Report calls on small businesses to focus on wellbeing initiatives

It found significant financial benefits

Report calls on small businesses to focus on wellbeing initiatives

Small business platform Xero is urging business owners to consider their wellbeing approach and policies after its research found significant financial benefits.

The research, commissioned by Xero and conducted by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER), found that small businesses can get up to a $12 return within a year for every dollar they invest in organisational wellbeing programs.

Craig Hudson, the managing director of Xero New Zealand and Pacific Islands, said small businesses are responsible for 28% of New Zealand’s GDP, employing over 630,000 people (around 29% of all New Zealand employees).

“When Kiwi small businesses succeed, our whole country succeeds. It’s encouraging to see the economy recovering after the challenges of 2020. But now’s the time for all small businesses to reset for ongoing growth in the long term,” Hudson said.

“It’s time to check if you are truly looking after your people. Last year, COVID-19 pushed wellbeing to the forefront for all of us and showed us the importance of looking out for one another in the workplace,” he continued. “But we need to make sure we hold on to these benefits as a country. We now know categorically that wellbeing delivers efficiency and productivity gains for businesses. Put simply: if small businesses are ignoring wellbeing, they’re wasting money.”

Much of the return on investment for wellbeing comes from businesses avoiding the negative impacts of having employees with poor wellbeing, according to the Xero-NZIER report.

“By fostering a workplace with a focus on wellbeing, we can destigmatise and address employee mental health problems proactively before there becomes a bigger productivity problem,” Hudson said.

“As well as being proactive with employee wellbeing, small businesses also benefit from providing reactive employee assistance programs like professional counselling,” he continued. “On average, an employee’s decision making and productivity is negatively impacted by poor mental health for around three months intermittently across a whole year if no-one intervenes.”