Don’t Miss This Opportunity in Your History & Heritage Month Planning

2022 Heritage Months are just around the corner with Black History Month coming in fast. As we consider highlighting history, cultural events, and other educational opportunities for people outside of the community to reflect and expand their understanding, let us not miss the mark by neglecting to consider employees of the centered-community, too, as direct beneficiaries of these heritage month efforts.

Here are just a few ideas to round out your heritage month communications and efforts:

  1. Highlight. Spotlight or profile Rising Stars or other leaders at varying levels within the organization in your newsletter or other communication channels. As you do this, consider all the various places this feature could be placed, in and outside of the solely DEI-focused channels (intranet homepage, DEI newsletter, practice or form-wide communication, LinkedIn/social media Ambassador programs, recruiting materials, etc.) And please make the profiles fun!
  2. Reveal. Share the firm’s initiatives to support employees of the respective community. Whether it is leadership development programs, recruiting initiatives, mentorship programs or other efforts, you can focus on highlights of the initiative, it’s impact/outcomes, and how to get involved.
  3. Invest. Offer rewards — a learning stipend, conference attendance, event tickets, or other rewards in line with your business — to Employee Resource Group (ERG) Leadership or diverse leadership program participants and share the pictures/testimonials. Also, if you had little to “reveal,” consider investing there.
  4. Access. Create opportunities for senior leaders to meet with diverse employees in a low-pressure way that promotes personal relationship building (networking events or coffee, article or book discussion, discussions about career highlights and challenges, etc.).

In Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), we know there is so much work to do around educating, raising awareness, and engaging others around our causes. Still, it is crucial to center the highlighted communities in ways that empower and elevate, to have them be a very real part of the conversation, and not have them merely bear witness to (and often, plan) activities designed for others to learn about their culture. Hosting cultural events and activities are so important but they cannot be the crux of diverse employee engagement. I hope this article sparked some reflection and ideas for your upcoming heritage month planning and communications strategies. Remember, it’s never too late to incorporate.



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