Tag Archives: workforce


Attracting, Retaining and Promoting Diverse Talent

By Tammy Ramos, J.D.


Note to our Readers:

Leap Solutions is pleased to have guest writer, Tammy Ramos, J.D., once again write on a timely topic about diverse talent in our DEI article series. Tammy partners with Leap Solutions to provide DEI consultation to our clients.


In this issue of our newsletter:

  • Generational Considerations
  • Recruitment Strategy
  • Retention Strategy
  • Promotion Strategy


The lack of diversity in the leadership roles in Fortune 500 companies is a persisting challenge and a disappointment for professionals of color. Although the murder of George Floyd in 2020 brought enormous attention to the disparity of racial and ethnic diversity in leadership roles, the initiatives for DEI has brought very little change. According to the Route to the Top 2022 report by Heidrick & Struggles, it found that diversity among CEOs has only grown a mere 2% from 22% in 2021 to 24% in 2022. These numbers are despite 93% of executives surveyed for the Heidrick & Struggles reporting that they supported diversity, equity and inclusion and agreed doing so was a business strategy. Black CEOs still account for less than 2% and Hispanics less than 4%. This article will not attempt to address all the reasons for the disparities but will instead endeavor to provide real solutions and strategies to increase diverse representation through solid recruitment processes, effective retention practices and comprehensive leadership development for professionals of color.



Generational Considerations

The objective in this article is to increase the representation of diverse talent in leadership roles. To do that, it is imperative to have a basic understanding of the five generations that currently make up the workforce, as each brings a different mindset and expectation of their employers. More specifically, there are some additional nuances of racially diverse talent that should be considered when assessing recruitment, retention, and promotion strategies.

Today, there are five very different and distinct generations in the workforce.

Traditionalist (76 to 99 years old)

Baby Boomer (57 to 75 years old)

Generation X (41 to 56 years old)

Generation Y, also known as the Millennials (26 to 40 years old)

Generation Z (25 years old and younger)

Each generation has been shaped by the history in which it grew up. Traditionalists and Baby Boomers are loyal, have a strong work ethic, value job security, and respect hierarchy. Generation X are entrepreneurial, autonomous, value independence, and prefer monetary rewards while also enjoying work/life balance. Whereas the mindset and values of Millennials and Generation Z is quite different from the older generations. Millennials are technologically savvy, results oriented, value feedback, and prefer relaxed work environments. Generation Z have a high need for authenticity, value diversity, expect inclusive cultures, and want their employers to be involved in social responsibility.

For purposes of focusing on the future of Fortune 500 companies, it’s necessary to thoroughly understand the two youngest generations currently in the workforce, the Millennials and Gen Z respectively. In the context of history and culture, they’ve never known a time without cell phones, the internet, or cable television. They have had immediate access to information about global warming, wars, famines, political upheaval, and in most recent times the reminder of the persistent, unwavering racism in the United States as they watched George Floyd be killed by police. In addition, they’ve lived through a worldwide pandemic, COVID-19, which makes them ever so aware of the fragility of life.

Consequently, these two youngest generations are not willing to sacrifice their personal lives or values in exchange for more money or greater prestige. They are moved by feelings of “belonging” and “inclusion”. They seek meaning, and they want to work for employers who align with their values. Creating a sense of belonging is critical for employers who want to better accommodate and prepare for this [younger] generation.

A deeper look at the racial diversity of the two youngest generations will provide even more specific intel as to what drives young professionals of color.




As this table indicates, based on the Pew Research Center, 39% of Millennials and 48% of Gen Zer’s respectively are racially and ethnically diverse. They are also leaders within ideologies of sexuality, religion, and gender diversity. These two generations are dominating and transforming the workplace landscape. With that being said, unfortunately, a closer look at the black and Latinos within these generations reveal that they are still struggling to find their power in the workplace. In the Coqual report “Being Black in Corporate America” it was found that 31% of black Millennials say they spend a great deal of energy to be authentic at work. And 25% reported feeling like they bear the burden of being the entire representation of their race or ethnicity.







