Inclusive Employment Practices

The 2018 National Employment Solutions Conference will be held at Twin Towns Services Club, Tweed Heads, NSW over the 8th – 9th October.

The conference provides the opportunity to be involved through presenting, learning, engaging, networking and collaborating with other professionals within the employment sector.

Joining us at the conference is Mr James Herbertson, A/General Manager, Employment at Flourish Australia who will present on ‘Inclusive Employment Practices’.


Flourish Australia is one of Australia’s largest organisations offering psychosocial supports for people with a lived experience of a mental health issue. We support 5000 people annually in non-clinical programs including housing, daily living and employment support.

In 2012 we set an ambitious recruitment target for inclusion of people with a lived experience at 50% of the total workforce. By 2017, 52% of our 670 staff identified as having a lived experience. This was achieved through strategic policy and practice decisions that were well communicated and modelled throughout the organisation.

Policies that support this goal include:
• Recruitment – supporting a positive bias in all staff appointment decisions. Preference is given to candidates with a lived experience where two or more candidates are of the same level.
• “Why not a Peer Worker?” campaign – reminding hiring managers when recruiting that Peer Workers should be actively considered in place of traditional Mental Health Workers;
• Code of Conduct and Ethics – all staff, whether with a lived experience or not, are held to the same standards of behaviour and ethical practices.

Practices that changed the culture of the organisation include:
• The Recovery Action Framework – an organisational framework guiding practices, decisions and interactions with people accessing our services and staff. Purposeful use of the framework including Reflective Practice, Strengths Based Language and Recovery Conversations had a positive impact on the organisation’s culture. Words like “consumer” and “client” were dropped and replaced with “people accessing our services” or just “people”.
• Recognising that at times reasonable accommodation needs to be made for people in the workplace. This, however, does not excuse poor performance or provide extra benefits; all staff must adhere to the requirements of their roles.


James Herbertson is part of the Flourish Australia’s Senior Leadership Team based in Sydney. He is responsible for the organisation’s employment programs such as the Community Businesses and Disability Employment Services and has managed disability employment programs since 2010. Prior to this James was based in Amsterdam for 10 years as the senior leader of a number of local branches and European Regional Director of the C3 Church movement.

For more information on the 2018 National Employment Solutions Conference and to secure your spot, please visit