8 Significant Methods to Have fun Black Historical past Month at Work

What number of of you had a devoted African American historical past unit in February—Black Historical past Month—as a part of your highschool curriculum?


For these in the US, it’s pretty widespread for colleges to acknowledge Black Historical past Month. However as we become old, mandated training and celebration of African American historical past will get much less widespread. It is a whole bummer and a misplaced alternative! It additionally doesn’t assist that February is a brief month.

However let’s not dwell on the unfavorable. There’s a lot positivity that may be celebrated in that quick time frame!

As President Gerald Ford mentioned in 1976 when he formally acknowledged Black Historical past Month, we have to “seize the chance to honor the too-often uncared for accomplishments of black Individuals in each space of endeavor all through our historical past.”

Together with within the office. 🤗

Need assistance getting your management crew on board?

Download 11 DEI Statistics That Will Change How You Do Business

Why can we have fun Black Historical past Month?

Black Historical past Month really began as Negro Historical past Week in 1917. Creator, journalist, and historian Carter G. Woodson—now appropriately acknowledged because the “father of black historical past”—lobbied vigorously for the nationwide recognition of Black tales and views. Woodson believed deeply that equality was solely attainable with the acknowledgment and understanding of a race’s historical past, and devoted his life to the research of African American historic analysis.

“Since its inception, Black Historical past Month has by no means been only a celebration of black America’s achievements and tales—it’s a part of a deliberate political technique to be acknowledged as equal residents.”
Dr. Theodore R. Johnson

Woodson additionally hoped that the time would come when Black Historical past Month can be pointless. Sadly, we’ve got an extended technique to go.

So, how does this relate to the office? There’s a plethora of analysis that covers the racism, discrimination, and unfair therapy that Black workers face. This perspective persists regardless of the efforts of variety initiatives.black-employee-successes-01

As HR professionals, it’s as much as us to set the usual of the best way to eradicate discrimination and bias—acutely aware and unconscious—and, within the course of, encourage the inclusion of all workers. Recognizing and celebrating workers’ racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds might be efficient in constructing psychological security and worker engagement. Thus, celebrating Black Historical past Month within the office is a superb technique to obtain that aim.

“Let reality destroy the dividing prejudice of nationality and educate common love with out distinction of race, advantage or rank.”
–Carter G. Woodson

Celebrating Black Historical past Month within the office finest practices

Race within the office is usually a sensitive topic, and plenty of organizations attempt to be “colorblind” in a misguided try at establishing equality.

In actual fact, when corporations downplay demographic variations, this really simply will increase underrepresented workers’ notion of bias from their white colleagues and reduces engagement of their work. 😬

So, finest observe #1: Don’t be colorblind. Your workers ought to have the ability to overtly talk about, embrace, and be pleased with their cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Embrace your variations!

With this in thoughts, let’s cowl another Black Historical past Month—and any cultural or ethnic celebration—finest practices!

Make it a company-wide effort


Within the spirit of inclusivity, everybody in your group must be inspired to take part with enthusiasm. It shouldn’t be the only real accountability of Black workers to prepare their very own recognition, and also you’ll discover that it’s transformative to have workers of each background collaborating and studying throughout Black Historical past Month.

Don’t single anybody out

Alongside the identical strains, you shouldn’t assume that somebody desires to be concerned in your Black Historical past Month planning merely due to their ethnic background. That locations the burden of accountability on them, and in the event that they’re a visual minority at your office, they could really feel tokenized about their function at your office—particularly if this initiative is a brand new factor at your organization. Keep in mind, for finest outcomes, you need to be recognizing all your workers, all 12 months spherical.

Uncover methods to help Black colleagues within the office through our digital occasion recording: Foundations of Anti-Black Bias within the Office

Contemplate areas of progress

“However wait!” you say, “What if my office doesn’t have Black workers, or isn’t very numerous in any respect?”

That is undoubtedly a superb consideration! It’s essential to know your group’s areas of progress, and Black Historical past Month is a superb alternative to try this. Should you discover your organization missing in its variety, fairness, and inclusion practices, why not take the time to look at your present recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding processes?

Chances are high, your fellow crew members will recognize and welcome your efforts. In a survey by Glassdoor, 57% of respondents imagine their employers might be doing extra to extend variety and inclusion. And when you’re an organization that intends to develop, two-thirds (67%) of lively and passive job seekers contemplate a various workforce to be an essential think about evaluating corporations to work for.


Belief us, and many years of analysis: a various and inclusive office is well worth the effort.

Okay, now that we’ve got these rules down, let’s dive into some precise concepts!

Black Historical past Month within the office concepts

There’s at all times a possibility to be taught one thing insightful once you take heed to a brand new perspective. From unconscious bias coaching to volunteering to an old school lecture from an skilled, there are many methods to acknowledge Black Historical past Month. Listed below are just a few:

Training 🧠

1. Usher in audio system

Put together to be starstruck! 🤩 Usher in influential authors, historians, or activists to talk to your workers about race relations, civil rights, and different vital subjects surrounding Black identification.