Additionally, although Latinos today are the second fastest growing demographic in the workforce and are projected to be nearly 21% of the labor force by 2028, Korn Ferry reported that “Latinos face a paradox in the United States of being both ubiquitous and invisible.”

Despite accounting for almost 20% of the U.S. population, as we saw earlier, Latinos only represent 4% of senior-level positions. Consequently, it is no wonder that Latinos feel invisible. They are not fairly represented in leadership roles.

Given these dismal statistics, it’s no surprise and is also encouraging to note that Millennials and Gen Z-ers are driving change. They expect to see diversity at the top. In Deloitte’s 2018 Millennial Survey Report, they found that “Millennials are twice as likely to stay with a company beyond five years if that organization has a diverse workforce that represents their values of diversity, equity and inclusion.” Also, in a recent Monster survey, 83% of Gen Z candidates said that a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is important when choosing an employer and 26% said they want to see diversity in leadership. Consequently, it is crucial for the future of industries across the board that there be a thoughtful and clear strategy around recruitment, retention, and promotion that will attract diverse Millennial and Gen Z talent.










Recruitment Strategy

  1. Create inclusive recruiting practices – First, reach out to schools that have a more diverse student body and post internships, host job fairs, and offer networking opportunities. Second, engage recruiters who specialize in identifying racial minorities and connecting them to job opportunities. Third, connect with diverse associations like the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Women of Color in Engineering Collaborative, and so many others. And last, access resources to stay abreast of best practices for recruiting professionals of color.
  2. Develop fair interviewing processes – Bias in interviewing is an insidious obstacle for professionals of color. Paulette Brown, the first woman of color to be president of the American Bar Association explains that bias is a mental reflex that affects decision making. Bias is “an inherent cause for poor candidate selection” in large part due to affinity bias which is “. . . having a more favorable opinion of someone like [you].” Interviewers can unconsciously exclude candidates who are not like them because they don’t “feel” a connection and/or chemistry. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid bias and minimize its negative impact. First, create standardized questions, guides, and/or rubrics to ensure objective criteria are being considered in the selection process. Second, ensure interviewing panels and hiring committees have diverse individuals conducting the interviews and making hiring decisions. This simple step has been shown to improve diversity hiring; for example, at Intel, diversity among new hires increased from 31% to 45% after the company required diverse interview panels. Third, require that the candidate pool of interviewers represents diversity because increasing the number of diverse candidates in a pool from one person to two people increases the likelihood of a diverse hire by almost 80%.
  3. Design attractive compensation packages – First, understand what young diverse professionals value. Money alone is not sufficient. In “Making Their Mark” nearly 30% of employees would prefer time off over money, and 89% said they would trade off benefits, like flexibility, over a pay raise, and “62% say they’re more productive when working remotely.” Consequently, in addition to offering competitive salaries, include options for work/life balance, flexible working hours, job sharing, and/or working from home. It is time to be creative and think outside the box. Third, ensure that monetary compensation is transparent and equitable. Be aware that according to LinkedIn’s latest Workforce Confidence Index, about 81% of Generation Z workers believe sharing information about pay and salary will lead to more equitable pay in the workplace and about 75% of millennials also believe sharing information on pay can lead to pay transparency.




Retention Strategy

  1. Foster a culture of inclusion – True diversity and inclusion requires more than just creating policies and programs. Companies need to consciously and intentionally foster diversity and inclusion through active strategies like branding, discussion, and setting measurable goals for diversity. Tracking and following up on goals is key to shifting D&I from a moral to a business issue. As mentioned earlier, both Millennials and Gen Z-ers want a workplace culture that is diverse and inclusive; a place where they feel like they belong. Being able to recruit them is one thing, being able to retain them is an entirely separate challenge. Make DEI a priority in deeds and not just words. Hire a DEI expert who can drive all DEI goals that permeate every aspect of the business so that it is not a silo. Empower the DEI leader with financial resources, a support team, and decision-making power. Making this investment will demonstrate a genuine commitment to increasing diverse representation.
  2. Develop an effective onboarding program. Many professionals of color may be the first in their families to have a college degree and a professional career. A first-generation professional is the “First” in his/her immediate family to obtain a 4-year college degree and/or to obtain a higher-level professional position than what was held by either parent. Historically, without additional support, these individuals tend to face more challenges adapting to career and professional life. Being a “first-generationer” can even be considered another dimension of diversity. With no one to turn to at home, first-generation diverse employees need guidance. Help them to understand what the unspoken rules are. Inform them on whom to seek out with questions. Provide a realistic time frame for them to learn. Consider pairing them with another more senior leader who can support them for the first 30 days. Have a 30-60-90-day follow-up to check in on their progress and adjustment into their new role. This will facilitate setting them up for success.
  3. Encourage wellness in the workplace.  65% of Generation Z and 60% of Millennial workers say it’s “very important” for their employers to provide mental wellness benefits and 73% of Generation Z employees and 74% of Millennial employees have utilized mental health benefits offered by their employers.  No longer is mental illness taboo. The younger generations value mental wellness, self-care, and work/life balance. They are looking for employers who provide access to resources that support their wellness. It’s vital that employers begin to incorporate these values and cultivate healthy workplace cultures effectively.



