Henrico’s New Capability Model: The Inclusion Capability

As a high-performing organization, Henrico County focuses on providing our employees with the resources and support needed to excel in our ever-changing work environment. The new Capability Model (shown below) is designed with this support in mind. You can learn more about the capabilities within it on Capability Model resource page.

To help you understand each of the seven individual capabilities within the model, the County Connection features a series of articles, each of which focuses on one of the capabilities. This article focuses on the capability of Inclusion. 


For an organization to thrive, all employees need to have a sense of belonging and feel valued for their individual contributions. As a result, these diverse and inclusive workforces are better at decision-making, innovation, and overall results. These results are due to elevated levels of engagement and motivation to produce high-quality work.  


Some may think of specific types of diversity such as race, ethnic background, gender, or sexual orientation. While these are certainly elements of diversity, there are many more to consider. A few examples include age, cultural background, religion, disability, language, education, personality type, and personal values. The Inclusion capability focuses on creating a sense of belonging for the entire diverse workforce. It is defined as “Acknowledging and showing appreciation for the individual differences, contributions, and talents of all team members, and strengthening employee confidence in their abilities.”


There are many ways for all employees in the workplace to help foster a sense of inclusion. Here are some examples:

  • Increase your self-awareness. Be mindful of how you express yourself with your colleagues. Ask yourself: How am I coming across to others at this moment? Do I appear open? Calm? Approachable? Am I intentional about getting to know my teammates?
  •  Welcome everyone’s input during meetings. Create an environment where employees feel empowered to share ideas without fear of rejection. Pay attention to whose voices you’re hearing and not hearing during meetings. Encourage, listen and be open to diverse views and opinions, and acknowledge them with respect. Send your agenda ahead of time to provide introverted employees time to contemplate the ideas they will share, and make time for them to connect offline with additional thoughts after the meeting.
  • When planning activities, consider your coworkers’ individual needs and circumstances. Are there elements of the activity or celebration that might make any of your colleagues uncomfortable? Your plans need to ensure everyone can attend and participate. 
  • Connect with others. It can be natural to gravitate toward people when we have things in common with them. Instead, challenge yourself to build connections with those who are different from you. A great way to do this is to attend one of Henrico County’s workshops on diversity and inclusion to engage in open dialogue. Share information about yourself and ask questions of others to learn more about them. 
  • Encourage involvement and participation. When leading others, involve employees in decisions and initiatives that impact their work. Ask for their opinions and input through informal discussions, meetings, focus groups, or surveys. Asking for the input of your diverse workforce leads to better decisions and more engaged employees.
  • Recognize and appreciate others. Acknowledge your team members individually for the unique value they bring to the workplace. Share with them how their specific contributions positively impact the workplace and the organization. 


Fostering inclusiveness maximizes the organization’s success and engagement of the employees by involving the diverse perspectives, ideas, knowledge, and approaches of every person. To find more examples of diversity and inclusion, view the “Psychological Safety: Fostering a Sense of Belonging” video and the “Voices of the Heart” video series on the OLTD YouTube page

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Henrico’s New Capability Model: The Communication Capability

Whether you’re a new or longtime employee, the ability to meet the demands of our rapidly changing workforce is essential. With this in mind, Henrico County has introduced a new Capability Model designed to help County employees develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in our new work landscape. The model is shown below, and you can learn more about the capabilities within it on our resource page.



To help you gain an understanding of each of the seven individual capabilities within the model, the County Connection is featuring a series of articles, each of which focuses on one of the capabilities. This article focuses on the capability of Communication.


Effective communication is essential for productivity and good working relationships, and it’s only become more important now that many employees work from home. While verbal and written skills may initially come to mind, there is much more involved. Good communication also requires strong listening skills, the use of diplomacy and tact when interacting with others, and effectively addressing conflict when it happens. The Communication capability, defined as “Expresses thoughts, ideas, and information effectively,” encompasses all these skills.