Panel discussions permit for a number of audio system to bounce concepts round for a radical dialog, whereas shows can actually spotlight a speaker’s space of experience. Whichever type your organization goes with, it’s positive to be an enticing and thought-provoking expertise.

2. Plan a workshopteam-building-puzzle-01

Whereas there’s often nonetheless a predominant speaker or facilitator concerned, workshops are distinctive in that individuals are often inspired to be hands-on and suppose critically about what they’re studying. You’ll be working, not simply listening!

At Bonusly, we have accomplished Paradigm’s Managing Unconscious Bias Workshop at our annual firm retreat. Whereas indirectly associated to Black Historical past Month, this workshop will make clear and tackle the problems many Black workers face within the office right this moment.

3. Manage a guide membership

Studying nonfiction or fiction books by Black authors is usually a poignant and significant technique to acknowledge Black Historical past Month. Bonus factors when you usher in a facilitator to information and benefit from your discussions. There are so, so many glorious books by Black authors. For starters, The Stacks makes lists of their favourite books and so they at all times advocate an incredible number of Black authors.

Right here’s a fast checklist of latest hits from the Bonusly crew:


So You Need to Speak About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Wayward Lives, Lovely Experiments by Saidiya Hartman

The Hearth This Time: A New Technology Speaks about Race, an anthology edited by Jesmyn Ward

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Tips on how to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi


Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler


Firms which have the very best charges of variety and inclusion are those that succeed. To get buy-in from key stakeholders:

Download 11 DEI Statistics That Will Change How You Do Business


Service 💡

4. Volunteer

Volunteering with native nonprofits and charities is a superb approach to assist the group, bond along with your crew members, and even encourage engagement and motivation within the office!

Lending your help as a company is uniquely highly effective as a result of you may carry loads of serving to arms to a challenge, however you can too kind company partnerships and create lasting relationships by establishing internships, apprenticeships, or recruiting packages.

your personal group higher than we do, however Black Women CODE, Nationwide Society of Black Engineers, and My Brother’s Keeper Alliance are good locations to start out when you’re searching for nationwide Black-led organizations!

5. Donate

Pool your sources collectively or prepare a fundraiser to help racial justice. Generally, the reward of cash is probably the most impactful factor you can provide to a charity, particularly in relation to training or authorized funds. We advocate trying out The Sentencing Challenge, Thurgood Marshall Faculty Fund, and the NAACP Protection and Instructional Fund.

It’s additionally price it to look into Traditionally-Black Schools or Universities (HBCUs). Contemplate establishing a scholarship fund and even mentorship alternatives!


Inclusion 💚

6. Replicategraphs-charts-01

As we talked about, Black Historical past Month is a superb time to consider your organization’s present variety and inclusion efforts and make modifications as wanted. Groups with inclusive cultures outperform their friends by a staggering 80%, however solely about 11% of organizations can say that they’ve really inclusive environments. There may be at all times room to enhance.

Don’t know the place to start out? We love this quote from our buddies at Officevibe:

“Keep in mind that your group and its folks don’t exist individually from the world, that means that it’s essential take note of how world occasions may have an effect on your workers.”

Be considerate: do you create protected areas to debate present occasions affecting your crew members’ communities? Or do you keep silent? Each group and particular person crew member has completely different help wants, however displaying you care and bringing these workers into the fold can massively have an effect on their sense of belonging and inclusion.

Among the finest methods to foster inclusion is by in search of out and listening to the views and opinions of these you’re attempting to incorporate. Attain out to Black leaders in your group and get their enter on how they want to be acknowledged throughout Black Historical past Month and past.

7. Collaborate

Take it a step additional by establishing a variety, fairness, and inclusion committee at your group. This act reveals that your organization is devoted to creating your crew surroundings a greater place, and encourages a free-flowing of concepts and suggestions between workers and management.

8. Acknowledgerecognize-black-employees-01

We firmly imagine that worker recognition is essential to constructing inclusive workplaces.

Tradition Amp and Paradigm surveyed over 7,000 people from 35 organizations and located {that a} sense of belonging was the one metric that was persistently and universally tied to office dedication, motivation, satisfaction, and advice.

Moreover, the correlation between belonging and engagement was stronger for underrepresented teams.

Is sensible, doesn’t it? A method to make sure extra individuals are acknowledged is to diversify the events answerable for giving recognition. And by pairing inclusive rewards with that recognition, you may amplify its results.

Contemplating that government boards and management positions are typically much less numerous, the straightforward act of implementing a 360-degree peer recognition program at your office could make a giant distinction in your inclusion metrics.

Kickstart your DEI initiatives with this useful resource!

Download 11 DEI Statistics That Will Change How You Do Business

Subsequent steps

February is a brief month, so if you wish to implement Black Historical past Month actions meaningfully and thoughtfully, begin quickly! 👏

Has this put up sparked inspiration? Inform us within the feedback beneath, or try these extra sources from Bonusly:

Need much more worker engagement sources? Test this out! 👇

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