Team Building and Discrimination
It is very important avoid discrimination in team building, even if you’re tempted to make an example with those connotations. (Such as men vs. women, young vs. old teaming off) What can help is actually employing some exercises meant to discuss diversity in the work place. In these activities you can address age discrimination and the equality policies of your company.
Activities For Age Diversity
Workers should be taught how to deal with age discrimination on several different levels. Consider a few activities that can help address this issue, while remaining sensitive. First, ask your group to think up as many examples of age-discriminating phrases that occasionally come up with informal conversation. Remind your team that such phrases are not to be used as they are impolite and may be contributing towards ageism in a direct or indirect way. Harassment should especially be warned against, as is it is unlawful and could get someone in deep legal trouble.
Another activity to try is to ask members to think of examples of age discrimination, whether real or hypothetical. These instances could be within the organisation or from other organisations, or even past experiences. These experiences could be anything from job profiles that specify an age limit, applications which require a date of birth, training criteria that differentiates between age, attitudes reflected in job promotions, office-traditions that imply who should run mundane errands based on age or inappropriate banter.
Finally, you could ask your group to consider the advantages that come from having a diverse organisation in all aspects, from age to race and ethnicity. Advantages could include that diverse organisations are at an advantage in targeting a diverse customer group. Diverse management teams can better interact with a diverse workforce and with clients. Diverse companies have more answers than companies who lack diversity and have only text book knowledge. Finally, diverse companies have a complete view of the world and the business, as opposed to companies who are limited on focus because of age discrimination.
Teaching Your Team About Ageism
It is very important for the teacher to be an expert in politically correct speech. Yes, it may not belong on pay cable networks, but it definitely belongs in the workplace. A teacher should be very aware of expressions that inadvertently discriminate or generalize a group of people based on their age, race or any other superficial factors. Such statements may seem deceptively harmless; even implying that a worker is infirm but experienced (a backhanded compliment) can be an ageist statement. Racism and sexism are equally important to avoid, as friendly competition can easily turn into humorous chatter, which can disintegrate more so into mean-spirited jokes about a person’s sex or race.
While it’s difficult to remember every PC expression out there, just remember that generalities are usually insensitive. The whole idea of business is to focus on the exact and not to be too general in your thinking. This is particularly true when you are considering the value of each and every team member.