Promotion Strategy

  1. Develop clear career pathways. Are the steps for advancement clear in your organization? Are they consistent across functions, departments and consistently implemented by leaders? Does everyone know what those steps are? Is there a way to ensure that all employees have equitable assess to these steps? Bias can be an obstacle. For example, the halo effect is a type of implicit bias that occurs when you attribute certain abilities to someone simply because of an accomplishment, such as graduating from a top caliber college or having an impressive job title. You may assume that the person has abilities that he or she does not or give the individual more credit than he or she deserves. It’s important to remember that Millennials and Gen Z-ers are not willing to stay in jobs for a lifetime and retire with the gold watch. They are a generation that has enjoyed instant gratification. According to Deloitte’s 2022 survey, four in 10 Gen Z-ers plan to quit their jobs within two years, and over a third would do so even without another job in place. However, if they have a clear career pathway for upward mobility and career success, they will be much more likely to stay and take those steps for advancement.
  2. Create a mentorship and sponsorship program. In addition to social pressure to demonstrate commitment to DEI, young professionals of color expect to see diversity at the top. Given that most Fortune 500 organizations do not have proportionate representation in leadership, it becomes even more crucial to develop formal mentorship and sponsorship programs that are intended to promote diverse talent. Mentors can add enormous value to professionals of color. However, mentorship alone is not enough. To promote diverse talent, there must be sponsorship for that talent. Sponsorship is not mentorship. Sponsors serve as champions for an individual; they take co-ownership of protégés’ career development and are willing to go out on a limb to advance the careers of their protégés. They show diverse employees that the organization believes in their potential and is invested in their success. Ballard Spahr LLC is leading the way with its Sponsorship Program called INVEST which was launched in 2020. The program lays out clear guidelines for roles, responsibilities, and criteria for participation, along with accountability for the desired outcomes for the sponsorship relationship.
  3. Require leadership accountability. Achieving diversity, equity, and inclusion goals cannot be achieved without leadership commitment and more importantly, accountability. This requires a call to action. Implement an accountability policy. One example can be borrowed from the legal profession. It is called the Mansfield Rule and asks “law firms to consider at least 30% historically underrepresented lawyers for 60% or more of the leadership roles and activities” and offers certification for law firms and corporate legal departments who adopt it. The goal of the Mansfield Rule is “to boost the representation of diverse lawyers in law firm leadership by broadening the pool of candidates considered for opportunities for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities, and senior lateral positions.” A new version was created and launched for legal departments that requires 50% consideration of all historically underrepresented lawyers for internal leadership and outside counsel roles. Applying the Mansfield Rule is, working at its intended purpose to diversify leadership to drive systemic change in leadership.



In conclusion, it cannot be minimized that managing a multi-generational workforce is hard work, but it cannot be overemphasized that it is important work. With more generations than ever working side by side, employers are positioned to create strong, innovative teams rich with diverse thought, experience, and expertise. Additionally, those organizations committed to embracing the multi-cultural dimensions of professionals of color and creating intentional talent lifecycles intended to advance the multi-faceted of diverse talent, will enjoy a competitive advantage, more innovation and creativity, better employee morale, higher profits, and more satisfied clients and customers.




