In honour and celebration of Black History month, WATMEC is sharing a blog from Dialectic Learning, one of the partners we work with when offering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training. This partner helps organizations improve the way people work, learn and celebrate through person-centered solutions. Their Learning Snippets help individuals and leaders understand their bias, promote dialogue and help us to better understand those around us. This is truly an important time to be evaluating how far we have come, and how much more work we need to do to truly address the issues.
Black History Month 2022:
5 Things We Can Learn from History
February is Black History Month, an internationally recognized celebration of the contributions Black people have made and a time to reflect on the continued struggle for racial justice. Without implementing meaningful change in our daily lives and into our workplaces, history is unfortunately bound to repeat itself.
Black History Month typically brings Black History Month campaigns, including webinars, social media posts, clothing releases, television specials and other content for consumers. At times, these gestures can come off as tone-deaf and performative, particularly when presented without context. This is a lost opportunity to make a real difference!
As we continue to navigate a time of heightened protests and movements calling for civil rights reforms, thinking critically in order to learn from our current and historical downfalls is more important than ever.
Recognizing and celebrating employees’ racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds can help you boost workplace belonging and employee engagement.
Here are 5 things you can do this Black History Month to move your organization’s allyship from performative to authentic:
- Don’t put the onus on your Black employees to educate their peers. There are great learning resources produced by Black professionals already available. Doing your own research around diversity and inclusion at this time will save your Black employees time and emotional energy.
- Recognize your organization is not perfect. Think critically about your own workplace. Do you create safe spaces to discuss current events affecting your team members’ communities? Do your policies and practices reflect your anti-racist values?
- Look into company-wide team building initiatives to get everyone on board. Black History Month is a great time to think about your company’s culture and make changes as needed. Teams with inclusive cultures can outperform their competition by up to 80%.
- Acknowledge the hard work your Black employees are doing every day. Employee recognition is crucial to building inclusive workplaces. It’s also a great motivator for repeating key behaviors in the workplace!
- Understand that “not seeing color” is not the goal. Difference is what makes us human. Your workplace should be an open environment, which enables your employees to openly discuss, embrace and be proud of their cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
As people leaders, we must set the standard of how to eradicate racism, discrimination and unfair treatment from our organizations – whether intentional or unintentional – to authentically encourage the inclusion of all employees.
“Black History Month 2022: 5 Things We Can Learn from History.” Dialectic, 2 Feb. 2022, https://dialectic.solutions/blog-posts/black-history-month-2021-5-things-we-can-learn-from-history/.
Dale Wilcox is president of WATMEC Limited. A Learning Strategist, she holds a CTDP from the former CSTD, and a Human Performance Improvement certificate from the former ASTD. For over 25 years she has been an award winner with WILEY and is certified to deliver and debrief all their assessments. Previously Dale was a Board member and inaugural chair of CSTD. She has over 45 years of Board member experience in both for profit and non-profits organizations. An entrepreneur at heart, this is her 4th business venture.