How Can a Highly Sensitive Person Help a Business?
Many highly sensitive persons can feel underutilized and misunderstood in the world of business. In a field which often values ambition and aggression, their quiet sensitivity and sensibility can be forgotten.
Although, their aptitude for empathy and creativity is a crucial factor in business. They are just a few of the aspects that can be a major asset to companies.
So where do HSPs fit in in the workplace? And how can they play a key role in helping a business succeed?
What is High Sensitivity?
High sensitivity is another term for the neutral character trait sensory processing sensitivity.
Often described as emotional, empathetic, detail-oriented and quiet, those with sensory processing sensitivity are generally emotionally reactive. They are sensitive to subtle stimuli and able to be easily overstimulated. HSPs are in possession of an unusual depth of processing.
People with this natural trait are known as highly sensitive persons (HSPs) and make up 15 to 20% of humans across the globe.
How Can Highly Sensitive Employees Help Businesses?
Employees with sensory processing sensitivity have many traits which can prove useful for businesses. These characteristics include, but are not limited to:
Because HSPs are sensitive to subtle stimuli, they’re quick to notice small details. That ability isn’t only limited to their environments, but in their projects at work. It’s those small details where an HSP can offer vital help.
Maybe something needs to be moved a little further to the left. A different light bulb could be used for the right ambiance or the rice requires a little more seasoning. In these situations, you can probably count on someone with sensory processing sensitivity to notice and swoop in to fix it.
This awareness is also very applicable to subtle changes displayed in mood, tone and facial expression. Highly sensitive people have an emotional awareness which generally makes them very good at reading people and picking up almost imperceptible cues.
As business giant Sam Walton once said, “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”
HSPs are empathetic, highly conscientious individuals. It only makes sense that they would also make great team players/leaders.
Ever the diplomat, HSPs also have a strong sense of fairness. They often want to create situations and solutions which work for everyone. Employers could benefit in having a highly sensitive employee on collaborative projects. This will generally ensure a team member who seeks fairness for the group as a whole rather than individually. This can be helpful to ensure no one is left out, everyone gets credit where credit is due, etc.
While HSPs are often considered prime candidates for more analytical jobs due to their attention to detail, many people with high sensitivity also enjoy very creative fields. Jobs in writing, graphic design and music can often utilize their large depth of processing. Their ability to enjoy a rich inner life shines in creative works.
Psychology Today writer Deborah Ward describes her need to create as an HSP: “I could not be creative without being so sensitive. Sensitivity can be overwhelming, but it is also like having extra RAM on my personal hard drive.” She continued, saying “Creativity is the pressure valve for all that accumulated emotional and sensory data. It opens the doors and lets the energy flow out of me and into my work like electricity from Niagara Falls.”
It’s important to note that creativity is a skill which doesn’t solely apply to work itself. Any employer will note how important creative problem solving is in the workplace. It’s an important ability which benefits from innovative thinking, an eye for detail and the ability to consider all perspectives.
Putting yourself in the mind of a client is a constant aim for many businesses, particularly those involved in marketing.
Highly sensitive people are considered extremely empathetic, able to take a step back from their own perspective and imagine how others feel. This is valuable for team projects as we discussed above, but it’s also a skill that can be applied to figuring out what the customer wants.
HSPs are caring people pleasers, eager to deliver the best work possible to satisfy the client. Sometimes this drive can push sensitive employees to work themselves too hard, but that can come from a passion for achieving results. They naturally will want to help others, making them apt for customer service roles.
How Can I Help Encourage Highly Sensitive Employees?
Every employer has the goal of helping workers achieve their potential. But, what steps can employers take to encourage HSP employees in particular?
Try to Adapt
To best utilize the skills that HSP employees have to offer, don’t forget to follow our recent tips on helping HSPs in the workplace! Respect their needs and hold off on judgement without underestimating them. With these steps, highly sensitive workers should be more likely to thrive, having a similar effect on your business.
Take the Time to Listen
While HSPs are generally good with roles involving details, teamwork and customer relations, every individual is different. Like with any employee, it is crucial to talk to HSPs and understand their unique personalities. Employers should find how they personally feel to best help them succeed. As a general rule, making an effort to listen to employees of all kinds is a step that won’t steer you wrong.
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Had you previously considered the unique benefits of highly sensitive employees? If you have sensory processing sensitivity, do you agree with our suggestions on the right roles for HSPs in the workplace? Let us know via Facebook and Twitter.
Written for Passport Health by Katherine Meikle. Katherine is a research writer and proud first-generation British-American living in Florida, where she was born and raised. She has a passion for travel and a love of writing, which go hand-in-hand.