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

On Inclusive Communication
Valentina's pictureCapacity's logo
Valentina Velandia, Co-Founder of Capactiy Zürich, a Talent & Startup incubator for persons with a refugee or migrant background who want to launch a business or a social initiative.

“Language and pictures shape the way we see our world and also reflect our values. How we talk to people, who we portray in our pictures and take as examples, affects our surroundings and makes the people we address feel more or less taken seriously and included in our world view.” 
V. Velandia

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! 
Inclusive Working Practice #2
...coming soon.
Inclusive Working Practice #3
...coming soon.
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