Different Ways to Celebrate Black History Month at Work

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According to some research, since the 1970s, the white unemployment rate has been about half of the black unemployment rate. With a looming recession, this issue is becoming even worse. Your company should implement diversity initiatives to help you target some of the top black talent. 

But what can help recruiters hire a more diverse workforce? Improving diversity in your workforce and having initiatives might persuade people to work at your company. In one survey,80% of people said they want to work in an office that promotes diversity. 

One diversity initiative you can promote is hosting events during Black History Month at work. But how can you do that? Keep reading for a few Black History month events and ideas you can use at your workplace. 

What Is Black History Month?

The United States celebrates Black History Month every February. In 1917, there was a Negro History Week, but this week actually ended up falling on Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday. To maximize the celebration, it was turned into a celebration that lasted the whole month.

President Gerald Ford formally established February as Black History Month in 1976. But what does this mean for people in the workplace?

There is still a lot of research that says that black employees face discrimination and unequal treatment at the workplace even today. As an HR professional, you should help your company eradicate this in your company.

Instead, celebrate Black History Month to recognize and celebrate employees’ cultural, racial, or ethnic backgrounds.

Bring in Speakers

One way you can honor Black History Month is to educate your employees. You can do this by hosting events and bringing in speakers to talk to your employees about issues like civil rights, race relations, or diversity. You can even watch Black History documentaries or learn about African American history.

You can bring in activists, historians, authors, or coaches for your employees. If you have the time and resources, you could even hold a panel discussion to let multiple people speak and give your employees a chance to ask questions. 

Whatever you decide to choose, make sure that the event is thought-provoking and engaging. 

Focus on Your Employee’s Stories

February is a great month to focus on highlighting your black team members and their voices and accomplishments. They’re a great asset to your company, and this is the perfect time to celebrate them. 

Some companies will post videos or photos internally, but some will also do external features on newsletters or social media. However, before sharing your employee’s accomplishments publicly, get their permission first. 

By doing this, you show your black employees that you care about them and want to elevate their voices. It’ll also be great for your employer brand if you do it externally, and other applicants will realize that you’re an excellent diverse company to work for. 

Allow Time Off to Volunteer

To empower your employees, you can allow time off during Black History Month for them to volunteer at an approved nonprofit that benefits African Americans.

For example, employees can volunteer at places like the National Society of Black Engineers, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, and Black Girls CODE. There are likely many black-led organizations in your area as well. 

This can empower people and get their hands on a project and make a difference in their community. When employees come back to work after time off and do something rewarding, they’ll be more motivated at work. 

This could also help your company network with other possible applicants in the future!

Donate

It’s also essential for companies to show their employees how to invest their own time and energy into these organizations and initiatives. It will also help improve your company culture and employee morale.

For example, you can start matching employees’ donations to Black History Month organizations or projects. You may even want to find your nonprofits to donate to as well. 

The best strategy is to find out which community areas resonate with your employees and then focus your energy on that.

Support Black-Owned Businesses

If you have the time, you can have a teamwork event to have lunch at a black-owned business. You can make it a theme to go out every Friday for lunch as a team to these locally-owned businesses. Or go out and find Black artists that you want to support.

By supporting black-owned businesses, you’re celebrating the empowerment and success of African Americans and helping them thrive in the local and black communities. 

If you’re not sure which businesses are the best ones to support, ask your employees for recommendations or companies and stores they would like to support. 

Focus on Diversity Year-Round

While celebrating Black History Month is important, your company shouldn’t focus on diversity just for February. Focusing on this year-round can improve your diversity initiatives and make everyone feel more welcome at your company. If you haven’t focused on diversity and inclusion much, this is a great moment to start focusing on your diversity and support your black employees. 

You might want to do this by creating new diversity initiatives or groups, promoting Employee Resource Groups, or educating your employees and managers. 

Keep in mind that if you’re going to focus on diversity training, you should leave that up to the professionals. Developing initiatives internally can help, but unless you’re an expert in diversity, it might be better to let professionals handle it since it is a sensitive subject. 

This kind of training can help people learn how to deal with racial issues and tackle them head-on with empathy and sensitivity rather than just ignoring them or tiptoeing around it. 

If all of your employees are remote and unable to attend an in-person workshop, you might want to host a Zoom conference. You can invite professionals to train your employees over Zoom and give them workshops and exercises. Then, they can hold a conversation about the training afterward, so everyone feels comfortable and understood with your company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Recruit a More Diverse Workforce

Having diversity in your business often starts in the recruitment process. That’s why one of the best ways to celebrate Black History Month at work is by having recruiters focus on hiring diverse candidates.

There are many ways to reduce bias in the hiring process by using AI technology that can source candidates for a position, have a blind review process or include unbiased language in a job posting. 

If you’re struggling with your recruiting process and need help finding diverse candidates for your position, Recruiter.com can help!

Contact us today to learn how we can get you set up with the tools and resources you need to start creating your diverse workforce.

 

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By Alyssa Harmon