an advocate to ensure Hispanic workers are accepted and oriented to the surrounding community.

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