Sensitivity training helps your employees understand different views, backgrounds, and identities and develop an awareness of their own biases and behaviors. Below, we explain what sensitivity training is and how it can help reduce unconscious bias, harassment, and discrimination in the workplace. We also share the best tool to deliver it. 

Table of contents
  1. What Is Sensitivity Training? 
  2. Why Is Sensitivity Training in the Workplace Important?
  3. What Topics Are Covered in Sensitivity Training for Employees?
  4. How to Implement Effective Sensitivity Training
  5. ​​The Best Tool for Online Sensitivity Training
  6. Conclusion 
  7. FAQs

Sensitivity training is a key part of many businesses’ diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategies. It helps employees develop an understanding of their own attitudes and behaviors and how these can impact others.

When done well, this training fosters a supportive environment for your employees. It can also reduce instances of discrimination or harassment in the workplace. 

However, as with any training program, it can be difficult to develop and deliver sensitivity training. Coordinating a convenient time for your employees to complete training is only the beginning. You also need to tailor the format and content to suit your workers and ensure that they have access to the relevant materials. 

That’s why we’re here to help. In this article, we take a closer look at sensitivity training for employees and its main benefits. We also share the best tool to help you conduct effective sensitivity training.

Key Takeaways

  • Sensitivity training helps employees develop an awareness of their attitudes, biases, and behaviors that may harm other employees.
  • This type of training helps support a diverse, fair, and inclusive workplace. It facilitates a safe and open discussion between your employees and encourages self-reflection to change problematic behaviors. 
  • Managing any type of training has its challenges and can be time-consuming to develop and deliver. An app is a great way to streamline your training. It can help you schedule sessions, communicate with employees, and share materials.

What Is Sensitivity Training? 

Sensitivity training helps employees develop an awareness of their own attitudes, biases, and behaviors and an understanding of how these impact others in the workplace. Also referred to as “diversity training” or “inclusion training,” it encourages employees to develop respect and empathy for others, creating a positive work environment. 

Your workplace is made up of a diverse group of employees of different races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and personalities. Individuals hold a range of different views, opinions, and beliefs based on their unique life experiences. Sensitivity training aims to support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace.

This type of training generally involves putting a group of employees from diverse backgrounds together. A trainer then facilitates discussions in a safe and supportive environment. They encourage participants to explore and address their explicit and implicit biases. 

You can conduct sensitivity training for a single department or team or between departments. It can also be delivered one-to-one to address specific issues. Inclusion training is typically conducted in person.

However, it can also be done online or with the help of a dedicated employee training app that allows your staff to take the training on the go and at their own pace.

Why Is Sensitivity Training in the Workplace Important?

Inclusion training benefits your employees as well as your business. 

Creates trust between employees

Sensitivity training helps build and strengthen interpersonal relationships in the workplace. By recognizing and addressing their unconscious biases, participants can ensure that their conduct won’t be hurtful to their colleagues. This helps employees build strong and trustful working relationships with each other. And when your team works well together, collaboration, innovation, and overall productivity improve. 

Develops employees’ emotional intelligence

When your employees hear about their colleagues’ experiences and points of view, they can learn how to empathize with people with different backgrounds or experiences. In turn, they can better understand their colleagues and accept their differences. This helps employees develop their emotional intelligence.

Encourages communication with managers

Inclusion training contributes to a culture of openness. It gives employees the space to raise their concerns or issues without judgment. When employees feel safe to do this, managers have an opportunity to connect with them. This may give them insights into employees’ experiences that they otherwise would not have. 

Fostering a culture of openness also sets the tone for strong internal communication. Employees know managers are willing to discuss and address issues at an early stage. This helps improve your organization’s employee experience, which can help to decrease employee turnover

Reduces the likelihood of workplace discrimination and harassment 

Inclusion training helps employees develop respect and empathy for each other. When employees are aware of their behaviors, attitudes, and prejudices—and how they affect others in the workplace—they’re less likely to engage in discrimination or harassment.

Sensitivity training sessions may also give your employees the space to raise specific concerns about discrimination or harassment. This gives your organization an opportunity to address them. 

Reducing—or ideally eliminating—instances of discrimination and harassment creates a safer workplace, which benefits you, your employees, and the business as a whole.

Improves business outcomes

Creating a supportive, inclusive workplace through sensitivity training can vastly improve your employees’ well-being—but it can also benefit your business.

Employees who feel safe and supported at work are more likely to be engaged and productive. Plus, a more diverse workplace can help ‌attract and retain top talent. In turn, this reduces employee turnover in your organization. 

💡 Pro Tip:

Building a more inclusive workplace is key to retaining employees. In a recent McKinsey survey, 51% of respondents who had recently quit their job said a lack of belonging was the main reason for quitting. 

What Topics Are Covered in Sensitivity Training for Employees?

Workplace inclusion training can address a range of sub-topics, including:

  • Unconscious bias
  • Microaggressions
  • Racism
  • Allyship
  • Ageism
  • Disability inclusion
  • Politics in the workplace
  • DEI for remote and deskless workers
  • How to deal with workplace gossip
  • How to improve your emotional intelligence
  • How to manage different personalities in the workplace

Discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace are typically addressed with separate, specialized training.

How to Implement Effective Sensitivity Training

There are several steps you can take to ensure your inclusion training is effective. 

Set clear expectations

Before starting the training, make sure you explain the purpose of it to employees. When employees understand the broader context and benefits of the training, they’re more likely to engage with it. 

You should also set out what’s expected of employees during the session. You can do this verbally in a meeting or phone call, or via email or an information sheet. 

