Why Latin America is the Best Place to Hire Executive Assistants
Executive Assistants have become one of the most important allies for C-Suite executives. Especially for those who are looking to optimize their workload and increase their productivity. In a fully digitized world with more remote work than ever before, a question arises: where should I look for the best remote talent for my team? In this article we want you to know the reasons why you should hire executive assistants from Latin America.
Table of contents
- The business environment in Latin America
- The benefits of hiring Executive Assistants remotely
- Why Latin America is a great place to find Executive Assistants
- The challenges of remote hiring Executive Assistants
- Our advice on Hiring Executive Assistants in Latin America
- 5 key advantages of Latin American EAs
The business environment in Latin America
In the last four years, Latin America has gone from having only 4 unicorn companies to almost 40, consolidating itself as a region of very high growth in terms of business, new startups and foreign investment.
This has transformed the work environment throughout the region, with more and more professionals working for foreign or local companies with international investors. It is worth noting that the United States is leading the way as the country with the largest injection of capital into startups in the region, at approximately 263.78 billion U.S. dollars.
This evolution in the Latin American business world has provided professionals with new skills. It has also allowed them to enhance their capabilities to easily reach the standards expected in any U.S. startup.
The benefits of hiring Executive Assistants remotely
Remote work has revolutionized the way startups recruit and hire employees. Prior to the rise of remote work, companies were often limited in their hiring choices due to geographic barriers. However, with the advent of remote work, businesses can tap into a much larger talent pool, allowing them to find the best available talent, regardless of location.
This has helped level the playing field and prevent companies from compromising on the quality of their hires simply because of a lack of available candidates in their immediate area. By allowing businesses to focus on the qualifications and skills of a candidate, rather than their location, remote work has enabled them to build stronger teams and ultimately achieve greater success.
“Talent is equally distributed around the globe, opportunity is not”
Fineas Tatar, Co-CEO of Viva
Additionally, remote work can help save on overhead costs. Companies can save a significant amount of money by not having to provide office space, equipment, or supplies for their employees. In fact, some studies have shown that remote work could save as much as $10 million a year for startups based in the United States.
Why Latin America?
A time zone that strongly overlaps with the U.S
Working in a schedule that allows people to balance their work responsibilities with their personal life is one of the most important factors in choosing one job over another.
Many Executive Assistant agencies are located in territories that have a time difference of 12 or more hours in correlation to the United States, forcing their employees to work the so-called “graveyard shifts”, in which they work throughout the night and into the early hours of the morning. These night shifts severely affect people’s mental and physical health, negatively impacting their personal lives and company performance. As a result, you will end up having unmotivated, exhausted employees that will, in time, look for another job that allows them to maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Still close enough for corporate travel
People who work remotely have the ability to develop social skills to generate healthy interpersonal relationships with co-workers. And if, in addition, your team members are located in Latin America, the feasibility of travel is much greater, whether you go to the countries where they are located to cultivate your relationship with them and guide their processes, or if they are the ones who have the opportunity to attend corporate events at key moments.
This not only makes working relationships much stronger but also improves your employees’ sense of belonging and loyalty to the organization.
A recent EF study asked which countries were the most proficient in English as a foreign language. For its research, it evaluated the English proficiency of 2.1 million adults in 111 countries and regions. The results showed that some Latin American countries are at such high levels that they reached the 30th position on the global scale.
Having a high level of English proficiency is essential for an executive assistant EA as this role often involves communicating with internal and external stakeholders in a global business environment.
Great EAs in Latin America have at least a C1 level of English proficiency, which is considered advanced, and it indicates a high level of language competency.
At this level, an executive assistant can understand complex texts, express ideas fluently and spontaneously, and communicate with native speakers with ease. However, a C2 level of English proficiency indicates that the EA has mastered the language at the highest level.
Having an executive assistant with a C2 level of English proficiency means they can offer support in many areas, including the ability to negotiate complex business deals, lead presentations, and meetings, and interact with senior executives from around the world.
