Inclusive Workplace Competencies

The skills and knowledge to build an inclusive workplace

TRIEC’s Inclusive Workplace Competencies can help you understand the knowledge, skills, and behaviours that can help your organization create an inclusive workplace.

The Inclusive Workplace Competencies is a research-based framework that you can incorporate into your training programs and existing competencies model. 

The Inclusive Workplace Competencies are a part of TRIEC’s Scaling Inclusive Workplaces initiative. Read the initiative’s impact report.


What are the Inclusive Workplace Competencies?

Putting It Into Practice

The competencies can be used to support a wide range of activities and goals across your organization. 

Organizations around the world are using TRIEC’s Inclusive Workplace Competencies to…

  • Define inclusive behaviours for leaders and teams
  • Develop diversity and inclusion training
  • Set performance goals
  • Inform policies and practices
  • Expand their existing competencies framework


Frequently Asked Questions

What do you mean by competencies?

Competencies describe behaviour. Organizations use them to set out how they expect employees perform effectively in their roles. They should be a standard against which you can determine someone’s level and measure their progress. They help colleagues have a shared understanding of what being competent in their work means.

Rather than a list of tasks, competencies are about the knowledge, skills and behavior that you need to show you’re doing well at your job.

Competencies can describe any aspect of someone’s work. The TRIEC Inclusive Workplace Competencies  ‘paint a picture’ of the principles, behaviours, and underpinning knowledge that characterize an inclusive work environment.

TRIEC launched The Inclusive Workplace Competencies in October 2017. They have been featured in HR publications including HRM online and Canadian HR Reporter.

How do I choose competencies for my list?

You can select the competencies that you think would be most relevant to you by clicking on the plus icon to the side of each row. You might want to think about the following questions to help you decide which competencies to pick:

  • Does your organization have a competency framework right now? What does this framework include? Which of the Inclusive Workplace Competencies might complement these, or fill in the gaps?
  • Which competencies align with your organization’s business priorities?
  • Which competencies align with your diversity and inclusion goals?
  • Which competencies would appeal to your colleagues, or to Senior Leadership?


How were the competencies developed?

TRIEC worked with an expert working group of employer representatives from a variety of sectors to develop the Inclusive Workplace Competencies, with the support of a team of researchers and consultants from CamProf Inc and Graybridge Malkam.  They are part of a wider project to develop new support for employers to help them build more inclusive organizations. Along with other TRIEC initiatives, this will lead to more workplaces within the GTA and beyond being able to make best use of their diverse workforce.

The Inclusive Workplace Competencies are a part of TRIEC’s Scaling Inclusive Workplaces initiative. Read the initiative’s impact report.

How can I/we measure progress?

As an individual improves in each competency, they progress along a development path: becoming both more practiced and proficient, and also capable of dealing with more complex situations where inclusion comes into play. Each person’s progression path will be different, depending on their situation and the learning opportunities they use.

If you do not have a framework for measuring progress in place at your workplace, you might find this template helpful:

Developmental Stage 1. Ready 2. Understand 3. Respond 4. Perform 5. Coach & Support 6. Lead & Transform
Skill Level



knowledge alone apply      conceptually, perform tentatively perform confidently help others create initiatives, change systems

Stage 1 Ready: the learner is aware of where they are not yet competent.

Stage 2 Understand: the learner has learned the theory (perhaps by personal reading, or after conversation with a mentor, or by attending a formal course), but has not yet had the chance to put it into practice. Their competence is primarily conceptual, they are far from fully competent.

Stage 3 Respond: the learner takes the first tentative steps to apply the theory to their real-life situation. In many cases this will be at a largely conceptual level (for example identifying issues or adjusting one’s communications) and making the first careful and hesitant attempts to put the learning into practice when interacting with real people.

Stage 4 Perform: the learner now performs routinely, putting into practice what has been learned and acting with confidence.

Stage 5 Coach & Support: the individual shares their experience of D&I skills by helping others to gain them, perhaps by acting as a mentor. Not all people in the colleague role will reach this stage, although many supervisors and managers may do so. At this stage the competencies in the second sphere (“within my team”) will be developed more fully than at the earlier stages.

Stage 6 Lead & Transform: only the two roles of HR/D&I Professional and Champion are likely to reach this stage (and possibly some managers): creating D&I initiatives and changing the systems and culture to promote D&I. At this stage the competencies in the third sphere (“within my organization, workplace and community”) will be developed more fully than at the earlier stages.

Why have you divided them into three spheres?

The competencies are divided into three areas:

  • As an individual (“within myself”)
  • With the team (“Within my team”)
  • With the wider organization or community (“within my organization, workplace and community”).

Most jobs will involve some independent work, some work as a team, and some work with other teams and departments. These spheres help you to assess how you or a colleague/line report is performing in each of these areas.

Who are the competencies for?

They are for people working at every level within an organization. When creating these competencies, we had four distinct job roles in mind:

  • people who work with other people (colleagues)
  • people with responsibility and authority for others in the organization (supervisors and managers)
  • people with specific D&I responsibilities (Human Resources and Diversity & Inclusion specialists)
  • people who play a leading role in introducing and improving D&I performance within the organization, who may be senior leaders (such as President, Managing Director, Director) or otherwise seen as role models in the organization (D&I champion)

The same competencies can be used by any of the job roles, although the levels of proficiency and complexity for the competencies for each of these roles may be very different. The individual learner or their employer can plan their learning path, take advantage of the learning opportunities that are available and choose the appropriate mix of competencies needed for the each job role.

How can my organization use the competencies?

You can use the TRIEC Inclusive Workplace Competencies for a variety of purposes. For example:

  • Job descriptions
  • Training needs assessment
  • D&I planning and monitoring
  • Organizational policy development
  • Continuing professional development
  • Recruitment, selection & promotion
  • Supplier and community development initiatives
  • Learning objectives for programs
  • Criteria for assessment

You can tailor the competencies to suit your needs. This might include:

  • omitting some of the competencies entirely because they are not relevant.
  • adjusting the language so that it is the language used in your context (for example using ‘customer’ or ‘passenger’ rather than ‘client’).
  • restricting (or adding to) the Range of Circumstances so they only cover what you need.
  • modifying the Underpinning Knowledge needed for each competency to reflect your situation, legislation, province, sector, etc.
  • modifying the examples so that they are appropriate to your users.
How do I use this tool?

Click on the competencies above that will be most relevant or useful to you. After you have selected the competencies you need, you can export them to word so you can adapt and share them with your colleagues and peers.