Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at the workplace have never been more important. In our current climate, being able to come to work without fear of being your true self is paramount.
Nonetheless, companies who prioritize these efforts have much to benefit, including increased productivity, innovation and engagement.
This February, aim to celebrate people. And what better way to do that than honoring Black History Month at work. Here are some timeless, authentic tips to ensure you have a month teeming with fun, positivity and inclusion.
Conducting any DEI initiative should be supported by employees. When celebrating Black History Month, get your employees involved. Encourage them to spearhead the initiative to ensure a more authentic experience for everyone.
Not engaging employees can run the risk of a company looking like they’re simply checking off a box for appearances. That’s why it’s essential to include your people in the planning and executing celebration activities. Having employees involved throughout the entire process will only bring your company’s people closer together.
This is also the time to allow others to craft their own narrative. Be sure to internally amplify black voices during this month to foster representation and celebrate differences.
How to engage employees during Black History Month:
While Black History Month may seem like it’s just about celebrating black culture, it’s also very much about inclusion. Black history is rooted in the struggle for equality. It’s also about the elevation of stories, people and pioneers who often don’t get recognized for their contributions to the world.
The spirit of the month embodies inclusion. And your activities should inspire the same for your company. When planning your Black History Month celebration at your company, don’t fall into the trope of alienating others. Every event or activity should welcome everyone. Celebrating Black History Month at work is about breaking down barriers, not creating them.
How to be inclusive during Black History Month:
Dialogue matters during Black History Month, and you should consider facilitating discourse about diversity, equity and inclusion. Whether it’s a speaker of color, a panel of diverse leaders or an DEI expert, employees will benefit from the opportunity to participate in constructive conversation about how identity shapes their work experience.
Today, there is no excuse for an organization not to be intentional about its event curation or its DE&I efforts. Intend to celebrate diversity, fight for equity and encourage inclusion. There’s no better opportunity than opening up the floor for dialogue so people can understand others and effect positive change.
How to encourage DE&I discussion:
One easy way to celebrate Black History Month at work is by doing or giving something in your company’s suite of services or products. There’s nothing more authentic than operating in the true spirit of your business to celebrate the black heritage in February.
Many companies made waves last year by doing just so. For example, Spotify, a music-streaming platform saw huge success after releasing the Black History is Now Hub which curated black voices across playlists, podcasts and guest takeovers. Those in the staffing and solutions industry could also consider offering interview prep or creating partnerships to create diverse talent pools with organizations that assist the black community.
How to advocate for BHM in your LOB:
Lastly, be sure to CELEBRATE!
There are a million ways to celebrate Black History Month at your workplace, and don’t just limit yourself to this list! Whether it's catering cuisine from the black diaspora, having a featured black author for your monthly book club or a break-out karaoke session featuring a song list by black creators, it can be a month full of fun.
As long as you prioritize bringing people together while celebrating differences, you’ll have an incredible February to remember.