High emotional and social quotients
According to a Forbes article by Giovanni Rodriguez, Latin Americans are often considered to be some of the friendliest people on Earth. This is attributed to several factors, including the importance of family and community in Latin American culture, the emphasis on warmth and hospitality, and the generally outgoing and extroverted personalities that many Latin Americans possess. Additionally, language and cultural barriers may make Latin Americans more reliant on social connections, leading them to be more open and welcoming to strangers. Ultimately, the friendliness of Latin Americans is seen as a cultural trait that stems from a deep sense of empathy, generosity, and compassion toward others.
The most crucial qualities you would desire in your EA are, possibly, elevated levels of both social quotient and emotional quotient. Latin America is recognized for producing individuals with such traits, making it really likely that you may not even need to assess these attributes during the screening process.
A high EQ and SQ can lead to better collaboration and teamwork, increased productivity, and improved employee satisfaction. High EQ and SQ individuals tend to have better communication skills, allowing them to navigate complex social situations with ease.
They are also more likely to be empathetic and understanding, which can lead to stronger working relationships and a more positive work environment, especially when the job description involves a deep understanding of the Executive’s needs and pain points.
Additionally, individuals with high EQ and SQ are often better able to manage stress and remain calm under pressure, allowing them to make better decisions and perform at their best in even the most challenging situations. Overall, a high EQ and SQ can be a key factor in personal and professional success, making it a highly desirable trait for Executive Assistants.
Latin Americans are highly educated and competitive
Latin America is home to some of the world’s most prestigious universities, including the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, the Universidad de Buenos Aires, and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, among others. These institutions have produced numerous scholars, researchers, and professionals who have made significant contributions in their fields.
Many Latin American students don’t just stick to their countries when it comes to educating themselves. They are constantly seeking new experiences and opportunities to improve their language skills and expand their cultural horizons. With an increasing percentage, now standing at 21%, the United States is one of the most popular destinations for Latin American students, with its world-renowned universities, diverse student population, and wide range of academic programs.
This allows Latin Americans to get in-depth knowledge of the American culture from a very early age and get professional degrees facing the same challenges any American student would encounter.
The Challenges of Hiring an EA remotely
Getting to really know a candidate upfront
Hiring a person from a different culture and doing it remotely presents several challenges. One of them is the lack of in-person interactions, which can make it difficult to establish a personal connection and accurately assess a candidate’s fit for the role and company culture. Additionally, hiring remotely can limit the ability to observe nonverbal cues and body language, which can be crucial in determining a candidate’s level of enthusiasm, confidence, and engagement.
According to Geert Hofstede, there are six dimensions of culture that can affect international relations. Several of these cultural challenges can make a negative impact when hiring someone from a different culture. Some of these challenges include differences in communication styles, attitudes toward authority, and work-life expectations. These cultural differences can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts, and reduced productivity if not addressed proactively.
Extended onboarding processes
Hiring someone from another culture can lead to long onboarding processes due to the need to acclimate the new employee to the company culture, work processes, and communication norms. Additionally, there may be differences in work practices that require additional training and orientation.
Our advice on Hiring Executive Assistants in Latin America
- Provide pre-boarding resources: provide resources that new hires can access before their first day. This can include training materials, an employee handbook, or an introduction to team members.
- Assign a dedicated onboarding buddy: Having a dedicated onboarding buddy can guide new hires through the process, answer any questions, and provide them with the necessary tools to succeed in their new role.
- Hire an EA company: if you want to get the onboarding process off your plate, consider entrusting this process to a company that specializes in cross-cultural training and onboarding.
- Create a list of what to look for when searching for a remote executive assistant and how to assess their skills for every need you have. Use our assessment template and reduce the risk of a bad hire.
5 key advantages of Latin American EAs
To recap, there are 5 points that executive assistants from Latin America inherently have and that would set up your workload for success:
- They are in a time zone that strongly overlaps with the U.S
- They’re still close enough for corporate travel
- Their English proficiency is C1 or C2
- They have high emotional and social quotients
- They are highly educated individuals
Avoid the hassle of hiring an EA in-house
Hiring remotely presents some challenges, but when dealt with correctly, can be done in a very effective way that sets your new hire up for success. But hiring a new Executive Assistant in-house presents greater risks that may end up hurting your productivity, augmenting your costs, and taking a great amount of your time.
If you’re interested in exploring remote hiring for Executive Assistants, book a call with us to learn more about how we can help you find the right candidate for your needs.