Henrico’s New Capability Model: The Communication Capability

by Nancy Outlaw, Organizational Learning and Talent Development Division

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.