In today’s world, the workplace should be a friendly, diverse environment, inclusive of different races and varying ages and identities. The era of the white male-dominated office is gone, and the need for inclusion is at its peak. The Center for Career Development and PRLACC welcomed Latinx employees on Tuesday night to share their work experiences and how they feel supported in the office.
One major topic of discussion was employee resource groups, or ERGs. ERGs directly impact the bottom line of the company by lowering employee retention costs, thus increasing the profits. Ana Usua Maldonado, a recent graduate from the University of Connecticut and current employee of The Hartford, found employee resource groups an effective way of getting involved further with the company.
“At The Hartford, I have been very pleased with the fact that they actually try to represent me and that they value me. I was fortunate enough to be part of a summit, a mini conference, for the Hispanic Leadership Network, which helped me learn more,” Usua Maldonado said. “After the summit I felt empowered knowing my thoughts and values matter to the company.”
Central Connecticut State University graduate and Pratt & Whitney employee Frank Cortez discussed the importance of ERGs when it comes to networking. He believes there is no better way to network than to join an employee resource group, which can often lead you to meet executives and people of power within the company.
Diversity means something different to every company. Jose Rios, who works for Cigna, told the audience how Cigna realized the only way to sell to a diverse group of individuals is to have a diverse set of employees.
“Specifically in the state of Texas, there is a large city that requires Cigna to have a certain percentage of ethnically diverse medical providers in that region, or else the city won’t do business with us. So for us to actually have a customer, we have to show proof that the medical providers have the same ethnic backgrounds as the population,” he said.
The panel provided the audience with interesting advice. Most college students are afraid of stepping foot into the “real world,” so hearing from people who have already done so is beneficial.
“My best piece of advice to a college student is to take every single opportunity that is presented to you,” Sarah Woodcock, a West Hartford Target store director, said.
Sometimes finding out what you do not enjoy is more important than finding out what you do. Woodcock explained how keeping your mind open to multiple professions allows you to explore the various options that will come your way.
Latinx or not, it’s important to keep in mind the importance of having a diverse workplace at any job. People of different ethnicities and backgrounds bring different ways of thinking, strategizing methods and beliefs to the table that add value to any conversation more valuable. If you would like to get involved on campus, PRLACC, La Comunidad Intelectual and El Instituto are all organizations that offer opportunities to do so.
Jordana Castelli is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.