Inclusive Teams
For an organisation to thrive in times of complexity, constant transformative change and unforeseeable crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemics, it needs to build resilience. Working towards a culture of inclusion is a key factor for resilience because it trains skills that are essential for it: adaptability, trust and open communication, desire and capacity to learn, and acceptance of change.   
An inclusive environment is one that embraces, promotes and capitalizes on the differences that unique individuals bring and can therefore enable innovation, higher performance and employee well-being. Inclusion is thus not a “nice to have” element. It is essential for our capacity to deal with the major challenges humanity as a whole faces. 
Through the COVID-19 pandemic many of us experienced the most rapid change in working culture of our lifetime. Juggling home office with child-care created many struggles for parents, especially women*. At the same time, this disruptive phase accelerated the adoption of new ways of working.
Many teams across sectors have come up with creative ideas and fundamentally changed their working practices for the better. Our aim is to find these practices and bring them to the awareness and benefit of Swiss organisations and the public.

Inclusive Team Practices

An inclusive team practice is anything you do to positively impact your team's collaboration and dynamics, e.g. something that
  • makes it easier for every team member to be heard, seen or represented
  • allows team members to balance professional and private life easier
  • helps team members and leads to make unbiased decisions
  • helps the team benefit from the individual strengths of all its members
  • makes it easier for underrepresented groups to be considered as a talent
  • increases the safety for everyone to be themselves within the team
  • allows people with disabilities to be part of the team
  • protects team members from harassment or
  • allows team members to increase awareness of their biases
This list is meant as a starting point to get one thinking but must be extended continuously.
Who's involved
Anne's picture
Inclusion & Diversity Consultant

Anne has a background in social entrepreneurship and history with a focus on sexism and racism. Sometimes, she gets lost in her thoughts but she says that’s okay when it comes to the big challenges of our times that we should have started solving yesterday. She loves spending time in the mountains and is very concerned about intersectionality.
Anne's LinkedIn

Johanna's picture
Founder and Managing Director

Johanna loves to be able to work from anywhere and believes in the powers of global teams. As a progressive entrepreneur, she aims at finding ways to balance business rationale with impact, relationships and well-being. Fun fact, as a kid and teenager Johanna was very conservative when it came to food she didn’t know.
Johanna's LinkedIn

Anna's picture
Inclusive Teams Co-Lead

Anna is a project lead, facilitator and multipotentialite at heart. She firmly believes that human-centredness and inclusion are core qualities today’s work places need in order for people to thrive and do meaningful work. She loves co-creating and designing programs that enable learning and connection. Her motto: Let’s create ripples of positive change!
Anna's LinkedIn


We are convinced that there is at least one inclusive team practice in every organization. Imagine the amount of knowledge and inspiration for all of us if we manage to bring those treasures to the surface. We believe that a joint effort across organizations and sectors will enable teams in Switzerland to create inclusive team cultures step-by-step without their executives approval or budgets.




This project is a collaboration between the Swiss NGO collaboratio helvetica and Diversify GmbH. It was initiated as part of the Nova Helvetia programme: "An explorative journey to a healthy post COVID-19 Switzerland" during the first lockdown phase in 2020. The prototype will contain three concrete practices from different sectors and types of organisations and has been funded by Engagement Migros. To be able to continue the project after the prototyping phase, running from October 2020 to May 2021, we need additional funds from organizations, individuals and foundations.
Please get in touch with us if you would like to contribute.

empowered by collaboratio helvetica as part of the Nova Helvetia journey

Inclusive Working Practices

Valentina shares with us a practice that promotes inclusion through the use of language. Capacity Zürich has developed guidelines that define the principles of all team interactions when it comes to inclusive verbal and visual communication. 
Valentina encourages all teams and organisations to develop their own guidelines for inclusive language use based on their values, mission and context.

  • Flip the usual script
    Use examples that counter the prevailing stereotypes and status quo. For example, you could refer to company directors with the “she” pronoun or talk about preschool teachers using the “he” pronoun.
  • Give agency
    Instead of saying “refugees”, “migrants” say “persons with refugee or migrant background”. This gives agency and avoids emphasizing too much on only one segment of a person's identity.
  • Use non-stereotypical visuals 
    Communication also happens in pictures. In posters, online visuals, marketing and presentations; use your creativity and get out of your comfort zone: avoid perpetuating stereotypes and include visuals with people and groups who are not usually represented. 
  • Practice gender neutral language
    Use gender neutral language whenever possible. See the resources section for more.
  • Listen and ask questions
    Communication also happens in pictures. In posters, online visuals, marketing and presentations; use your creativity and get out of your comfort zone: avoid perpetuating stereotypes and include visuals with people and groups who are not usually represented. 
Links for more resources: 
Do you have further resources that others may benefit from? Share them with us! 
On Collective Accountability in Recruitment
Rashid JavedLogo Plan Switzerland
Rashid Javed, CEO of Plan International Switzerland, a development and humanitarian NGO that advances children's rights and equality for girls.

“Diversity and inclusion has to be a continuous process and ingrained into organisational culture. This practice of inclusive recruitment process is just one example. The continuous promotion and building of a strong inclusive culture in the organisation doesn’t happen overnight but is often a long journey of internal organisational and individual reflection.”
R. Javed

Rashid shares with us a practice called “Collective Accountability” and its implementation in a recruitment process. This is about promoting collaborative goal setting & creating institutional spaces for team members to participate in decision-making and the strategic direction of the organisation. It is important to have everyone’s voice being heard on organisational decisions (such as who to hire) that impact staff members and their roles.


  • Do a mapping of interlinks
    Map which staff members will be directly or indirectly collaborating with and impacted by the position you are about to hire. Remember to look beyond the direct team and consider interdependencies with other departments.
  • Involve staff actively 
    Ensure those impacted can participate in the recruitment process and have theirvoices heard and inputs recognized. You could involve staff members in formulating the job description, taking part in the recruitment panel or by giving the opportunity to have a chat with the candidate. 
  • Be transparent about why or why not
    Ensure there is a transparent and agile process that considers and responds to conflicting views and opinions on candidates: When making a final decision, be transparent about how, why or why not the given insights were considered.
Do you have further resources that others may benefit from? Share them with us! 
Leveling the playing field between
on-site and remote co-workers

Simon Moser from SkribbleSkribble logo
Simon Moser, COO of Skribble, a global solution for digital signing.

“Teams that reflect the diversity of their users are better suited to solve their problems. Not just because they share similarities but because they’ve learnt to integrate different viewpoints. To train this muscle constantly is what allows you to also empathize with your users.”
S. Moser

Simon shares with us a practice that promotes inclusion by giving people the same meeting experience no matter where they are currently based. 
In hybrid meetings, people often use one camera that films the whole meeting room and one screen that shows all the remote participants. In this setting, the remote participants cannot participate equally in the meeting, because they are missing the non-verbal communication and side-discussions that happen in the meeting room.


  • Everyone joins an hybrid meeting though their own laptop camera
    An easy fix for this situation is that all participants use their own laptop camera to join the meeting, even the people sitting together physically.
  • Use a table microphone
    If several people are together in one room, they have to make sure to turn off their microphones and speakers to avoid acoustic feedback. To ensure a high quality audio experience, we recommend using a table microphone.
  • More inclusive and efficient meetings
    With this practice, not only do meetings not become more inclusive (everyone occupies the same amount of space on the screen) but also more disciplined and therefore efficient.
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