- Education is an important aspect of Black History Month, and many organizations choose to provide their employees with resources they can use to learn more about Black history and experiences.
- Many companies also host and sponsor events, support diversity in their operations and supply chains, and make donations to organizations that support the Black community.
- While Black History Month is a great time to launch new initiatives, the actions organizations take beyond the month are just as important.
Jaylon is a member of BUILD, a diversity network within UKG that was created to foster inclusion and advancement for Black employees at all levels, as well as transform the tech industry so that it reflects the diversity of its users.
Since 1976, Black History Month has been an opportune time for Black history and culture to be highlighted. Individuals, communities, and even organizations take the month of February to learn more about how to support the Black community. Check out these initiatives that your company can host to celebrate Black History Month.
Consider sending company-wide communications or utilizing your intranet to provide employees the following information:
- Why is Black History Month important?
- Why does our company celebrate Black History Month?
- Internal and external resources for employees within the company to learn more about Black History Month (i.e. videos, articles, webinars).
- Company-sponsored events where employees can actively participate
Spotlight Events in Black History that Directly Correlate to Your Industry
Spotlighting events within Black history that directly correlate to your industry can foster even more appreciation among employees regarding contributions that have been made to your field. For instance, if your field is distribution and transportation you may want to highlight individuals such as Garret Morgan, who invented the traffic signal, or Granville T. Woods, who made a number of contributions via his inventions to the railroad industry. On the other hand, if your field is technology, consider individuals such as Mark Dean, who invented the technology that allows printers, keyboards, and mice to be plugged into and communicate with computers, as well as co-invented IBM’s original personal computer.
Host Black History Month Events
Go the extra mile and host an event! This could be an amazing way to engage and connect with stakeholders that interact with your company every day — including customers, employees, partners, shareholders, and the general public. There are many examples of events that could be hosted and could take a number of forms — including trivia nights, exhibitions, and even full on concerts and theatrical productions! What is important in determining the right event for your organization to host is the event’s goal and audience: What impact do you want to this event to have, and who do you want to have an impact on?
Customer Promotion and Operations Strategy
Providing customers an outlet to support the Black community through your products/services is a prime way to celebrate Black History Month. Some companies have entire sections of their websites dedicated to allowing customers to make purchases related to Black History Month. Some popular streaming services even have entire areas on their platforms dedicated to celebrating Black culture and history.
Another option is to consider the company’s strategy as it relates to operations and supply chains: Do opportunities exist within your business to consider sourcing more materials and services from Black-owned businesses? Is your current workforce strategy inclusive when considering hiring, scheduling, and compensation?
Donate and Volunteer
An additional action to consider is donating resources to causes that positively affect the Black community. These resources could take a variety of forms — including monetary donation to a charity, providing free consultations to Black-owned businesses, or even volunteering time at organizations that work every day to improve the Black community. Such contributions are bound to make a huge, positive difference in the lives of many people.
Most Importantly, Keep It Going!
Engaging in activities is important and well-appreciated during Black History Month; however, what is important is what happens after February — how will your company’s ongoing activities and practices continue to reinforce diversity best practices internally and externally moving forward? Do you have positions or groups within your company that are devoted to DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging) for the company as-a-whole? How will you measure employees’ satisfaction with your current practices? There is always room for continued improvement.
Want to learn more about how to improve DEIB for your organization as a whole? Consider learning about our Equity at Work Council and join the conversation today!