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Sensitivity Training in the Workplace

By: Erich Tolltraining
3:000 Comments

Have you heard about organizations implementing corporate sensitivity training? Have you wondered if your company is behind the times if you don’t have one? Many C-suite executives are tempted to dismiss the concept as “PC culture,” but don’t be so quick…

Sensitivity training in the workplace is all about fostering a culture of respect, integrity, and accountability for everyone at your company. If you have a diversity program, this type of training fits in nicely with concepts you already strive for. Let’s discuss some of the ways implementing sensitivity training will benefit your company.

What Is Sensitivity Training?

Corporate sensitivity training aims to help employees within an organization to acknowledge and respond to attitudes and behaviors that may unknowingly offend others (especially those of backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures different from their own).

Most people think of sensitivity training as specific seminars where a speaker lectures a group on how to not sexually harass people. However, this type of training does so much more. It discusses:

  • Tactics to handle difficult personalities
  • How to improve your emotional intelligence
  • Dealing with gossip

How Will Sensitivity Training in the Workplace Benefit Your Company?

If you’re skeptical about implementing sensitivity training, here are all the benefits that you’ll reap.

  1. Increased employee retention: When there’s a negative interaction or conflict in a workplace, it can result in one or both employees departing. By reducing the likelihood of this occurring, you’re increasing employee retention.
  2. Improved staff potential: When you create a more positive work environment, you improve both staff morale and performance.
  3. Encouraged diversity: Sensitivity training encouraged increased diversity by making everyone feel comfortable, which can also increase innovation at your company.
  4. Reduced complaints and grievances: HR won’t have to worry about as many conflicts between employees.
  5. Boosted productivity: No more time spent worrying about disrespectful behavior!

How to Improve Implementation of Corporate Sensitivity Training

Poor delivery of sensitivity training can result in negative outcomes at your company. Here are a few ways that you can ensure that your sensitivity training is well-received by employees and managers alike.

  • Set clear expectations of how everyone should behave during diversity training

Some people will have engaged in these types of conversations previously while others will not have. Level the playing field by setting expectations at the beginning of the sensitivity training about what types of behaviors will and will not be tolerated.

  • Hold everyone accountable regardless of who they are at the company

Often, “high-performing individuals” are given a pass when it comes to behavior. If you want diversity, inclusion, and sensitivity to be taken seriously, be sure to hold a high performer just as accountable as a newcomer.

  • Engage people at the top and have them lead by example

No one is exempt from sensitivity training. Your diversity program should be attended by everyone at your company, including senior executives.

  • Examine your behavior and encourage others to do the same

Everyone has their own unconscious biases. Self-reflection is a crucial element of self-awareness. During sensitivity training, discuss how you can use self-reflection as a daily tool to make you more sensitive to your coworkers.

Final Thoughts

Remember, sensitivity training in the workplace isn’t a tool that should be used in retrospect. It’s a tool that should lead the ongoing effort to improve your workplace environment. By integrating it as part of your routine diversity training in the workplace, you can help meet your employees’ needs.

Also make sensitivity a part of your workplace, 365, with a Diversity and Inclusion Calendar.

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