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Leap Solutions is a diverse group of highly skilled management, organizational development, and human resources, and executive search and recruitment professionals who have spent decades doing what we feel passionate about helping you feel passionate about what you do. Our HR specialists can help you get a handle on the ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines, programs, and legislation that may impact you and your employees. We are available to work with you to develop practical solutions and smart planning decisions for your organization’s immediate, near, and long-term needs.

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By Tammy Ramos, J.D.

The competitive war for diverse talent today is fierce. Latinas warrant particular strategic focus in every sector, as they are the fastest growing demographic in the workforce today. They are the next generation of leaders and talent.



 The competitive war for diverse talent today is fierce. Organizations across industries are scrambling to figure out how to position themselves as an employer of choice with women and people of color.  The Great Recession exacerbated an already tight labor market. As a result, employers are asking, how do we proactively and effectively attract, recruit and promote diverse talent?  Informed organizations recognize the high cost of turnover, recruitment, onboarding and lost productivity due to poor engagement or low morale.

Latinos are the fastest growing demographic in the workforce today. A few critical statistical[1] points are as follows:

  1. Latinos contributed $2.6 trillion to the US economy in 2018 which was a 9% increase from 2017
  2. If U.S. Latinos were a stand-alone country, they would account for the 8th largest GDP in the world – larger than the GDPs of Italy, Brazil or South Korea.
  3. In 2020 U.S. Latino purchasing power rose to 11.1% – $1.9 trillion – growing 70% faster than non – Latinos.
  4. Latinos are the largest ethnic group in US, 18.7%
  5. Latinos are projected to be one fifth of the labor force by 2024
  6. Of the six million K-12 students who attend California public schools, over half 3,320,300 – 55.30% are Latino.



In particular, Latinas warrant particular strategic focus in every sector. They make significant purchasing decisions in families and now account for 1 of 5 women in the US and are projected to be 1 in 3 by 2060 US Census. They are incredibly industrious, resilient, hard-working, creative and able to multi-task as they continue to take on the majority responsibility of caring for home and family.  Despite some inequities and setbacks due to COVID-19, college degree attainment among Latinos has increased substantially in recent years.[2] In fact, 24% of Latino adults in the U.S. now hold a college degree, up from 19 percent a decade ago.

Latinas are more than consumers; they are the next generation of leaders and talent.  They are innovating, making products and services better, and driving business results. From 2018 to 2028, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of Latinos in the labor force to increase by about 7.4 million—more than any other age, sex, or race or ethnic group.  BLS.

The question is, how does an organization attract, retain and promote Latina talent?

  1. Invest in Professional Development: Oftentimes first-generation Latinas do not have the skillsets to know how to manage their careers and navigate a professional life.  Many are the first in their families to obtain a college degree and work in a corporate environment. They need to learn how to make themselves visible, develop executive presence, network and communicate effectively.  When an organization invests in their leadership, it communicates that they are valued and have a place for upward mobility.  This will engender loyalty and a deeper commitment to stay and not quickly accept a better offer from a recruiter or competitor.  Additionally, organizations will enjoy the benefit of an employee who is ready to be a strategic partner in the business.
  2. Create a Sponsorship Program:  Women and people of color are less likely to have a sponsor than whites.  In fact, 71% of sponsors said that they were either the same race or gender as their sponsee. Those who are sponsored are significantly more likely to be promoted and earn 11.6% more than those who are not sponsored.[3] Unfortunately, leaders tend to sponsor those who are like them. Organizations like LinkedIn have very intentional Sponsorship Programs so that high potential diverse employees are matched with a senior leader inside the organization.  These formal Sponsor/Sponsee relationships have proven to effectively open doors and opportunities for career advancement. Harvard Business Review
  3. Create and Support Latino ERGs:  Too often Latino Employee Resource Groups are underfunded and overworked which can create low morale and discouragement among Latinos.  Organizations must be deliberate to create a vision and collaboration with Latino ERG leaders so that they are a true strategic partner in the business.  ERGs are a rich source of information.  Tap into their experiences, ask for their advice on new products and services, invite them to support broadening the organizations network and visibility with the Latino community.  Give them financial resources beyond the ability to bring in a speaker for National Hispanic Heritage Month and an Executive Sponsor who will partner and support their goals.
  4. Make Your Brand Resonate with Latinas: Industry leaders today are making substantial ESG investments (Environmental, social, and corporate governance).   Showcase the investment you are making into the professional development of your current Latino employees, your Latino ERG and your partnerships with the Latino community and strategic partners.  Incorporate best practices from organizations like Proctor and Gamble who is creating cosmetic products to meets the needs of women with darker skin tones or curly hair. Collaborate with your ERGs to invest and support the community organizations that support the Latino neighborhoods, schools and small businesses to show your support and commitment in meaningful ways.
  5. Partner with Latino organizations and community:  As the saying goes, you are known by the company you keep. There are Latino organizations that are devoted to the leadership development and advancement of Latinos.  Building partnerships with these organizations gives you access to Latino talent, networks and even new customers for your products and services.  For example, LatinaVIDA, a non-profit inspiring and equipping the next generation of Latina executives, provides a broad range of culturally relevant services to organizations like Cisco, LinkedIn, Bank of the West, Equinix, Kaiser Permanente and more. Services include: leadership development, individual career coaching, ERG boot camp and Sponsorship matching programs.



