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The Positive Impact of Black History Month on Hiring Practices

The Positive Impact of Black History Month on Hiring Practices by Goodwin Recruiting

The annual monthlong celebration of Black History Month is one of the longest-standing social justice movements in U.S. history. Last year, we shared these 28 important but overlooked facts – to share one remarkable triumph for each day of the month. And although this year is a leap year with 29 days, the 28 facts from that prior blog shine a compelling spotlight on the vast achievements and contributions that African Americans continue to bestow on our society and within our workforce. 

Awareness raised during Black History Month can and does influence recruitment processes and hiring practices at American companies. Here are three big ways that this time of national observance makes a positive impact.

1. It is a capstone event that promotes the benefits of a diverse workforce

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has become a core business function and imperative for success. Black History Month encourages companies and hiring managers to recognize the value of DEI initiatives within the work environment. These efforts, when undertaken, positively influence hiring practices and create a more inclusive workplace culture for companies and their team members.  

In addition to this great opportunity to celebrate Black History, February is also Ethnic Equality Month. Jeff Haber, a DEI-certified senior recruiter with Goodwin Recruiting, shared the big benefits of a hiring initiative that has an intentional focus on racial equity in his article entitled, “The Importance of Ethnic Equality in Hiring.”  

2. Companies use Black History Month to openly reaffirm inclusive practices  

Global Research and Consulting Group (GRC) notes how executives have invested in DEI initiatives in nearly every aspect of business. This ranges from talent recruitment to community engagement and even the composition of executive leadership, with the addition of a Chief Diversity Officer to many executive boards due to the value that diversity brings to performance and company reputation.  

Black History Month is used by employers to generate awareness of their commitments to DEI and inclusive work cultures, from internal communications and new programming to many external efforts. External activities range from social media engagement to promoting DEI initiatives in job postings, making contributions to Black History nonprofits and far beyond.  

3. Diversity networking, training, and internal events rise during February

Companies increasingly engage in diversity networking during Black History Month to expand their talent pools with people from diverse backgrounds. From attending career fairs to working with minority professional groups and associations, hiring managers are finding and attracting exceptional job candidates from underrepresented groups to fill key roles. 

Diversity training is also top-of-mind for companies during Black History Month, when leaders, hiring managers, and employee resource groups (ERG) reinforce their commitments to equitable opportunities. These efforts lead to higher talent acquisition and retention rates, increased employee satisfaction and engagement, closer alignment with diverse customer bases, and more diverse solutions and ideas that lead to company innovation and advancement.  

Advancements in fair hiring practices over the past century  

In the 1920s and 1930s, most of the U.S. African American population was employed in domestic and personal services; the iron, steel, textile, railroad, and metal industries; and as general laborers.  

Workers faced severe exclusion and discrimination in employment, but fair hiring practices have been written into law over the past 100+ years. Today, it is illegal for an employer to recruit employees in a way that discriminates against them because of their race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information.  

Today, while Black Americans account for about 13% of all full-time, part-time, and self-employed U.S. workers (more than 21 million people), research shows that discrimination in hiring continues, as well as in compensation and advancement. About four in 10 U.S. Black workers (41%) say they have experienced discrimination or been treated unfairly by an employer in hiring, pay, or promotions because of their race or ethnicity – and more than 50% say that being Black makes it harder to succeed where they work.  

Building awareness during and surrounding Black History Month and Ethnic Equality Month is helping to stem that tide, but there is more work to be done.  

Ongoing improvements take more than a month  

Diversity-minded companies strive year-round to improve and fortify their talent recruitment efforts. These companies know that sustainable change is achieved through stalwart commitments to DEI programs and strategies. Most of all, they understand the challenges that underrepresented groups face in the workforce, and they’re committed to eliminating those challenges within their organizations – for the benefit of their people, their communities, and their companies.  

Find diverse top talent through Goodwin Recruiting  

In 2020, when the pandemic accelerated unemployment and racial unrest, we were decisive in anchoring ourselves in the moment to make diversity and inclusion and the fight against racism a top priority – immediately and for the long term. That is why we engraved DEI into our set of Core Values 

“When you can bring together different people with varying perspectives and unique life experiences, then they bring to the table different ideas, insights, and solutions to different kinds of problems – and that’s what makes the best kind of team and company culture.” — Allegra Highsmith, Vice President of Recruiting, Goodwin Recruiting 

Let our expert recruiters help you find the most outstanding talent for your team and newfound success in 2024. And from all of us at Goodwin Recruiting, please join us in celebrating Black History Month!