These expectations may include:

  • Whether the training is mandatory or optional
  • Treating each other with respect during training
  • Being willing to listen to what others have to say
  • Leaving judgment at the door
  • Keeping an open mind
  • Not repeating stories that others share outside of the session

The facilitator should reinforce these guidelines during the training session, both proactively and in response to any inappropriate behavior. 

It’s also important to highlight any behaviors that won’t be tolerated during the session. These might include:

  • Hateful, threatening, harassing, or discriminatory language
  • Employees raising their voices
  • Workers talking over others
  • Being disruptive during training

By being clear about these expectations from the start, you ensure training remains a safe space where everyone has an equal opportunity to participate. 

Support open communication

Your employees need to feel comfortable raising their concerns and participating in open discussions during the training. Take steps to ensure employees feel safe and supported to do so. 

As already discussed, setting out your expectations of employees and establishing what unacceptable behavior looks like before the session helps set the tone for a supportive training environment. 

During the sessions, the trainer can encourage employees to raise their concerns if they feel unsafe. 

They should also offer employees regular breaks to reflect and regroup. This gives workers a chance to step away from discussions that they may be finding challenging.

Collecting employee feedback at the end of a session is also ‌good practice. This highlights any concerns or issues employees may have with the training so you can address them. 

Encourage self-reflection and practical skills 

Inclusion training should equip employees with self-awareness—the ability to reflect on their own behaviors and attitudes. When employees have self-awareness, they can then use skills like problem-solving and effective communication to correct any problematic workplace behaviors.

For example, if employees have complained about a co-worker’s misogynistic comments, a manager could simply tell the employee to stop making offensive comments. However, this doesn’t offer a long-term solution or prevent the employee from acting the same way again. 

Sensitivity training, on the other hand, assists the employee to develop an awareness of their attitudes or biases. They can learn how to identify and address behaviors of theirs that may harm others. This deeper level of awareness and understanding helps the employee to avoid repeating the behavior in the future.  

Ensure that self-reflection remains a focus during your inclusion training. When discussing different scenarios, prompt employees to reflect on how they would respond in the situation. Exploring this helps employees strengthen their emotional intelligence and empathy. 

Your sensitivity training may also identify skill or attribute gaps to address with further training. For example, if employees have difficulty communicating during the session, you could organize separate training sessions on how to communicate effectively. 

Lead from the top

You should deliver inclusion training across all levels of your organization. It’s especially important that management leads by example and participates in it. This sets the tone for the rest of the organization and encourages employees to fully engage with the training. 

Managers need to not only recognize their own biases and behaviors but also be able to identify potential issues within their teams. For this reason, it’s common for managers to receive specialized inclusion training. Offering this to managers at your company—and ensuring you receive it, too—is essential. 

Reinforce training topics

In-person sessions should be the focus of your inclusion training. But there are several other steps you can take to follow up on its key messages.

You could put up posters in the workplace that highlight sensitivity training issues. Or, you might send out regular emails to your employees with further resources on topics that were discussed during training. 

An employee training app is a great tool for this. Most providers let you create a resource library where employees can follow up on inclusion training topics. 

In addition, promoting DEI in your workplace helps reinforce the benefits of inclusion training. A good way to do this is by hosting regular workplace diversity events

💡 Pro Tip:

Many private training organizations offer corporate inclusion training. If you don’t have the ability to deliver a training program in-house, look into developing your own training program with the help of an employee training app

​​The Best Tool for Online Sensitivity Training

As with any type of training, it’s important to carefully organize your inclusion training and deliver it well. Using an app is the best way to do this. You can centralize your training schedules, create and manage training materials, and deliver sessions to your workforce with ease.

The best tool to create and deliver sensitivity training is Connecteam. Its training feature helps you quickly organize inclusion training for employees. You can use it to schedule and manage both in-person and remote training sessions in minutes, with just a few touches of your device. 

Offering highly customizable course creation, Connecteam makes it easy to build face-to-face and digital training sessions using content from text, video, and audio files.  

Man looking at his phone with a screenshot of Connecteam courses tracking

What’s more, our mobile-friendly app enables employees to complete courses at their own pace. Connecteam also lets you set up live group discussions for your employees, no matter where they are. 

You can easily share training materials using Connecteam’s in-app chat and store them in the knowledge center—a digital library you can fill with resources for employees to refer to. Files are end-to-end encrypted for enhanced security, and there are no limits on the size or amount of files you can store. This is an ideal way to ensure employees always have access to inclusion training documents during in-person or online training and beyond.

To ensure compliance, Connecteam also tracks employees’ training progress and sends push notifications to remind employees to complete sessions. 

Once training is done, you can create surveys or polls to gather feedback from employees directly via the app. This can give you powerful insights into how to improve future training sessions. 

🧠 Did You Know?

Connecteam is much more than an employee training app. It has features for all your communication, HR, and business operations needs!

Get started with Connecteam for free today


Sensitivity training should be a key part of your organization’s DEI strategy. It helps employees ‌identify their attitudes, biases, and behaviors and understand how they can harm others. This reduces instances of discrimination and harassment while supporting diversity in your organization. 

Using a training app like Connecteam is a great way to start delivering inclusion training to your employees. It makes it quick and easy to organize training sessions and ensure your employees have all the materials they need. 

Get started with Connecteam for free today


What is an example of sensitivity training?

An example of inclusion training is facilitating a group discussion with your employees about the times they have experienced discrimination. This helps employees understand and empathize with each other’s experiences. 

Is sensitivity training effective?

When done well, inclusion training supports DEI in your organization. It can help employees develop respect and empathy while improving their communication skills. This reduces instances of discrimination, unconscious bias, and harassment in the workplace. 

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