These five steps are an essential part of your organization’s DEI Playbook with a focus on attracting and retaining one of the largest consumer segments in the nation today.  Any business leader seeking to grow the bottom line has to look carefully at their strategy to engage Latinas—they truly are your future employees, consumers and leaders.


Tammy Ramos, J.D. is a proud first-generation Latina who is the Executive Director for LatinaVIDA, a non-profit which supports an organization’s DEI goals by equipping the next generation of Latina executives to rise to the top in their careers. Tammy Ramos 707-208-5446


[1] Passel, J, U.S. Hispanic population continued its geographic spread in the 2010s, Pew Research Center, February 3, 2022
[2] Chapa, C., Latinos’ Degree Completion Has Increased but Acceleration Is Still Needed to Close Equity Gaps, Excelencia in Education, August 11, 2020
[3] Kennedy, J. The Sponsorship Divide, Coquel 2019




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Leap Solutions is a diverse group of highly skilled management professionals serving our clients with their organizational development, human resources, and executive search and recruitment needs. We have spent decades doing what we feel passionate about helping you feel passionate about what you do. With the ever-changing COVID-19 response, our HR specialists can help you get a handle on the guidelines, programs, and legislation that may impact you and your employees. Through all of our services, we are available to work with you to develop practical solutions and smart planning decisions for your organization’s immediate, near, and long-term needs.

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By Tracy Emmerich and Tracy Long

Finding and retaining top talent is a core strategy of all businesses. Without a top-notch team of people dedicated to delivering on the promises of the organization, the most well-conceived business plan is not sustainable. Total rewards are key to ensure you are rewarding and recognizing your talented team.  At Leap Solutions, we support our clients in the development and implementation of their total rewards plan and systems. As you read the newsletter, consider how you recruit and retain your team, what is working, and what needs to be strengthened. Finally, consider what your best would look like when you have all the top talent you need delivering on your promises.


In this issue of our newsletter:

  • Recruitment and Retention
  • Total Rewards Defined
  • Total Rewards Strategy
  • The Changing Workforce
  • Pay Equity
  • Compensation Analysis


Recruitment and Retention

The signs are everywhere – HELP WANTED… Now Hiring!…Hiring Bonus!

Labor shortages caused by instability in sectors like leisure and hospitality are compelling people to seek different career opportunities. Parents (mainly women) laid off and caring for their children have either not returned to the job market or are finding alternatives that provide a better work/life balance. And there’s the trending concern about the “great resignation,” predicted to create a Turnover Tsunami (HR Magazine, Summer 2021, Society for Human Resources Management) of employees who wanted to protect their income during COVID and are now burned out, dissatisfied with their employers’ return-to-office policies, and/or are just looking for better opportunities.

Employers are struggling to find, motivate and retain top talent.  So, what is the key to recruiting and retaining employees? Assessment of your recruitment and retention issues — effective onboarding, meaningful work and relationships, and well-trained supervisors — are musts, and as is evaluating your organization’s total rewards strategy.


