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Content sourced from Xero Media Release on 22 October 2019.  Republished here with permission from author.

New research from Xero and the Mental Health Foundation reveals poor wellbeing outcomes for small business

Xero​, the global small business platform, has announced that it will provide ​free and confidential wellbeing support​ to approximately 850,000 New Zealand small business owners, their employees and families.

Xero is launching this service in response to the results of the ​2019 Small Business Wellbeing Report​, jointly commissioned by Xero and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. Concerningly, even though nearly a quarter of Kiwis experience from poor mental wellbeing, the report showed most1 small business owners are failing to realise their team would benefit from improved wellbeing.2

Craig Hudson, Managing Director New Zealand & Pacific Islands at Xero, says wellbeing impacts the bottom-line and the right leadership within businesses is desperately needed. “New Zealand has critical mental health statistics to address as a country and for many people their workplace can play a central role in building their resilience and positive mental wellbeing.

I was shocked to see that two out of every five small business leaders don’t feel responsible for their team’s wellbeing. Looking after wellbeing is not only the right thing to do for our people andourselves, but also the right thing to do for our businesses.

I believe that the time is now for Kiwi business leaders to take steps to learn how to better support their employees, so we can collectively address this crisis,” says Hudson.

Xero is committing to this to make things easier for small business owners, by extending the Xero Assistance Programme pilot for an additional 12 months making  the programme available to all Xero subscribers on Starter, Standard or Premium plans. XAP is available to the business owners, theiremployees and family members, and is estimated to reach 850,000 New Zealanders.

The service is available through Xero’s own provider, Benestar. Users will have access to face-to-face, telephone, live chat and online counselling, as well as the Benehub and Benestar app, all paid for by Xero.

We started trialling the Xero Assistance Programme (XAP) earlier this year. Based on the results of theinitial pilot programme and our research results, it’s clear there is a real need for a service like this. We’re proud to create this opportunity to make XAP available to one in six New Zealanders,” says Hudson.

I know for many business owners part of the problem is that they don’t know where to start. I hope employees will start by using XAP and other employee assistance programmes as a preventative measure for support, rather than just directing people to these services when they are in crisis. This is one of the ways business owners can make a heartfelt  impact on mental wellness in the country.”

Shaun Robinson, CE of the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) says, research shows workplaces that effectively prioritise the mental health of their people have better engagement, reduced absenteeism and higher productivity.

Building mentally well workplaces is about adapting the tools businesses already have and integrating a mental wellbeing focus to work already underway.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a positive work environment and you don’t need toreinvent the wheel. Allowing flexible hours, open door policies and facilitating opportunities  for team members to build connections with one another are very powerful and simple ways to build positive work environments and boost employee wellbeing,” says Robinson.

The ​2019 Small Business Wellbeing Report​ is available for download ​here​. Xero will be contacting eligible customers from today. For information about how to access XAP visit​.

  • 24 October 2019