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Article Listing | Search Articles | More Articles in Employers | More Articles by Simone Emons

How to Reward Your Hispanic Workforce

by Simone Emons - 01/02/2009
"When thinking about rewarding your Hispanic workforce, it is important to first recognize what motivates people in the workplace."
The first thing that comes to mind for most employers and managers is money. However, according to an Employee Motivation Survey conducted by, a San-Francisco based incentive tools company, only 19% of participants listed salary as a motivator. So, common sense tells us that money is not the most powerful motivator in the workplace.

Instead, it is important to first look at what actually motivates employees in the workplace. According to Abraham Maslow, the original designer of the “Hierarchy of Needs”, there are levels of human needs which can be adapted to the workplace. These are summarized as follows:

1.        Basic Needs:
Good working conditions, a flexible work schedule, and adequate salary
2.        Security Needs:
Fringe benefits, insurance, and safe working conditions
3.        Social & Belonging Needs:
The desire to be accepted by co-workers and be part of a team
4.        Esteem Needs:
The desire to be recognized and praised for good work, a way to display competence, and opportunities to achieve status and feel important in an organization
5.        Self-Actualization Needs:
Work that is challenging and rewarding with opportunities to be innovative and creative

Source: USDA, “Company Orientation and Employee Motivation” written by Holladay Management Services Inc.

In order to be successful, a reward system for Hispanic employees should focus on 3. Social and Belonging Needs, and 4. Esteem Needs.

Let’s look at 3. Social & Belonging Needs first. Hispanic employees can sometimes feel outnumbered in a predominantly Caucasian workplace. In order to make them feel like they are part of a team, there are many things that you, as an employer, can do:

•        Warmly greet your Hispanic employees everyday
•        Introduce them to key co-workers and managers
•        Ask about their family, show personal concern, (family is vital in Hispanic culture)
•        Try to bridge differences between your Hispanic workers and other co-workers
•        Encourage their participation at company events
•        Give gifts of food to the entire team to show appreciation

One of the other needs which motivate employees is 4. Esteem Needs. There are many ways to recognize a good Hispanic employee and allow them to display their competence and status within your organization. This will, in turn, improve their performance and self-esteem. For example:

•        Give verbal praise to your employees and reward them in front of other employees.
•        Create certificates of recognition
•        Emphasize to all employees that promotions are based upon superior performance; this prevents misunderstandings about a Hispanic promotion.
•        Have managers or supervisors personally deliver paychecks and thank them for their work
•        Allow your employee to show his/her expertise
•        Most importantly, ask for your employees opinion, this will allow him/her to feel appreciated

By taking some of these simple steps, you will be able to greatly improve the morale and initiative of your Hispanic employees. As you can see from looking at the lists above, it does not require much money to properly reward and motivate your Hispanic employees. Instead, it takes time and understanding of what is important to them. Here are some specific rewards which could make a big difference:


International Calling Cards for calling relatives
Dinner gift certificates for the entire family
Extra time off to spend with the family
Baked goods or special food gifts

Certificates for special achievement
A Team Project Scrapbook in the company lobby
Nicely framed photos of achievers
Plaques for reaching sales or safety goals

Reference in company newsletter
Read positive customer letters at company meetings
Feature a Hispanic employee in a company ad

So, what are the best rewards for a Hispanic workforce? The best rewards are those rewards which are particularly meaningful to your workforce. Take a few minutes to invest in your Hispanic workers and they will pay you back in spades.
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