Sensitivity training is group training that focuses on making employees and employers aware of their attitudes, behaviors, and their impact on themselves and others. It thus promotes social sensitivity and behavioral flexibility that ensures better individual and group dynamics.
The Significance of Sensitivity Training
It involves a T-group (Training group) of 10-12 participants, brought together in an open and free environment to have discussions. It helps the members to develop interpersonal relationships and broaden their perspectives of others.
Types of Sensitivity Training
There are three types of sensitivity training, based on where all the participants belong in the organization.
- Stranger-lab Sensitivity Training
This training program involves all participants from different organizations and thus, don’t know each other. It helps the participants develop listening skills and get to know another person’s interests and concerns. Such sensitivity training can help one observe other members’ behaviors to learn how to manage others.
- Cousin-lab Sensitivity Training
The cousin-lab sensitivity training program involves all participants from different units from the same organizations. It helps the members from other levels of the organization to get to know each other’s work and concerns. It can thus help promote team spirit and motivation to work hard for the organization’s success.
- Family Lab Sensitivity Training
This training set involves the participants from a single unit of an organization and thus know each other very well. It helps the members to have effective discussions to understand each other and their preferences while working.
6-Key Objectives of Sensitivity Training
- To improve participants’ awareness of their actions and emotions associated with them.
- Development of the participants’ motivation to succeed in inter-personal discussions.
- To promote members’ clarity of their core values and priorities.
- Promoting an individual’s ability to deal with and accept emotions of theirs and others.
- To develop principles and a framework for connecting individuals’ core beliefs and priorities with their behavior.
- Encouraging members to experience and learn from their emotions.
The Phases in a Sensitive Training Program
There are mainly three phases in a sensitive training program.
- Open Discussion With No Leadership Guidance
There is no predefined topic for the discussion and no leadership guidance and status.
All participants are thus encouraged to fill the gap with rich projections of traditional behavior.
Therefore, participants begin to open up as they can discuss with others, get to know about their views, and receive feedback.
- The Trainer Involvement in the Program
After allowing the ice-breaker, the trainer becomes involved in the discussion in an open and supportive way. The trainer’s job here is to provide non-defensive feedback that helps each member reflect on their and others’ behaviors.
- The Beginning of Interpersonal Relationships
The members get involved among themselves as they put forth several topics and then have discussions.
- The Application of the Experience
It focuses on whether the experience serves any good for everyday situations and problem-solving.
Top 3 Elements for an Effective Sensitive Training
1. Don’t let Your Prejudice Taint Your Views of Others
- Every member should ensure their old beliefs and assumptions stop them from opening to others.
- Everyone should interact with other members without becoming judgmental to break off stereotypes about them.
- The open mindset will thus help you develop new and even better partnerships than before.
2. Creation of New Values
- When you are open to communication and receptive to feedback, it helps you grow as a person and your skills.
- Your perspective of others broadens, which promotes healthy relationships.
- Through this training, every member can establish convictions or principles about one another.
3. Freeze Your New Values with the Beliefs
- Your frequent interactions with other members help you form new assumptions and beliefs about them that affect your behavior.
- Thus, the success of a sensitivity training program is directly ensured by how often the trainees get to exercise their new habits.
The Best Ways to Implement a Sensitivity Training Program at Your Workplace
- Ensure Your Employees Respect Each Other
Mutual respect is quintessential for healthy and helpful interactions with the members.
One should avoid forming opinions and conclusions of other members through limited interactions.
Respect for every member is essential to work together with team members and contribute to discussions.
- Expand Your Learning Methods
You can encourage awareness about the organization’s goals in employees through numerous creative methods. Using flyers, email updates, and graphics may help promote employees’ work spirit for achieving the organization’s goal.
- Listen to Your Employees’ Concerns and Grievances
Promote healthy interactions within your organization by listening to the concerns and grievances of your employees. In such a way, members would feel relaxed in the workplace as they can comfortably convey their ideas, opinions, and even grievances. As a result, it will promote transparency and trust with the organization, helping in substantiating its growth.
- Promote Problem-solving Skills Among Employees
You can provide model situations to your employees, wherein they can learn how to look at the situation and their actions neutrally. It will help them equip themselves with a better experience, skills, and analytical skills.
Why You Must Implement a Sensitivity Training Program at Your Workplace
- It helps to improve the problem-solving skills of the members.
- The program allows building trust among the group members and thus can form healthy relationships.
- It supports transparency in the organization and ensures all members’ concerns are given way for discussion.
- It increases the emotional intelligence of the employees.
- Sensitive training promotes empathy and respect for other members.
- It improves overall performance and the environment in the workplace.
- The training program promotes employees to be more responsive to other members’ interests and concerns.
- It helps to improve group dynamics and thus teamwork spirit.
Other 5-Crucial Benefits of Sensitivity Training at Your Workplace
- It improves interpersonal healthy interactions and respect for others’ perspectives and concerns.
- The members have a better sense of self-control, better teamwork dynamics.
- You have a better sense of perception as your role of a boss and improved capacity to handle work and others without losing control.
- The group members become self-reliant, cooperative and begin to value the importance of trust in relationships.
- Every individual learns how to use emotions to manipulate others for the best of others and the organization.
Limitations of a Sensitive Training Program
- It is an informal practice that can fade the line between an accepted professional and casual behavior.
- The training focuses more on beliefs and assumptions rather than on evidence.
- Most members perceive sensitive training as highly disorganized and chaotic, especially at the beginning of the program.
- Meetings can not always derive any psychological reason behind a member’s behavior and thus fail to meet its objective.
- Members may not feel comfortable voicing their opinions and don’t want to cross their seniors and friends.
- Many members compare sensitive training with another brainwashing technique.
- It can strain the employee-employee and the employee-boss relationship due to expectations.
The Bottom Line
Sensitivity training aims to promote interpersonal relationships to benefit the company’s productivity by providing a safe and secure environment. It equips the members with tools to improve themselves and the handling of others’ behaviors.
These trainings, if implemented appropriately, outweighs its limitations over benefits as it strengthens everyone’s well-being. Effective two-way interactions among all members, whether senior or junior level, promote physical and psychological well-being.