This year, we decided to celebrate Black History Month at PayScale.
Black history means so much to me as a Black man. So, I decided to lead a team of PayScale employees to create an event intended to center the experiences and celebrate the achievements of the Black Community, discuss what allyship looks like in practice, provide opportunities to network and support black-owned businesses and artists.
We’re calling this event Black Excellence. It will feature a panel of four successful Black professionals who will share their experiences and stories. If you’re in Seattle on February 21 and you’d like to attend, you can register on EventBrite.
Why We’re Celebrating Black History Month at Work
To, me, celebrating Black History Month is about recognizing and celebrating our character and strengths: Pride, Knowledge, Power, Intelligence, Strength and Patience.
- Pride – We are lucky enough to live in a time when we can openly express ourselves and be true to who we are, whether it’s through clothing, tattoos, hair, art, voice, etc. It’s amazing to be free of constraints on who we can be.
- Knowledge – Without knowledge, we stay stagnant. Knowledge of our past not only helps us appreciate what those before us conquered, but it can also help steer us in the direction of positivity. This can help us to avoid repeating some of the terrible things that happened in this country’s history.
- Power – Our influence as a people is unmatched. We must provide a positive outlook and perspective to those who may not understand that our power is highly beneficial not only to our own community, but to all people.
- Intelligence – We take the knowledge we possess and turn ideas into action, whether it’s Garrett Morgan inventing the traffic light or LeBron James opening a school for underprivileged youth.
- Strength – Historically, we have been one of the strongest groups of people on the planet. Whatever happens, we have to stand together in unity to show that we are a strong, driven community that will always prevail.
- Patience – Through experience, we have learned that we may not reach our goals today or tomorrow, but if we are patient, we will only succeed and prosper in the long run.
I am putting together this event because I want people to become educated on issues and events from the past, and become more aware in the present and future. I believe people coming together helps enrich knowledge of the beautiful history and achievements of Black people in this country, as well as create a brighter tomorrow for all.
Also, I’d like to be a role model for those who are searching for role models. Growing up, I did not have many people to look up to that looked like me, so I truly hope this event can bridge that gap for anyone that may have had, or is dealing with a similar experience.
Black history should be shared and celebrated openly among all individuals, regardless of skin color. As a Black man, I am always accepting of and excited for individuals who try to understand a position with which they are unfamiliar. I believe it’s good for people to step out of their comfort zones to gain a better/more realistic perception of any situation, and it helps improve our community as a whole.
Diversity Improves the Bottom Line
Embracing diversity and inclusion is not only a moral issue. It’s a business issue.
The case for diversity improving the bottom line is well-documented. In McKinsey & Company’s 2015 report, Why Diversity Matters, companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity were more likely to have financial returns above their national industry median. The data suggest that when companies commit themselves to diversity they are better able to attract top talent, improve employee satisfaction and decision-making, and be more customer-oriented.
But having a diverse workforce doesn’t automatically translate into an inclusive culture. It takes intentional effort to create an environment where all employees feel a sense of belonging. I would argue that fostering understanding of all employees’ cultures and experiences is a prerequisite to creating an inclusive work environment. Presenting information that will help people understand every individual in a community is a critical step to creating a healthy workplace.
PayScale’s People team played an instrumental role in making this event a reality. They provided us with resources and logistical support. Through their actions, they’ve made it clear that PayScale is a company that truly values employee wellness, happiness and growth. I’ve had countless colleagues share how excited they are for the event. It’s truly a blessing to have an idea, create a plan and have it come to life because of the surrounding support.