Every February, Americans across the country celebrate Black History Month. This annual celebration recognizes the achievements of members of the African-American community, both past and present, and the central role they played in our nation’s history.
Many businesses and organizations around the U.S. view February as a chance to celebrate diversity & inclusion by planning black history month activities.
Although the celebration recently concluded at the end of February, if you’re looking for new and engaging ways to plan to celebrate Black History Month at your workplace next year or to continue celebrating diversity throughout the year, then we are here to share some ideas with you.
1) Spotlight Black Leaders within Your Organization
A great place to start is to look within your organization to identify and highlight leaders of color within your own ranks. Show that your organization is both progressive and inclusive; that it welcomes the talents, insights and different perspectives that diverse employees offer.
Create PowerPoint slides or other monitor displays that can rotate and showcase profiles of your organization’s minority leaders. Hold an event for employees to get together and meet these diverse leaders from across your organization.
Bärí A. Williams, head of business operations at StubHub North America, said in an article in Fortune:
“Diversity gets people into the room, but inclusion keeps them there. True diversity is about more than just numbers; it must come with a heavy dose of inclusion. That means a company must be intentional about creating and fostering a culture where everyone has a seat at the table, not just entry to the room to watch as a bystander.”
In the 2000s, there had been a push for diversity in the upper ranks of large corporations that later stalled out and has seemingly started to reverse. According to The Atlantic, there were only four black CEOs in the Fortune 500 in 2017. This number peaked with seven black CEOs in 2007.
Looking internally to highlight the diverse leaders within your own organization shows that everyone has a seat at the table.
According to Josh Bersin, a top HR influencer and founder of Bersin™:
“Diversity and inclusion is not an HR strategy; it is a business strategy. Not only do diverse workplaces attract people from a wider sample, research also shows that teams that operate in an inclusive culture outperform their peers by a staggering 80 percent.”
2) Bring in a Guest Speaker to Share Their Insights
When you bring guest speakers, specifically accomplished minorities, to speak with your employees, you are giving them a chance to share their unique insights and experiences with your organization. By enabling your black employees to speak with and learn from similar successful professionals, it can inspire them to seek out leadership opportunities for themselves. Furthermore, it provides an opening to address a variety of topics about embracing diversity and crossing cultural barriers.
3) Engage Employees with Black History Month Trivia
You can share facts and bits of information via company emails, share information about black industry leaders on bulletin boards in the company break rooms, or create a black history historical timeline. There are many informative resources available online, including the official African American History Month website and the History Channel’s Black History Month website.
Furthermore, you can include trivia about significant moments in African-American history as Black History Month activities for adults. This can feature information about prominent leaders, celebrities, and key historical figures who paved the way for black Americans today.
4) Create Mentorship Opportunities
Mentorships offer a unique opportunity for less experienced employees to be taken under the wing of someone more senior in experience. These learning opportunities enable professionals to forge new connections, build relationships, and receive insights, advice, and support from people that they can both relate to and look up to within their organization.
5) Assess and Identify any Diversity Issues Within Your Organization
For leaders who are looking for Black History Month celebration ideas for the workplace, you can take this time to assess the current state of your organization. Carefully examine your organization’s policies and procedures to determine whether there is anything that can be improved or if there are changes that can be implemented to improve diversity.
If you are looking for ways to increase or improve the diversity & inclusion within your organization, be sure to check out Big Think’s Diversity & Inclusion course. The course features video lessons with Big Think experts, missions, and guided peer-to-peer discussions. Click on the banner below to learn more.