Celebrating African American History

By: John White
Feb 1, 2017 12:45 PM ET

During the month of February, the United States celebrates National African American History Month, a time to commemorate the many contributions and accomplishments of African Americans nationwide.  It’s also an opportunity to highlight the impact that African Americans have had on everything from technology to medicine. Taking time to reflect on these often hidden figures,  who have changed our country for the better, reminds us  of why diversity and inclusion continues to be such an important part of both our history and our future.

As companies consider the best ways to promote and celebrate federal heritage months in the workplace, leveraging employee insight can be critical to success.  While heritage months give companies a platform for reaffirming their commitment to diversity and inclusion, they must also engage employees and  offer enlightening and educational ways for them to learn more about unique  cultures and heritages. That said, African American History Month is a great time to focus on driving employee engagement through building connections, raising awareness and creating a safe place for open dialogue.

For maximum engagement, African American History Month campaigns should be multi-faceted and employee-led. Employee resource groups focused on African American issues can help plan and implement events and activities. For example, at Sodexo, our annual campaign is led by the African American Leadership Forum (AALF), an employee business resource group focused on promoting African American advancement and success in the workplace.  Their multi-pronged campaign educates coworkers on history and culture using social media, web updates, and as always, food. It’s an opportunity to drive the group’s mission and validate the business case that a diverse and engaged workforce ultimately leads to business success.

This and every month, we encourage you to reflect upon the significance of African American History and the impactful leaders that have paved a way for us to work, grow and thrive…together.