On top of last week’s guidelines and guardrails for commemorating Black History Month, today we’re offering some ideas for how employers can engage their employees in a meaningful way:
- Organize distinguished speaker panels and fireside chats. Feature industry leaders and trailblazers from inside and outside the organization.
- Refresh DEI education and training. (Re)consider curricula around managing diverse teams, interrupting bias in the workplace and facilitating difficult DEI-related conversations.
- Host cultural events and activities. Profile the “Hidden Figures” of Black history. Design programming exploring big ideas conceived by— but rarely attributed to— Black Americans, considering the full tapestry, history and breadth of the Black diaspora present in America.
- Build the Black talent pipeline. During BHM (but not only during BHM), participate in virtual recruitment fairs and career panels in partnership with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
- Encourage employee volunteerism. Integrate activities into larger CSR efforts as longer-term partnerships to deliver meaningful and lasting impact by addressing the root causes of inequities.
- Pursue corporate philanthropy. Consider offering financial support to nonprofits focused on racial justice and equity. Conduct due diligence and thoroughly vet for potentially controversial and divisive issues to avoid reputational risks.
- Organize movie screenings, virtual museum tours, podcasts and book reviews. Consult with a DEI advisor on enlightening podcasts, books and movies that deepen awareness and build knowledge about the lived Black experience. Follow up in small groups with discussion prompts.
- Plan social media activity and company websites dedicated to BHM commemoration. Spotlight employees and other heroes who broke the color barrier within the organization or industry. Correctly credit images and quotes.
- Deepen existing relationships with Black-owned businesses and forge new ones. Partner with diverse supplier networks, provide education and conduct audits to determine what legal, financial and regulatory barriers to entry may exist for diverse vendors.