“Training is as essential as everything you need to build a successful company. If your employees work peacefully, they will likely to be more productive and happy. That’s why, workplace sensitivity is needed to be applied.”– HRinAsia
What is workplace sensitivity training?
Orin Davis, a business advisor and trainer, defines sensitivity training as a respect of each individual to treat each person as an equal and as a human being. It is a want and a need to show respect to our feelings and ways of living. Sensitivity training also teaches people to engage in perspective-taking to create mutual understanding and appreciate another point of view. Among the topics covered in sensitivity training should include listening, conflict resolution and cultural awareness.
Managing and valuing diversity in workplace is crucially-needed. Therefore, human resources management as an instructor should provide tips on how to respond to workplace sensitivity appropriately in the office.
Why do your organisation need sensitivity training?
As mentioned earlier, sensitivity training is meant to minimise and/or eliminate workplace discrimination. Thus, it is needed as one of strategy to create equality in workplace. Tara Duggan at AZCentral commented that “human resources personnel should run sensitivity training programs so that company employees learn to value diversity, listen more effectively, balance co-worker’s need with organizational goals, handle conflict and respond to others with empathy.” As consequences, employees can communicate with diplomacy and tact as sensitivity training is also aimed to develop emotional intelligence. Similarly, Thomson Reuters said that workplace sensitivity training is essentially needed to prevent discrimination and harassment that can affect employee productivity and divert resources from organisation’s real business.
Tips to create workplace sensitivity training
As sensitivity training is dealing with feelings and sensitive issues in workplace, conducting this training can be tricky. Ruby Spencer, director of global curriculum development at PulseLearning, states that sensitivity subject matter includes matters of heart, minds, and beliefs. Therefore, instructor or trainer should provide the right method to deliver the topic and avoid misunderstandings. Here are a few tips proposed by Spencer for training guru to successfully bring sensitivity training into workplace:
1- Form an emotional connection
Creating an immediate emotional connection is vital to engage learners with sensitive topics. Additionally, you should present the material in a relevant and relatable context that states clearly the ‘why’ and ‘how’ information links to daily work. When employees are engaged and emotionally connected, you should be able to deliver your message confidently. Make sure your message is retained long.
2- Select appropriate delivery mechanism
Delivery mechanism should be appropriate for subject matter discussion. You can use illustration rather than photographs. Also, if you don’t want to use real characters, include a disclaimer at start of your training that cast members are not real employees and situations are re-enactments.
3- Consider a blended solution
Support your learning with blended solution to provide a supportive, safe environment to ask questions and explore further content. Your training programme should also focus on practical application of knowledge through role-plays and group discussions. However, you should be their mediator if only employees misunderstand each other.
4- Provide opportunities for self-reflection
One of the most vital things in dealing with sensitive subject is self-reflection. Give a scenario to employees and ask them ‘what would you do?’ to prompt them to think about action they will do if similar situation occur.
5- Extend learning beyond training
This can include creating a series of posters and hang in your workplace or email memes. Each piece should display message or crucial scene from scenario with accompanying information that encourage workplace sensitivity.