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Working with Hispanics. Presentations Araceli Alonso Antonio Noguera Audience. Communicating with Hispanic employees “I communicate pretty well, except for the personal issues…” Spanish employees in: Housekeeping Food management Landscaping Cooking and Serving Manufacturing

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Working with Hispanics

  • Presentations

    • Araceli Alonso

    • Antonio Noguera

  • Audience

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Communicating with Hispanic employees

“I communicate pretty well, except for the personal issues…”

Spanish employees in:


Food management


Cooking and Serving


What are our interests?

Personal issues

Personal relationships

Doing business in Mexico

Giving commands

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  • What are their interests?

  • 1 Personal issues

  • 2 Personal relationships

  • 3 Medical issues

  • 4 Basic needs

  • 4 Getting documentation: License Driver’s, SS number

  • 5 To get a job, to keep the job.

  • 6

  • 7

  • 8

  • 9

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What is our point of view?

We have previous assumptions.

We don’t know what their goals are.

We don’t know anything about them.

We expect they know our culture.

We have only one perspective.

What is their point of view?

They feel frustration in communication with us.

They have fears.

They know many things about us.

They are comparing and contrasting cultures.

The have three perspectives: the native Indian, the Spanish, and the American.

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  • What do we call them?

  • Latinos Hispanic Spanish

  • Not all the Latinos are the same.

  • They have different languages, music, food, clothing, appearance…

  • Americans

    • Latinos in former Mexican territories: New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona

    • Chicano, Tex-Mex, Puerto Ricans of New Jersey

  • Mexicans

    • Norteños, D.F. Sophisticated, Southern Indians, (Chiapas)

    • Gulf of Mexico marimba, La Bamba

  • Caribbean

    • Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican

  • Central America

    • Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, Nicaragua… Panama

  • South America

    • Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador

  • Southern Cone

    • Argentina, Chile

  • Spain

    • Catalonia, Basque Country, Canary Islands…

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How can I apply these issues?

  • We must think about regions, instead of countries.

  • When Spanish ask “Where are you from?” they are thinking about regions.

    Try to assign a task related to the specific skills of each one.

    People from the Gulf work in food factories.

    People from Aguas Calientes are very good in mathematics. Several Japanese Factories are there.

    Indians from Southern Mexico probably don't speak Spanish.

    Many Paraguayans speak Guarany, not Spanish


  • Try to know where your Hispanic costumers, employees, partners are from

  • Never call someone from Argentina a Mexican, and vice versa.

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  • What do they call us?

  • Americanos / Americans

    • From Canada to Argentina all are Americans.

    • Are Hawaiians Americans?

  • Norteamericanos / North Americans

    • Canada, USA and Mexico are in North America.

  • Estadounidenses / United Staters

    • The official name of Mexico is Estados Unidos de México.

  • Yankees

    • Is George Bush a Yankee?

  • Gringos

    • Do you know that the origin of this name is:

    • Green (American soldiers wearing green) go home!

    • As you probably know, in Spanish “ee” sounds ‘i’ as in river.

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  • What do they know about us?

  • They know many, many things about us.

  • Foreign newspapers and TV news pay more attention to international issues that domestic.

  • Many of them live in our country, cleaning our rooms, preparing our food. They know us from the inside.

  • What do we know about them?

  • How many inhabitants does Mexico City have?

  • How many languages there are in the Spanish World?

  • How many Hispanic homes do you know?

  • Did you ever eat real Hispanic food (besides a “Taco Bell Burrito”.)

  • Do you know the name of the Governor of Puerto Rico?

  • Who was the former president of Cuba?

  • What was the “Big Stake” for “Monroe Doctrine”?

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Knowing differences

American Way

I work for Trade Inc.

I am Vice-President.

My name in John Brown.

Hispanic Way

-Me llamo José Luis Pérez Mendieta

-¿Mendieta, No será de los Mendieta de Jalisco?

-Pues sí, soy de Jalisco.

-Entonces conocerá a Doña Carmen Mendieta de Cortés.

-Cómo no, si es mi tía segunda.

-Pues yo estoy casado con una hermana de su marido.

Two hours later

-By the way, I work at Trade Inc.

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American Way

We care about WHAT you are.We care about WHAT your position is.We care about WHERE you work.

Spanish Way

They care about WHO you are.They care about WHAT your family is.They care about WHERE you are from.


Take your time when meting for the first time someone.Try to find connection between you and he/she.Tell something about your family.

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We attend college far from home.

We move from one state to another.

We get divorced.

We change work in order to improve our financial situation.

We constantly change: TV, car, sofa...

They study in their hometown.

They live close to their family.

They get divorced, but only sometimes.

They prefer to stay in the same work place.

They keep things.


American Way

Hispanic Way

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American Way

Time is money.

Hispanic Way

Mañana (Tomorrow) means never.

Ahora (Now) means Today.

Ahorita means in a couple of hours.

Ahoritita means in a hour.

¡Ya! means now.


Be patient.

Be aware, if someone invites you to a party starting 6:00 pm, it is probably a good idea to go at 7:00.

But if you have a job interview at 10:00 am. go there al 9:55. If this person is a CEO, he/ she probably has a degree from an American University.

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  • Professional Relationships

  • American Way

    • We are always in a rush.

    • Shaking hands.

    • Fast approach.

  • Latino Way

    • Take it easy.

    • Giving hugs and kisses.

    • Take your time.

