Here Is A Game That Will Help You Become More Aware
Updated: Mar 27
Discrimination, stereotyping and a lack of diversity creates a toxic corporate culture. This is a hot topic in the workplace and has spread to influence the planning of a company event and the activities thereof. Corporate event planners in Singapore are constantly challenged to ‘up their game’, keep events lively and be in the loop with corporate global demands.
Although team bonding activities are at the heart of such events — specific tools are required to shift unhealthy perceptions and increase the awareness levels among employees. As experienced event planners, we suggest role-playing games and activities that will allow participants to act out new roles. The idea is to play parts that they will never get to play at work and to put themselves in other’s shoes. Such games can be a Murder Mystery or a role-play 'Labeling' game where stereotyping and its effects are explored.
Participants get assigned a potentially sensitive ‘label’ which may trigger prejudice among team members. They then get to act out a scripted scenario which forces selection and group work — and inevitably — discrimination follows.
Two elements are key to the outcome value of this game; the labels (chosen stereotypes) and the reflective feedback once the game ends. Stereotyping occurs when people make assumptions about one another based a person’s gender, religion, culture or physical attributes but there are many more labels ‘lurking in the dark’. People may stereotype because of age, marital status, disability, health status, rank, status, recent failures or extroversion.
Here is a list of possible stereotypes according to various aspects — roles, status, health or other subtle differences:
the boss, the secretary, the IT-guy, the cleaner…
single, divorced, married, rich, pretty, HIV-positive…
Muslim, gay, white male, middle-aged, Chinese, American…
educated, athletic, obese, feminine, diabetic, short, anorexic…
attractive, bold, immigrant, Catholic, graduate, trainee, executive…
The list can go on! We are all bias up to a point, yet we are not always aware of how much this is in play all the time.
Therefore — powerful reflective feedback — is vital as a post activity exercise. Participants will naturally become aware of the limitations or benefits of their given label during this activity. Thus, truly giving participants a first-hand experience of how we are shaped and influenced by how others treat us and the consequential feelings.
Here is a list of some key questions to ask your group after the activity:
Did you experience your role/label as positive or negative?
How did this make you feel?
How did this change your actions within the group?
Who became your allies or enemies?
Has this exercise made you aware of any existing bias?
Are there any people at work you need to re-evaluate because of existing bias?
The company’s Human Resource team can provide valuable information to the event company for them to gauge the scope and diversity of the employee profile. This may become the basis on which the stereotype labels for the game can be designed. A good brief can serve as a tool to address current areas of sensitivity and stereotyping which exists within the company culture. To achieve the most successful outcome during this activity — careful planning, preparation and reflective feedback is essential. Event planners that know their story — will insist on a thorough brief prior to the event.
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