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Celebrating Black History Month in the Workplace

Every February we celebrate Black History Month. Spending this time recognizing the achievements and struggles of African Americans in the past and present is important. Each year, this month presents the opportunity for offices and workplaces to participate in both education and appreciation.

Why is it important to celebrate Black History Month in the Workplace?

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By honoring Black History Month, your organization shows integrity and appreciation toward the African American community. Making employees feel appreciated and listened to will always boost morale and make for better employee engagement.

Many companies have started to implement DEI strategies (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) year-round, and these strategies are highlighted during this month especially. Paycor has a great article on ways to celebrate Black History month in the office and they preface their ideas with best practices to keep in mind (source):

·    Don’t single anyone out. You cannot assume someone wants to be involved in your planning process simply because of their ethnic background.

·   Make sure it is a company-wide effort. Encourage everyone to participate. It shouldn’t be incumbent on Black employees to organize everything.

·   Don’t limit your learning to February. Schedule events and activities throughout the year that honor diverse backgrounds and cultures.

With diversity, empathy, and inclusion becoming increasingly mainstream in the workplace, celebrating Black History to the fullest is understood to be necessary. Every employee needs to know they are appreciated, seen, cared about, listened to, and represented.

If you’re stuck on how to honor Black History Month in your workplace, check our suggestions below:

Diversity Workshops: In a diverse work environment, it is never known what people of color can face if one is not in the same position. It is important that all employees are hands-on and think critically about what they’re learning.

Visuals and Decorations: Did you know the colors used to commemorate Black History Month are green, yellow, and red? Just putting up posters, or flags or color schemed decorations could go a long way to showing appreciation for the month.

Donate to Organizations: There are many organizations out there that work to preserve Black history and culture, support and enforce social reform, or build educational opportunities in their community. Choose one (or more!) in line with your organizational or personal values to donate to . Visit the follow website for ideas:  Black History Month Charity Navigator 

Highlight facts through internal messages: Keep Black History Month alive by sending information through daily company posts. Start off with something related to a specific topic. Consider taking the lead on researching and sharing something with your staff each morning.

Celebrate Virtually: Black History Month is all about sharing experiences with each other. A Netflix Party is a great way to bring your employees together with a more relaxed vibe. Be sure to have a movie that is both entertaining and informative and hold a post-movie discussion the next day at work. Read the how to here.

Through our careers, businesses, and the work we do in general, we have the power to influence mentalities and initiate positive change for better diversity and inclusion. While highlighting these facts and experiences is important this month, don’t limit these initiatives to only a month. Make sure to implement these ideas year-round and make your workplace equitable, diverse, and discrimination-free.

For more in-depth reading, check out this thought-provoking article from the Harvard Business Review: How to Promote Racial Equity in the Workplace

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