October 2022 is Black History Month in the U.K. It is important that employers know how to appropriately and actively support this in their companies.
In this blog, we are going to give you tips and advice for supporting Black History Month in a way that is respectful and helpful for all members of staff. We believe in workplace inclusion and diversity, and we believe that awareness and learning about these topics can help everyone. So we intend to share as much of that information as we can.
Let’s get straight into those tips…
Learn About the History and Culture of Your Area, and Share that Knowledge
When you are starting to think about celebrating Black History, you can begin with your own area. Taking the time to learn about the BAME community and their culture and history within your own specific area or region helps to make things relevant and contemporary to your staff. Not only is it interesting, but it will also help people relate to the issues you are talking about and bring them closer to home.
You can start with an email campaign or a series of social media posts where you share any information you learn with your members of staff.
Support Black Businesses
Black History Month is a great time to support black businesses. While we should always be doing this when we can, we can use this time to specifically focus on black businesses and give them as much support as possible.
If you are hiring caterers for Black History Month events, using external training companies, going to restaurants or public businesses, purchasing flyers, brochures or paper items, and so on, try and source black-owned business owners first and foremost.
Appoint a BAME Team to Organise and Lead Events
It is important that for Black History Month events that you organise and lead at work, you form a team of black members of staff to do so. Black people should take the lead on these events and their voices should be listened to about any events being run.
It doesn’t mean that people of other ethnicities don’t get to be involved in anything to do with Black History Month, that isn’t the aim. The aim is to make sure that black voices and opinions are prioritised in events that concern their identity and culture.
If you don’t have enough black employees for this to be possible, it is worth looking into your EDI figures and considering why this might be the case. Monitoring demographics at work can help you determine if there are biases and discriminatory practices in parts of your recruitment processes and employment practices.
Run Training on Important Issues
As well as fun and celebration, Black History Month is a great time to spread awareness about important issues, including but not limited to:
- Inclusive language
- Unconscious bias
- Discrimination and harassment
- Racism in recruitment
- Racism in promotion processes
Running training and information sessions on these issues can be hugely beneficial for everyone in the office.
Involve All Members of Staff
While black people need to be at the forefront of everything you do at work during Black History Month, that doesn’t mean that anyone else should be excluded. Don’t see any events, sessions, or information as something only aimed at black people in the office. Everything should be spread to everyone in the office and everyone should be involved. Especially when it comes to training and learning.
For black people to have more equal opportunities at work, change and improvement need to involve all communities of people. We need to come together and know that we are doing all we can to eliminate bias, tackle discrimination, and improve overall well-being and security for black people in employment.
Black History Month is for all of us to celebrate and support black people. We should all be doing that at work and we should all be doing it well.
Hopefully, these tips will help you and your office be on your way to a happy, healthy, and supportive Black History Month this year.
And don’t forget, it doesn’t stop when the month is over. Keep the momentum going and implement the practices you have learned into everyday work practices. That is where try inclusion and diversity can happen.
How to Become an Inclusive Employer
If you want to fully support and celebrate the BAME community in your workplace, we can help you at Aspiring to Include.
Our information, resources, and tools can support you through your journey to becoming an inclusive, diversity-positive employer.
You can check out our range of services and see what we have to offer employers. You can also take a look at our inclusive job board and see how we help employers connect with the diverse job seekers they are looking for.
Everything gets better when we work together, so let’s do it.