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Human resources in Latin America Human resources in Latin America
by Joseph Gatt
2019-10-28 09:14:30
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Sweeping generalizations about human resources in Latin America, in no particular order.

-First thing that comes to mind is in most Latin American countries, save perhaps Bolivia and Paraguay, sexual harassment is a free game. Almost every office I've been to, you're going to see the guys go after the pretty ones. The guys will often ditch all their tasks and pester the pretty ones with long conversations and try to take them to the hotel. So when you hire staff, keep this in mind. I'm not saying don't discriminate and avoid hiring pretty ones, but you come up with a way to handle this inevitable situation. And for men “being married” is not an excuse not to try to sleep with the pretty ones.

sam01_400-Staying with the topic, a lot of guys are going to come up with all kinds of stories to make themselves more attractive in the female world. So a lot of the guys at the office will be bragging about accomplishments and feats that never really happened. Some were even “celebrities” before they joined your company.

-So, closing the topic, you're going to have to watch out when it comes to friendship with the guys. The guys will invent all kinds of conversations with you that never existed. And they will claim that you said things that you never said. Be very subtle when dealing with these guys, or when being confronted about things that you never said.

-Resumes. Be very cautious when reading them. Look at choice of words rather than experience or accomplishments. Some claim to have worked with “Lula” or to have been “the assistant coach of Diego Maradona in the 2010 World Cup.” Smile, and don't point that out during the job interview. The best way to offend them is by not discussing their stint as “assistant coach to Maradona.” The girls will also make claims like “chief of staff of President Bachelet.” You get the idea.

-They'll be fired up when they show up to job interviews. Very nice suits or attire, long, enthusiastic responses to simple questions. You want to focus the interview on their ability to get the job or tasks done, rather than about anything else.

-At work, formal meetings will be a battle of egos. Everyone's going to try to come up with the most brilliant idea, everyone's going to try to shine. So you may want informal meetings rather than formal meetings.

-If you allow them, many Latin Americans will lecture you for hours without allowing you to say a word or ask a question. During meetings, everyone will be chatting with everyone else. “Silencio por favor” (silence please) doesn't always work. What many Latin American companies do is they hire a “three-star general” to bully workers into silence.

-If you want informants, you want to have brief chats with different people. If you meet the same person every day, they're going to start making stuff up. So you want to meet people something like once a month, and disappear from their radar. The mysterious leader is always more respected than the guy who's constantly interacting with his staff.

-Workers in Latin American countries tend to get fired mainly either because they're being late way too often, or because they are taking way too many sick days, or because they don't get along with other workers and refuse to get any work done.

-Latin Americans are shameless when it comes to asking for raises. They can even tell you the specific amount they want for their raise, and if not, they will threaten to “quit.” Very often they don't quit if their demand for a raise is rejected, so you want to do two things: remain mysterious and only receive employees on an appointment basis, and set the appointment for a month or two after the application for an appointment.

-Finally, there are labor unions in Latin America, but a lot of the unionizing will be informal. Many Latin American leaders set up rules that workers protest. For example, there could be a trend where all the workers start showing up with dyed hair and piercing and a trend where everyone's getting a tattoo and what not. So leaders could come up with a “no dyed hair allowed” and suddenly the next day 90% of the workers will show up with their hair dyed in pink. Sometimes people in an office can go crazy, and you'll have to figure out a way to stop the madness.

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