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How to Implement Sensitivity Training in the Workplace?

How to Implement Sensitivity Training in the Workplace

Do you want to be known as an inclusive and diverse workplace?

Well, the first step is learning How to Implement Sensitivity Training in the Workplace. Sensitivity Training not only benefits the employee but also helps create a more welcoming environment for customers and clients.

So, let’s take an in-depth look at how to implement this essential practice into your business with these five simple steps!

how to implement sensitivity training in the workplace

What Is Sensitivity Training?

Sensitivity training is a process that allows employees to learn about the different cultures, religions, races, sexes, and abilities of their co-workers.

It helps promote an understanding and appreciation for diversity in the workplace. By providing this type of education, businesses can create a more welcoming environment for all employees and team members.

When did Sensitivity Training Originate?

The practice of sensitivity training originated in the US during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. It helps employees understand and appreciate the different cultures and backgrounds of their co-workers.

However, recent movements such as #MeToo and Black Lives Matter have brought the need for sensitivity training to the forefront of many businesses.

Does Sensitivity Training Work?

The answer is yes! Numerous studies have shown that sensitivity training can be an effective way to reduce discrimination and create a more inclusive workplace. Employees who participate in sensitivity training are less likely to engage in discriminatory behavior and are more likely to feel comfortable discussing diversity-related issues.

Why Is Sensitivity Training For Employees Important?

There are numerous benefits of implementing sensitivity training:

  • Improves employee morale and productivity.
  • Promotes a culture of inclusiveness that everyone can benefit from.
  • Increases efficiency by reducing discrimination, bullying, and harassment.
  • Creates an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues with their colleagues or management team.

Why is a Diverse Team Better?

Diversity can be a huge asset to any company. When your team is more diverse, you have access to all the different perspectives and experiences that come with each individual. This leads to better problem-solving abilities, increased creativity, stronger communication skills, and much more!

Mistakes Made During Sensitivity Training

While sensitivity training can be an incredibly valuable tool for businesses, it’s not without its faults. One of the main problems with sensitivity training is that it can often be delivered in the wrong way. Employees can feel judged or patronized.

It’s important to remember that everyone comes from a different background and has their own experiences to share. Additionally, often minority groups in the workforce are selected to lead these training events. Whilst a leadership role is often usually welcomed, they are not compensated for their time.

A minority doesn’t have to lead the training…

This can result in an increased workload and stress on the individual as well as the pressure to share micro and macro aggressions that they have experienced with large groups of people.

There are also many different diversity training models used by businesses, so it is important to choose a model that works for you and your employees. It’s best to start small with a few key people within the company before expanding into an entire workforce training event, as this will better ensure its success if done correctly.

Keep training sessions positive…

When sensitivity training is done wrong, it can lead to employees feeling uncomfortable or even defensive. It’s important to keep in mind that people are more likely to accept information if it is presented positively and constructively. Also, make sure that the training sessions aren’t too long, or else employees will lose interest.

The Simple 5 Steps To Succesful Training

So, now you know a little bit more about sensitivity training and why it’s so important for businesses. If you’re ready to start implementing this valuable training tool, follow these five steps.

How to Implement Sensitivity Training in the Workplace?

1 Set a schedule

Set a schedule for providing sensitivity training sessions. The most effective way is to have one session per month or quarter that provides an overview of all different cultures and religions represented among staff members. Each time you provide this type of session, it should build on previous topics so that employees have a better understanding of the diversity in your workplace.

2 Designate the right leader(s)

Designate one or more individuals within your company to be responsible for sensitivity training. This person(s) should be knowledgeable about the different cultures and religions represented within your workforce and should be able to facilitate discussion among employees.

how to implement the sensitivity training in workplace

3 Create a ‘diversity curriculum’

Create an education curriculum for all staff members. This could be done through an online or in-person training session provided by your sensitivity trainer(s). It should explain the different types of cultures and religions represented among staff members, as well as provide explanations for diversity.

4 Create a safe discussion space

Create a safe space where employees can discuss what they have learned during their sensitivity training sessions with each other. This can be done through several different mediums, such as an office chat room for instant messaging or even email. This provides employees with the opportunity to ask questions and learn about their colleagues in ways that might not have been addressed during sensitivity training sessions.