Total Rewards Defined

Total rewards are a combination of direct and indirect compensation.

Direct compensation includes base wages of hourly pay, salary, or piece rate; differential pay (for example shift pay); commissions; bonuses; and incentive pay.

Indirect compensation includes health and welfare benefits, medical, dental, vision, short- and long-term disability; retirement and other long-term benefits like 401(K) match, SEP IRAs contributions, HSA contributions, profit sharing, and stock options; paid leave such as vacation, PTO, sick, holidays, and bereavement; and perquisites (perks) like employee discounts, training and development opportunities, social or gym memberships, childcare assistance, pet insurance, recognition programs, flex-work, casual Friday, and more.

Total Rewards Strategy

Developing a total rewards strategy requires knowledge of employee motivations and desires. For example, twenty-nine percent of employees say that their mental/emotional health has deteriorated as a result of the pandemic (Willis Towers Watson Survey 2020 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey). This is a significant number that can even be higher for essential workers and not something that many have paid attention to in the past.
Additionally, your strategy needs to be in alignment with the company’s goals. What is your value proposition? Are you the low-cost leader or are you pioneering innovative products or services? In what phase of the life cycle is your organization? Are you a start-up that places value on basic benefits and wages, but emphasizes high incentives, or are you a mature business that values expanded benefits including perks and bonuses? Your answers help you decide to lead, match, or lag the market in pay and benefits.


The Changing Workforce

Selecting the ‘rewards’ of total rewards should be reflective of:

  • your company’s values
  • the nature of work (in office or work from home)
  • employees’ changing expectations regarding pay transparency, stability, well-being, and flexibility
  • employee demographics and the employee behaviors that you are trying to encourage

Don’t assume one size fits all. Rewards should span the employee life cycle, from accommodating single employees just entering the job market, to mid-career with families, to those nearing retirement.

Total rewards are not just for full-time employees anymore. Employers embracing part-time employees will find a larger pool of potential employees who can be more committed than their full-time counterparts.

Pay Equity

Many companies are realizing that pay equity issues are built into existing systems and require concerted efforts to eliminate inequities. California, Oregon, and Washington are among several states that have banned employers from asking job applicants about their salary history; questions which can reinforce and perpetuate pay inequality. Inequities can be identified through annual reviews of wages.

Work from home has created its own pay equity issues. Employers have primarily based pay on the location of the employee. For example, if you have lived in a lower cost of living area, you have typically been paid a lower wage based on that area, and vice versa. Employers allowing their workforce to work from anywhere must decide pay based on location (where the employee lives or where their home office is located), pay based on the type of position and level of qualification, or a combination of the two. Complicating the location issue is nomadic employees who may work in multiple locations throughout the year while companies allow employees to work remotely.


Compensation Analysis

A good rewards strategy ensures that you have relevant, up-to-date market information to make compensation decisions. To remain competitive, semi-annual or quarterly reviews should now supplement annual wage reviews. Hard-to-fill positions or Hot Jobs may require more frequent analysis. Even if your overall strategy is to match the market, you may want a separate strategy to lead the market for certain positions that require you to be more competitive.

Leap Solutions Group Can Help

Developing a total rewards strategy is a thoughtful, deep dive process that requires understanding your business, your reward philosophy, employee needs (now and in the future), and the changing environment. Recruiting and retaining talent remain a challenge for the foreseeable future. The cost is too high not to have a well-thought-out strategy that positions you as an employer of choice. Leap Solutions Group is here to help you evaluate and develop your total rewards philosophy, assess your current compensation and benefit offerings, and create solutions for a thriving workforce.

Give us a call so you can take that help wanted sign out of your window!




Leap Solutions is a diverse group of highly skilled management, organizational development, and human resources, and executive search and recruitment professionals who have spent decades doing what we feel passionate about helping you feel passionate about what you do. Our HR specialists can help you get a handle on the ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines, programs, and legislation that may impact you and your employees. We are available to work with you to develop practical solutions and smart planning decisions for your organization’s immediate, near, and long-term needs.

To print this article, click here