Management Three French Hens

Many people know the beginning of the Christmas carol, “The 12 Days of Christmas”, however, there is some confusion when you get to the end of it. Is it ten lords a leaping or ten maids a milking? Regardless of your version of the song, we all remember five golden rings and all those birds! The interesting thing is that the French hens are the only ones who have some nationality attached to it. There are no Russian partridges or Asian calling birds, if there are even such things.So how culturally sensitive are we? My grandmother who died at 103+ years old always referred to people by their nationality. One of the first guys I dated was “that nice Icelandic boy” and we used the “Polish plumber”. She definitely had her prejudices so we referred to her as “Mrs. Archie Bunker” and tried to explain to her that we are all from the same melting pot, but she was not buying it.

In today’s PC (politically correct) world, where do you stack up? I admit there are times that I am probably not PC enough, but am at a loss on how to describe some people. I have come to the point that if I even say “look at the man in the red shirt” I feel like I am offending someone.I have been a recruiter for almost 30 years and my clients pay me to narrow down a list of potential candidates and only present a handful. Once I review career and educational experience, there are other deciding factors in choosing one candidate over another. Some clients do not want to relocate people and others want certain certifications. Others have too many of one gender in the upper ranks or do not feel they are diverse enough so that will narrow the candidate pool as well. Still others have rejected candidates because they wore a certain type of outfit (this actually happened) or have expressed a bit too much information (TMI), including talking about their love life.It is obviously a very challenging process that seems to get more and more difficult. In the past, I could say exactly what I was looking for (i.e. Black female) but now I have to skirt around the issue and say “my client wants to see a diverse slate of candidates.” Most will get the meaning behind my words but others are clueless. Even others get angry because they feel they are not contenders because of their gender, race, etc. Unfortunately this is not my decision but my client’s.

So if you are a hiring manager, do think carefully about who you want to hire. Is someone’s past work history and education what they should be judged on solely and keep other factors out of the equation? If not, then we may have ten English lords a leaping, nine Croatian maids a milking, etc. which will make the song that much longer, and an executive search assignment could go on for months while the staff is left unsupervised. Is that what we have come to in this world?

A Latin Impact on the Finance Industry

Financial Institutions are a fantastic business model to learn from when considering ever changing market conditions. Their traditional target markets are stable, but, the needs of an emerging market, the Latino market is extremely underserved. It is certainly not for lack of money. Many Latinos have zero debt and healthy saving habits. The question arises, are financial institutions doing enough to serve this population? Are they adapting to the Latino needs? The answer is complicated.

There are two types of Latinos in the USA. One is the immigrant seeking a better life and wanting the American dream, whether they came through the proper channels or not it is irrelevant. The second, are the Latinos that are born here. These are two very different groups of people with different needs and goals. Most immigrants bring their culture, traditions, and customs with them to the US. Those born here develop a blended culture that is both Latino and American.

Financial Institutions are taking notice and making strides to accommodate this very economically influential population. The main reason is that there is a lot of investment in education and developing trust. An untold detail is that in Latino countries, people do not trust banks and financial institution because of corruption. Everything is paid in cash and there are no debt or traditional credit scores. This means that the Latino community have cash, probably stored under their mattress or in a shoe box. This is very dangerous considering that a house fire could burn an entire life savings. Another scenario is they could become a target for robbery. This is a foreign concept for Americans. What is happening is a huge learning curve, educating them on the process of building credit, saving their money in a financial institution, getting loans (mortgage, car, etc.), and most important having trust in the financial institutions.

The younger generations that are born here learn from their parents and surroundings. There is still a disconnect from the importance of financial products, building credit, and how that process works. Many of these young people are just translating for their parents, explaining financial products, and become an intermediary for conducting business. You will notice an increase in bilingual support at many financial institutions for this reason. There is still a lot of work to do in this regard, and this process will take time.

However, more and more financial institutions are offering products specific to Latinos. Information is becoming available in Spanish and more financial institutions are hiring bilingual and multi-lingual speakers. It will be interesting to see how we as a country adapt to this important demographic. It is truly an untapped market that has an important function in our economy for growth and stability.