5 Celebrate diversity in the workplace

Promote diversity in your workplace by setting up programs like multilingual staff members, immigrant hiring and retention programs, or even holiday celebrations for the different cultural groups represented among staff.

What Topics Are Covered In Sensitivity Training?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The topics covered in sensitivity training will vary depending on the organization providing the training.

However, some of the most common topics covered in sensitivity training include:

  • The history and meaning behind different religious holidays.
  • How to respectfully interact with people from different cultures.
  • How to identify and address microaggressions.
  • What is cultural appropriation, and why it should be avoided?
  • How to create a more inclusive workplace culture.

External Sensitivity Training

Many companies also choose to send their employees for external sensitivity training. This could be done through an accredited organization or through a consultant who specializes in diversity and cultural awareness training.

This provides employees with a more comprehensive overview of the cultures they will be interacting with daily, as well as providing them with an opportunity to ask questions that might not have been addressed during internal sensitivity training sessions.

How Expensive is External Sensitivity Training?

External sensitivity training is not as expensive as one might think. Many accredited organizations offer their services at a discounted rate for businesses. The important thing to keep in mind is that the benefits of sending employees for external sensitivity training far outweigh the costs.

The average cost per employee is usually around $100, but the long-term impact on employee productivity and morale is priceless.

What External Companies Provide Sensitivity Training?

There are a few different companies that provide external sensitivity training. Some of the most popular include:

HRC (Human Rights Campaign)

This company was founded in 1980 and is the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for LGBTQ people. They are based in the United States and offer a variety of different training programs that focus on diversity, inclusion, and cultural awareness.

The Trevor Project

This company is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ people. They offer a variety of different training programs that focus on LGBTQ youth, suicide prevention, and creating safe spaces for all young people.

how to implement the sensitivity training in the workplace

DiversityInc

This company is a leading publication that focuses on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. They offer a variety of different training programs that focus on best practices for creating an inclusive workplace, managing cultural differences, and more.

Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC)

This is a government organization that provides compliance assistance and enforcement of federal laws. These laws make it illegal to discriminate against employees or job applicants based on race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), disability, etc. They offer a variety of different training programs that focus on preventing workplace discrimination.

Bias Interrupters

This company provides training and resources that help organizations create an environment where all employees feel safe and respected. Their training programs focus on identifying and addressing unconscious bias as well as helping employees to recognize and understand the impact of microaggressions.

Leadership That’s Inclusive

This company provides training and resources that help leaders create an inclusive environment where employees from all backgrounds feel valued. Their training programs focus on building an understanding of diversity, developing an appreciation for different cultures, and creating a safe space for open dialogue.

Creating An Inclusive Work Environment

Those old days of bias and gender exclusion etc., are long gone. So, let’s help you embrace the new with these fantastic guides on sensitivity training, for example, Diversity Training to begin with, How to Be an Inclusive Leader, or try Inclusion: Diversity, The New Workplace & The Will To Change, and Emotional Intelligence in Business.

We also found That’s What She Said: What Men and Women Need To Know About Working Together, the 3 Keys to Defeating Unconscious Bias: Watch, Think, Act, as well as Diversity in the Workforce: Current Issues and Emerging Trends and Inclusive Intelligence: How to Be a Role Model for Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace all available online in 2023.

Last, we highly recommend reading The Diversity Training Activity Book: 50 Activities for Promoting Communication and Understanding at Work for an interactive approach, and of course The Diversity and Inclusion Handbook and The ABC’s of Diversity: A MANAGER’S GUIDE TO DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION IN THE NEW WORKPLACE.

Final Thoughts

Sensitivity training is an important step in creating a more inclusive workplace for all employees. By taking the time to understand the different cultures your employees come from, you can create a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture that everyone can feel comfortable in.

Sensitivity training can be done in-house, or you might opt to send your employees for external training through an accredited organization. In either case, this type of program is sure to benefit your employees and your business as a whole.

Congratulations on embracing the new and doing your training!

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