Assessing Communication Competencies in Inclusive Performance Reviews

Instructor: Joseph Madison

Joseph received his Doctorate from UMUC in Management. He retired from the Army after 23 years of service, working in intelligence, behavioral health, and entertainment.

This lesson will explain why it's important to assess communication competencies as part of an inclusion and diversity assessment during performance reviews by identifying and describing interpersonal communication competencies that should be assessed.


Hillary, a manager at Soft Shoes Inc., has a diverse and skilled team. However, she's heard that some of the team members, Kim and Ann, feel like they don't really have a secure and equal environment. Hillary sits down with these two employees one-on-one to discuss their concerns. Ann tells her that she doesn't feel that she's had the same opportunities as the rest of the team, while Kim thinks that her peers don't believe her to be as skilled as them. This is where inclusion comes into play.

Inclusion is the intentional action to incorporate and continually engage in diversity practices. You see, diversity isn't enough for Hillary and her employees. Instead, the organization should always ensure that the work environment is inclusive even after diverse employees are hired. Hiring employees regardless of race, gender, or sexual preference is only the start: now your business needs to make sure you and your other employees can communicate effectively.

What Competencies Should You Look For?

As a manager, it's really important for you to assess the communication competencies of your employees. Even if you're communicating with them really well, some employees may make your organization more challenging to work for. This is where you'll need to pinpoint the competencies that are important in inclusive communication, which will allow you to assess them properly. Let's take a quick look at some examples of communication competencies that contribute to inclusion.

Actively Listen

Jim is having a conversation with Jenna about her struggles to finish a project on time. Jim makes sure to repeat important things that Jenna says to let her know he's listening, and to ask open ended questions about her concerns so he can get more information. This shows Jenna that Jim cares about what she's been saying and wants to help her improve.

Use Diplomacy, Tact, and Conflict Resolution

Karen asked Mary to sit down with her, because Mary recently received a promotion into a position that Karen really wanted. This has made their relationship a little strained and Karen would like to resolve this. Karen tells Mary how much she wanted that promotion and explains how she felt that she was more qualified for it based on her performance. Mary, doesn't apologize for her accomplishment (and she shouldn't), but she makes a point to acknowledge Karen's feelings. Mary knows she can't change the current circumstances, so she instead offers to work with Karen in order to help her also be promoted.

Demonstrate Empathy and Compassion

Lauren recently dealt with a death in the family. Mark, one of her co-workers, brought her a card and asked her how she was. Mark made sure to just be there for Lauren to speak with when needed.

Respect Others and Their Differences

Iris, a manager, believes that integrating a learning culture into her company's business model would increase employee loyalty. Eric, another manager, would rather include a rewards and recognition program. Eric and Iris listen to each other's points and realize they both have a valid idea. Instead of just proposing one to senior management, they work together to create a proposal that includes both options.

Provide Constructive Feedback

Lily and Horatio have been working together on a project for their office, a design for a new shoe. Horatio recently gave Lily his part of the design, but it's drawn on crumpled paper and barely looks like the concept they'd discussed earlier that week. Lily, first asks if Horatio is okay, since this isn't normal for him. Then she asks if he decided to change the design. Horatio explains that he didn't want to change the design, but that he just hurriedly sketched it that morning because he'd completely forgotten about the due date. Lily just smiles and tells him about a time when she had done the exact same thing. She then tells him that she's totally happy to send reminders in the future if that would help. Horatio agrees.

Adapt Communication

Polly has been put together on a project team with Barb. Barb is brilliant at her work, but she only takes direction if it's given to her bluntly and without any hesitation. Polly, a usually quieter employee, learns how to be stronger in her communication in order to work with Barb more effectively and give her direct answers and opinions.

Diversity & Inclusion

How to Assess Communication Competencies

Now that you know what to look for its important to find ways to assess these competencies in your workforce. This can be done in several ways:

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