So why would you want to spend the money and effort to provide a workplace where Highly Sensitive people thrive? What do these people offer your organisation - and the world? Well, here are the reasons why it's a smart choice (there are a lot of reasons. Just read a few if you can't manage them all right now. I'm confident it'll be enough to convince you).
Vision and Meaning
I mentioned on my About page that Highly Sensitive people are the dreamers, wise counsellors, visionaries, artists and poets. They are the ones who'll make your organisation look good to others, with their words, images and other creative gifts. More importantly, they'll help provide vision and meaning for your group; a place where people come because they care, are involved, and know why they're there.
Highly Sensitive people are conscientious, reliable, responsible, caring - about their work and about others - internally-motivated, able to see consequences, honest, and determined. This is a great list, especially for managers and other leaders, who need team members who do their work to the fullest extent possible, and provide an example for those who might struggle with or be less motivated in these areas.
Do you need more reasons? There are more! Let's keep going.
The big picture and the details
HS people see more about a situation, and they make decisions based on all the factors they can see (which are often many). This means their decisions are considered, with good foundations - decisions that can be trusted. It might take them more time to make them, but you can depend on the result. It's an important aspect of a smart team; you'll have the fast-actors, who can choose quickly and confidently, moving things forward and acting when action is needed, and the considered, reflective ones, whom you trust to make the more consequential choices with more variables. Their ability to see more about a situation (Highly Sensitive people notice and are responsive to subtleties) includes seeing more than one aspect of an issue in which people disagree. They can hold those differing views in their minds alongside their own, which helps them be understanding of other viewpoints, guide their colleagues to do the same, and come to conclusions which are more likely to satisfy everyone.
Improved processes & results
If you allow them to, your Highly Sensitive team members will refine the organisation's processes until they run smoothly, help ensure it's a fair place to be, keep the leaders on their toes, never settle for less than is possible, and help others to craft their jobs as they do theirs. In the end, they help you get the best out of everyone. If it sounds like they might be a bit annoying to have around, from a manager's point of view, then you're probably right! But you want that. You don't want to become complacent, or have a team who are. You want to be kept on your toes, having ideas for improvement and refinement, people who care and are interested, people who won't stop at mediocre or 'just enough'. Who don't need to be in the limelight, get fancy rewards, or have all the perkiest jobs.
They don't take sick days unless they really need to, they don't slack off at work or try to do the minimum that's required. They care about getting the job done - well - and take pleasure in completing things to a high standard. They won't easily gossip, and will respect the authority of their supervisors - unless that authority is misused or their trust unearned.
Nurture their gifts
All of these, as I consider, remarkable benefits of having Highly Sensitive people on your team don't just come magically, though. They come when conditions are right - not perfect, but good enough. If these people lack freedom and autonomy, don't have space to be creative or use their other gifts; if they have heavy-handed, restrictive or unimaginative managers and operate in inflexible environments, then the results you'll see in them will be worse than for their non-sensitive colleagues. Rather than inspired work, it will be lacklustre. Instead of caring about others, they're likely to retreat into themselves, becoming rigid and even difficult to work with. They might just do their required work and no more. In short, nurture their gifts and you'll have magic. Fail to, and both your organisation and they will languish behind their true potential and endure needless distress. Even with the best intentions, those with a High Sensory temperament do not thrive in the same conditions as those who are lower-sensory.
Your Highly Sensitive workers might not be the most obviously social (although some will be), and they often won't do things in traditional ways. They won't act for appearances, and you can't make them do something they don't believe in. So get their hearts and minds involved, and you'll have them on board to the end.
I can help
If this captures your imagination, but you don't know how to make it happen, that's where I come in - I'll look at your workplace, assess its current suitability for nurturing Highly Sensitive workers, and help you plan how to create the conditions where all the positive things I've detailed here can exist. Find out more on my Services page, and contact me for a discussion with this form. I look forward to creating magic together!
Tamara - Sensitive Thrive is my consulting business. I believe that the world needs Highly Sensitive people who are flourishing. We need their hope, insight, wisdom, and awareness of beauty and possibility. My vision is to help create a culture where this temperament is known, understood and valued; where organisations seek Highly Sensitive people to work for them, because they know what they can do. Where HS people feel like they fit in their workplaces, because those workplaces also fit them. A world where HS people belong, thrive, and flourish, and the world is better for it.