It’s Black History Month, the annual celebration of the history, achievements and contributions of black people in the UK.
Celebrating Black history doesn’t mean singling out members of your workforce based on their racial identity. Rather, your organisation should work to create opportunities for your entire workforce to come together to listen, learn and discover ways to take action towards racial justice. It’s important that all employees feel seen, heard and involved. Here are a few ways to bring your workforce together to better understand the significance of this month:
- Host a happy hour to discuss Black History. Race-related discussions can be a little uncomfortable in the workplace, and that’s okay. Sometimes, we need to experience some discomfort in order to find ways to make progress. Racial identity aside, your employees have stories to tell and lessons to learn. Remind them that this is a friendly social hour and that it is a safe, judgment-free space. Invite employees to ask questions, share personal or historical experiences and just enjoy the company of their coworkers.
- Start a “reading” club. Ask your teams to share their favourite educational books, articles, documentaries, films or podcasts highlighting Black history. Alternatively, your organisation can offer up some relevant reading, watching or listening materials to take the pressure off your workforce.
- Create a digital board for employees to continue to learn and grow together. Invite your workforce to join a digital community where they can engage in friendly and constructive conversations about the things they’re learning, seeing, hearing or want to know more about related to Black History Month, equity in the workplace, social change and more.
- Make the most of this awareness month by taking steps to educate your workforce with the help of experts and thought leaders. Bringing in an outside perspective can inspire and align your employees and organisational leaders on the mission to fight racial bias and injustice in and outside of the workplace.
- Invite employees to a lunch and learn. This could involve short virtual sessions with experts, Q&As with the leadership team or DEI task force, employee forum discussions or team-building activities with an educational twist. Better yet, dedicate this time to a culture-boosting anti-bias or DE&I training. Find Ways to Give Back.
Looking Beyond Black History Month
One month is simply not enough time to cover the history, accomplishments and persisting needs of Black communities and individuals, but it can be an impactful starting point. Organisations have a unique advantage when it comes to driving meaningful change within their communities and improving health equity by centering their workplace culture around diversity, equity, inclusion and employee wellbeing. Understanding your role as a workplace leader in the fight against racial injustice is crucial as you plan your approach to addressing inequities, unconscious bias, cultural expression and wellbeing in the workplace.
Gain better insight into the pivotal role employers play in empowering marginalised employees to improve their overall wellbeing with our full list of DE&I resources, and head into November with the knowledge and tools to create a strong, equitable workplace culture in 2023 and beyond.
DEI is at the center of everything we do. If you’re prioritising DEI, check out our DEI Toolkit.