Conflict can be an area many of us struggle to navigate well. Some may avoid it at all costs while others may be too aggressive when confronting others, resulting in damaged relationships. However, handled well and with good communication skills, learning and growth can occur. Communication can be at the root of many conflicts among employees. Let’s look at an example of a conflict between two employees and how applying the components of the Communication capability can help resolve it.


Two employees are working on a team to redesign a process. During a brainstorming meeting, they both present very different ideas on a solution, and they end up in a disagreement. To work through this conflict employing the Communication capability, one employee might respectfully approach the other and propose they meet to have an open dialogue about each other’s ideas.


During this meeting, each employee actively listens to the other’s ideas, asks questions to further their understanding, and tries to comprehend the other person’s perspective. They use diplomacy and tact to give feedback on each other’s ideas and their own opinions of them. Instead of trying to “win” or be the one with the “right” solution, these two employees would have a goal of coming to an agreement on the best possible solution for the process.

In this example, the employee proposing the meeting showed strong communication capabilities through the desire to learn more about their coworker’s point of view and approach them to suggest a meeting to discuss their ideas in more depth. The second employee demonstrated the capability by being open to the meeting and their coworker’s perspectives. Both employees approached the meeting with the goal of the best solution for the organization, listened to and appreciated each other’s ideas, and engaged in mutually respectful dialogue.

In summary, great communication is the foundation of a successful workplace through building positive relationships, increasing collaboration and innovation, and engaging employees. To find more examples of communication capability, view our Communication videos that include tips on respectful dialog and dealing with conflict on our OLTD Division YouTube page.

For more information on the Capabilities, visit our resource page.

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Henrico’s New Capability Model: The Courage Capability

In our ongoing commitment to meet our workforce’s and residents’ ever-changing needs, Henrico County has implemented a new Capability Model beginning in the Fiscal Year 2022-2023. This model replaces the previous County Competencies and focuses on the knowledge and skills needed to successfully lead and serve in a rapidly evolving workplace and community. 

The Capability Model is modeled around seven capabilities, with many former competencies woven into it. 

The four capabilities outside the circle – Courage, Customer Engagement, Communication, and Inclusion – are foundational to success and create opportunities to excel in the three capabilities within the circle—Leading Self, Leading Others, and Leading the Organization. The seven capabilities promote “Future Readiness,” as you see in the circle’s center.  

You may be wondering how each of these capabilities is defined and how they apply to your role. To help you better understand, the County Connection will feature a series of articles focusing on a different capability each month. 

We’ll start with the Courage Capability.

While some may think of courage as bravely fighting battles or standing up for a person or belief, the model refers to a slightly different definition. For county purposes, it is defined as a “Willingness to navigate uncomfortable situations, adhere to vision and values, take action and initiative on new ideas, and question assumptions and processes to improve outcomes.” 

So, what might the Courage capability look like in the workplace? Here’s one example: 

A team is responsible for presenting important information to all employees. One team member recognizes a segment of information that could be potentially interpreted as questionable or even offensive by certain audience members and realizes this could harm the County’s credibility. This employee shows courage by respectfully approaching the team leader, sharing the potential negative impact of the information, and suggesting an alternative approach. 

In turn, the team leader demonstrates courage by being open to the teammate’s feedback, challenging their own assumptions of how this information could be perceived, asking for input regarding alternative solutions, and actively making changes to the presentation based on their conversation with the teammate.

In this example, both employees are stepping outside their comfort zones with the shared goal of success. The employee with the concern did not simply present the issue – they also proactively came up with a suggested solution. The team leader remained open, curious, and engaged in healthy dialogue with the teammate to explore solutions that would benefit the organization. 

You can find more examples of the Courage capability on our resource page.

Courage in the workplace fosters employee engagement, decision-making, problem-solving, and innovation. As the County transforms to meet current and future demands, courageous employees play a crucial role in our success.

For more information on the Capabilities, visit our resource page.

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