The impact of accessible and inclusive recruitment

Thu 5 August 2021

Screenshot of a virtual meeting. 7 people talking and an Auslan Interpreter.

In our July roundtable, AND members gathered virtually from across Australia to hear from the host, AGL Energy, on their disability confidence journey, plus from Australia Post on their DCR achievement and from the ABS on the census.  

AGL’s Disability Confidence Journey

If organisations are on the call thinking ‘gee, we’ve done a little bit of that, but there’s a lot we need to do, where do we start?’ I think we can relate to that.” – Stephen McSweeney

Members from AGL’s senior leadership team opened the AGL presentation. Damien Nicks, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Sponsor of Disability and Stephen McSweeney, Head of People and Culture, shared an open and honest experience of the journey of achieving inclusive recruitment at AGL.  

Both Damien and Stephen acknowledged the journey can be overwhelming – even when foundational pieces are in place.

Again, this is not groundbreaking, but the point here is that if something is really, really worthwhile, you’ve got to start somewhere.” – Stephen McSweeney  

The audience appreciated the unfiltered, encouraging, and genuine presentation. Stephen noted the partnership between AGL and AND was crucial to successfully see inclusive recruitment in practice in the organisation. Between support completing the Access and Inclusion Index benchmarking report, and AGL participating in both the Stepping Into and PACE program AND was able to provide guidance around the next steps to help them achieve their goals.

Damien also mentioned additional call-outs that made inclusive recruitment possible at AGL, including:

  • Inclusive practices
  • Leaders who lead
  • Data-driven insights
  • Engaging with insights with both customers and communities.

With inclusive recruitment firmly in place at AGL, the audience was then treated to a powerful and vulnerable experience from AGL’s Michael Townsend, Major Outage Contract Manager at AGL.

“I actually love being autistic. This gives me my identity, and beauty and fun and humour and love and wonderful things that it fuels me with.” – Michael Townsend

Michael shared his personal reflection of his experience with autism and ADHD in the workplace. Michael spoke about his journey from his diagnosis to current day and acknowledged how transformative his diagnosis had been for him. Michael did not shy away from the adversary people with disability can face in the workplace, discussing the stark contrast between working in an organisation without inclusive recruitment versus working within AGL, with their inclusive practices embedded throughout the organisation.

Michael’s sincere and earnest story-telling moved the audience to continue to build momentum and make changes to support inclusivity within their own organisations.  

Australia Post’s Disability Confident Recruitment

At the roundtable, members also heard from Australia Post’s Sharon Carroll to carry on the conversation from our 2021 conference around Australia Post’s 3-year journey to achieve Disability Confident Recruiter (DCR) status, and for a question-and-answer session.

Sharon noted, like AGL, that leadership buy-in was crucial to achieving the goals of a disability confident organisation. She also spoke around the practices Australia Post implemented to be accessible – like asking about workplace adjustments three times during the recruitment process.

Find out more about embedding inclusive recruitment through what Australia Post are doing by watching the roundtable recording, or view  Australia Post’s story on achieving DCR on our website.   

And that’s not all

Members also had the opportunity to meet our new CEO Corene Strauss, and, hear about the 5 years of the Access and Inclusion Index from Deputy CEO Amy Whalley.  The session ended with the ABS on the accessibility of the 2021 census.

Members can view the roundtable in the members-only section of our website.

If you aren’t a member, find out more about the benefits of membership and how to join our network.


We acknowledge that at AND, while we recommend the use of person-first language, good practice is to always ask the person to see what they feel most comfortable with as it varies between person to person.

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