  • Recommendations

    • Try to build a serious relationship little by little,

    • Never push the Spanish, they do not complain but do not forget.

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The role of authority

American Way

Institutions have enormous power.

The owner knows who knows everything.

Workers are expected to show initiatives.

They are expected to participate in brainstorming.

Hispanic Way

Individuals have enormous power.

The owner knows everything.

Workers expect to receive orders.

They don’t expect to show initiatives.

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The role of loyalty

American Way

  • We are loyal to institutions.

    Hispanic Way

  • They are loyal to individuals.

  • They are loyal to their family and their friends.

  • When someone has power, he (usually a man) has real power.

  • Supervisors vs Caciques

  • The ‘compadre’ and the ‘padrino’

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  • Licenciado/a Lic. = graduate or lawyer

  • Doctor/a Dr. Ph.D. or Medical doctor

  • Ingeniero engineering

  • Don / Doña D. José / Dñª Carmen

  • Señor / Señora Sr. Castro / Srª Ruiz

  • Señorita single or young

    José María Pérez Cabeza de Vaca

    María José Echevarria Goroicoechea

    Guadalupe Cortés de Prado

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  • Personal Relationships

  • American Way

  • Privacy

  • We are always in a rush. No time for speaking with others.

  • Banking from the car, buying by catalog or Web, e-mailing.

  • Hispanic Way

  • Lack of privacy.

  • Take it easy.

  • Sense of community.

  • Time for speaking with friends and family.

  • Recommendations

  • Try to find time to speak with your Spanish personnel it will be very for both of you.

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What is communication?

What means communication for you?











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  • Communication is also….

    Sender  Message  Receiver

     Feedback 

    Lack of communication

    Model #1 Sender  Message  Receiver

    The receiver has not capacity to understand the message.

  • An expert in computers giving you instruction by phone.

    Model #2 Sender  Message  Receiver

    There is not real interest to understand the message.

  • Republicans and Democrats

    Model #3 Sender  Message  Receiver

    The expectations are far away from the real message.

  • My uncle is almost broken…He can’t neither to take his annual crosier around the world, nor to buy a new Cadillac.

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Sometimes the message has not sense to the receiver.

  • To a worker just coming from Yucatan

    • You must blow the snow.

  • To some one from the mountains of Mexico

    • You must cut the grass.

  • To someone coming from a very poor place

    • You must discharge these burgers, the are from this morning.

  • To someone coming from Cuba.

    • What is the number of your checking account?

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How we communicate

  • Memos

    • Are they too impersonal?

  • Loudspeakers

    • Do you understand anything at a foreign airport?

  • Signs

    • Can they read?

  • Telephone

    • Isn’t it a little difficult sometimes to understand by phone?

  • Direct Speech

    • Even if the person you are speaking to constantly says “yeah”, it doesn’t mean necessarily that she understood everything. Maybe she wants to be polite.

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  • Recommendations

  • Try to speak clearly, slowly and loudly.

  • Ask for feedback

    • For example: Then, we are going to meet tomorrow Tuesday at 10:00 am. Correct?

  • Be specific

    • A supervisor said to a new employee: After turning on the machine, we need to wait five minutes. Then we can start working.

    • When the supervisor came back after an hour, he saw the new employee sanding in front of the machine.

    • What happen? he asked. Is there is something wrong?

    • No, but you said “we” can start working.

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American Way of Life

We pay for our entertainment.

We make voluntary job.

We find help in institutions.

We bring food when someone invite us.

We are independent.

Spanish Way of Life

They do their our entertainment.

They make charity.

The find help in the family.

To brig food to someone it is an insult.

They have obligations with the family.

It is important to understand that our way is not better or worse than Spanish way. It is only different.

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As a supervisor, what I need to know?

  • Honor is important for men.

    • Never make jokes about someone.

  • Age is a degree in social life.

    • Be respectful with old people.

  • Even if we do not speak about the “macho” culture, men and women feel different.

    • Don’t assume that all women want to be addressed as the men.

  • Religion is part of the life, even for people than do not attend to the church.

    • If a good worker as for a permit for attend in Mexico to a baptism, confirmation, ‘quinceañera’, wedding or funeral, it is better to give the permit. You can choose to have the most loyal worker or just to loose him or her.

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Something else?

  • Of course, if someone invite you his place, go there. A friend is the most loyal worker that you can dream!

  • Tray to learn the names of children and other people in the house. Ask for them from time to time.

  • Don’t be afraid to be very close physically, it means to be close as friend as well.

  • Touching people is acceptable. However, it is important to be concern about a possible sexual harassment.

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Our conclusions

  • 1

  • 2

  • 3

  • 4

  • 5

  • 6

  • 7

  • 8

  • 9

  • 10

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  • Presentations

  • What are our interests?

  • Finding more interests

  • What are their interests?

    5 What are our approaches? What are their approaches?

    6 How can we call them?

  • Maps

    8 Where are you from?

    9 How can they call us?

    10 What do they know about us? What do we know about them?

    11 Knowing differences

    12 We care about

    13 Changing

    14 Punctuality

    15 Professional relationships

    16 The role of authority

    17 The role of loyalty

    18 Titles

  • Personal Relationships

  • What is communication?

  • Communication is also…

  • Sometime the message has not sense to the receiver

    23 How we communicate

    24 Recommendations

    25 American Way of Life Spanish Way of Life

    26 As a supervisor, what I need to know?

    27 Something else?

    28 Our conclusions

    29 Index