Many equate sensitivity training with sexual harassment, but sexual harassment is only one of the important concepts covered. Sensitivity training helps any one group of people be more understanding and empathetic to any other group of people. It raises awareness of cultural differences and helps trainees recognize the humanity of people who are different from them. The interpersonal skills people gain during sensitivity training are useful in both their professional and personal lives.
Employee to Employee
Employees must work together well, regardless of their backgrounds and personal differences. Employees who have gone through sensitivity training are equipped to treat each other with respect. A respectful atmosphere in the workplace allows employees to focus on the work and therefore help the business's bottom line. When employees feel safe and comfortable around their coworkers, it's easier for them to work together toward a common goal.
Employee to Customer
The last thing an employer needs is to lose business because an employee insulted a customer. Some employees may do this deliberately. However, it's possible for employees to inadvertently and accidentally insult customers. Sensitivity training makes employees more aware of how a customer with a different background may view the employee's behavior. Sensitivity training equips employees to treat all customers well, which in turn encourages customers to come back. This ultimately increases the company's bottom line.
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) offers employers advice about what restrictions they can and cannot place on employees, including what questions they can and cannot ask in job interviews. This advice is to prevent protected classes from being discriminated against. For example, if an employer wants to put weight restrictions on employees, then he must be able to show that weight is an important issue, such as in the job of airline steward. Asking about weight can seem insensitive and discriminatory against both women and some disabled people.
Managers who have gone through sensitivity training are more likely to conduct appropriate interviews in a sensitive manner and avoid lawsuits against the company.
Sensitivity training for employees helps people understand each other and get along, both in the business world and in their personal lives. Employees learn valuable skills in sensitivity training that benefit the business, but they can also take these skills with them through life. They learn appropriate conflict resolution techniques, such as focusing on the facts of the conflict and not personal differences. They learn to be nonjudgmental and are taught to be tolerant for diversity. They also improve their communication skills.