2023 Future of Ageing Awards profile: Inclusee Wellbeing Program

The Inclusee team

In this profile, we look at Inclusee and their Employee Wellbeing Program, which was awarded Highly Commended in the People & Culture category for their efforts to develop a positive workplace where staff engagement has increased, and absenteeism has decreased.

Inclusee is a free social support service that utilises the power of digital connection to combat social isolation and loneliness among older Australians. The organisation facilitates connections between people, ensuring that they remain actively engaged and connected to their community, fostering a sense of safety, inclusion, and value. Operating as a 100% virtual organisation, Inclusee comprises 26 paid staff and a team of over 200 volunteers, all working remotely from home.

The need for the Inclusee Wellbeing Program arose from various challenges faced by the organisation:

  1. Staff Disconnection: The virtual office setup led to staff feeling disconnected from their colleagues.
  2. Emotional Impact: Staff members dealing with emotionally challenging situations from clients sought ways to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  3. Productivity Issues: Declining productivity and an increase in overdue tasks, tracked through Hubspot.
  4. Well-being Concerns: An increase in personal and sick leave taken early in 2022.
  5. Psychosocial Hazards: A survey by Heart & Brain in late 2022 identified key well-being factors such as professional development, sense of purpose, positive culture, autonomy, and organisational trust.
  6. Volunteer Engagement: Volunteer sign-up numbers were declining, prompting the need for more engagement opportunities.

How it Works

In 2022, Inclusee embarked on a comprehensive well-being program to address these challenges, ensuring that the team felt skilled, supported, and confident in providing exceptional service to their community. The program included a range of training events and initiatives:

Training Events:

  • Productivity Ninja with Think Productive
  • Supercharge Your Comms with Think Productive
  • Create Your Communication Manifesto with Think Productive
  • Innovation Workshop with Inventium
  • Authentic You workshop with Mandy Nolan & George Catsi
  • The Wellbeing Protocol with Heart & Brain (12 facilitated sessions)
  • Project Management with Think Productive
  • Procrastination Training with Think Productive
  • Delegate Like A Ninja training with Think Productive
  • Emotional Intelligence training with Aptitude Management
  • Resilience training with Diversity Australia
  • Sexual Harassment training with Diversity Australia
  • Dementia Awareness training with Dementia Australia
  • Mental Health First Aid training with LifeLine (available to volunteers)
  • Comprehensive DISC personality model evaluation by Front & Centre
  • SBS Inclusion and Diversity training
  • Supporting Neurodivergent Coworkers with LinkedIn Learning


  • Option to work a 4-day week, with flexibility to switch back to 5-day weeks.
  • Flexible work hours between 6 am and 10 pm.
  • Additional annual leave day for your birthday.
  • Weekly well-being time with 30 minutes of paid time for well-being activities.
  • One hour of weekly paid learning and development time.
  • Paid LinkedIn Learning for all staff.
  • A $500 personal training budget for each team member.
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
  • $80 per month internet allowance.
  • Monthly paid volunteering time.
  • Optional committee teams.
  • Neurodivergent support group.
  • Twice-yearly 360-degree performance reviews.
  • Yearly engagement surveys.
  • MS Teams channel for reward and recognition shout-outs.
  • Quarterly Values Awards.
  • Aged Care Employee Day recognition and certificates.
  • Collaborative Communication Manifesto.
  • Above Award Pay.

Volunteer Initiatives:

  • Annual Volunteer Summit Day.
  • Monthly review calls between Volunteer Support Officers and volunteers.
  • Reward and recognition programs.
  • National Volunteer Standards Committee.
  • Codesigned online training platform.
  • Monthly volunteer newsletter.

Key Figures:

Rachael Cook, Inclusee’s CEO, embodies servant leadership, prioritising team support and motivation. She promotes positive Performance Reviews that celebrate individual achievements, emphasising open communication and empathy.

Rachael fosters a purpose-driven culture by aligning strategic plans with the company’s mission and values, encouraging goal-setting and self-driven KPIs. Inclusee values collaboration over competition, celebrating successes across its remote workforce via a dedicated platform. Rachael promotes employee empowerment with paid learning and development

Vicki Meyer, Volunteer Manager, was commended by Robyn Moore AM, who was the keynote speaker at Inclusee’s first Volunteer Summit. Robyn wrote of Vicki’s contribution, “Vicki was 100% present for us all at the Volunteer Summit during our preparation, presentations and the follow-up, which created an impeccable experience on the day! So much so, that I requested that I become an Inclusee Volunteer and was then asked to be their first National Ambassador.”

“With her Leadership, she continues to enrich the lives of thousands of older Australians who may have been forgotten. Everyone needs a Vicki Meyer in their life.” 

Robyn Moore AM

Evidence of Success

  • Staff engagement scores improved from 88% in 2021 to 92% in 2022 and 91% in 2023.
  • 100% positive ratings from staff on Learning and development opportunities, Company Confidence, and Social Connection.
  • 95% positive rating of the management team’s engagement.
  • 35% decrease in personal/sick leave taken.
  • 100% reduction in overdue tasks.
  • 21% increase in tasks completed.
  • 114% increase in meetings booked.
  • 43% increase in service delivery hours to the community.
  • Inclusee ranked 3rd in the Australian Financial Review’s Best Places To Work in 2023.
  • Shortlisted in Australian HR Awards – Best Health & Wellbeing Program.

2023 Highlights:

  • Feedback from Inclusee staff and volunteers highlights the positive impact of leadership, culture, and support in achieving the organisation’s mission. Editor: results of the employee surveys were shared in the awards entry.

“We are so privileged as employees of Inclusee. We have an excellent CEO who wears a great hat as an excellent health and wellness coach

Mere – Experiences Support Officer 

The Inclusee Wellbeing Program has been instrumental in addressing challenges related to staff well-being, engagement, and volunteer retention. Through an array of training programs, initiatives, and dedicated leadership, Inclusee has seen significant improvements in staff engagement, productivity, and service delivery. The program’s success underscores the organisation’s commitment to fostering a culture of support and well-being, ultimately enabling them to fulfil their mission of reducing social isolation and loneliness among older Australians.


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