Sandra Bledsoe

Sensitivity Training For Employees: Everything You Need To Know

Sensitivity training for employees aims to create awareness among the organizational members for appreciating and accepting the values of their fellow workers. People are asked to put themselves in the shoes of another person. This helps them to relate and appreciate others well.

Sensitivity training covers gender, multiculturalism and sensitivity for disabled people as well. This is focused more on an individual level but works on improving teamwork and group projects.

Core of Sensitivity Training

Sensitivity training is all about the development of emotional intelligence. It refers to the ability of an individual to be sensitive and understand the emotions of others. It also includes regulating one’s own emotions as well.

Emotional intelligence regulates the employee to take action rendering to the circumstances and organization. It crafts the aptitude to comprehend others’ feelings and mental state. The main source of conflicts is a lack of empathy.

Emotional intelligence includes self-management of your emotions, changing the negative ones to positive ones. Inculcating emotional self-motivation and using it to persist under pressure. It helps to be more empathetic and create a collaborative environment.

Advantages of Sensitivity Training for Employees

For the efficient and smooth running of the organization, employees need to work comfortably alongside each other. Only then, a company can achieve its goals successfully. There are great differences in traditions, lifestyle, beliefs and upbringing of people. Sensitivity training becomes crucial here. It empowers the employees and also imparts a greater understanding of their colleagues.

This training is vital in light of rising issues regarding harassment of employees for their diversity. This training will educate the employees about the behavior and culture appropriate for the workplace. It will also enable them to incorporate different cultures and be more empathetic. It was cited that workplace hostility was the biggest reason why 52% of women belonging to science, engineering and technology quit their jobs.

This training aids the well-being of employees. It enhances self-awareness regarding personal bias and prejudices. Sensitivity training is designed to harbor cultural integrity, accountability for one’s actions and behavior and to eliminate hostility towards each other.

Sensitivity training provides a clear picture of the role of a person in the organization. With an improved understanding between the employees, an increase in profit and productivity is obvious. The retention rate of employees and high turnover will also follow. After the training, they will feel welcomed and respected.

It assists the employees to interact with each other without discrimination and prejudice. They all feel equal. It prevents conflicts and boosts cultural competency. It also reduces harassment, retaliation and disrespect of each other. It will weed out baseless assumptions and stereotypes from the minds of employees.

The approximate cost for the defense and settlement of discrimination cases is $160,000 and takes an average of 318 days to resolve. Sexual harassment is a major concern for companies. With proper delivery of sensitivity training, these incidents can be minimized. This will create a safe space for women and men to be friendly and supportive of each other’s achievements. 

Procedure of Sensitivity Training

The sensitive training is similar to group psychotherapy. It focuses on the exploration of one’s emotions, personality and relationships at an emotional level. It is restricted to the time frame that the company has. It doesn’t explore the root cause of the problem but more on the awareness regarding that.

The primary norm of this training is feedback. It makes the person come face to face with his/her repressed emotions. They have to express these to themselves frankly. The purpose of this training is to help people come closer to each other. These encounters may be rough, and some difficulty is to be expected. But they serve as a breakthrough for development.

There are majorly three steps involved in the sensitivity training. They are as follows:

  • Understanding the old values

It entails that the participants become vigilant of the shortcomings of the old values. This becomes clear when the participant can’t move forward or grow with the old values.

For this, a group of 10-15 is made. The group is unstructured. This group wants the guidance of the trainer, but the trainer refuses to do so. This motivates the trainees to solve the problem. They then adopt trial and error methods. And eventually, realize what they wish to do and find alternative solutions for the situation. 

  • Developing new values

With the support of the trainer, the participants examine their interpersonal behavior. They then give feedback to each other. The reasons behind those feedbacks are also discussed. This motivates the participants to test new values and behaviors. When the participants start speaking freely about each other, they can generate new beliefs and values about each other. The feedback also helps to guide and improve their overall image in front of each other.

  • Solidifying the new values

This step is dependent on the chances a trainee gets to exercise the new learned behaviors and values at the workplace. The interaction and free communication beliefs will be solidified as they work together and get to know each other better.

Tips for Sensitivity Training at the Workplace 

1) Contemplate hiring a sensitivity training expert

An expert will enter without any biases. He/she will have the liberty to bring up topics that might be uncomfortable for the employer. The expert can formulate the training based specifically on your company. It also produces an image that your company cares about the well-being of its employees and is active to invest in it.

2) Treating employees as individuals

Knowing and valuing employees based on their merits and individualistic approach is important. A good way to implement this is to motivate them to use their diverse talents to accomplish an organizational goal.

3) Communication is a priority

Produce an environment in your workspace that is comfortable for the employees. This will allow them to be open regarding their issues and interact to find solutions. When they feel they are taken seriously, they will be more adaptive.

4) Chance for self-reflection

Create scenarios where the employees are prompted to think about how they would react in that given situation. This will promote sensitivity. Without self-reflection, self-awareness can’t be achieved. Self-awareness is crucial to neutrally look at one’s beliefs, thoughts, actions and emotions.

5) Extend the learning process

The process of sensitivity training shouldn’t be limited up to the training only. Create posters, emails, messages to encourage employees to keep on working at their sensitivity.

When people are trying to grow out of the old values, it is very common for them to fall back. They may stop working on themselves and go back to believing the assumptions and unconscious bias.

This generates a need for constant reminder and motivation.

Sensitive training has become vital for companies to function smoothly and peacefully. When the overall attitude and behavior of the employees is enhanced, the productivity is increased thus giving a healthy workplace. More and more companies imply sensitive training to increase harmony among colleagues. A comfortable and supportive workplace is appreciated and valued by all. The employees would thrive under such conditions and will dedicate their best to the company.


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