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Doubling down on mental health support for Kiwi small businesses

Posted 3 years ago in Small business by Craig Hudson
Posted by Craig Hudson

Today we released the 2019 Small Business Wellbeing Report in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. We know from current conversations and the results of this report that there is still a crucial need for mental health support amongst Kiwi small businesses.

New Zealand has critical mental health statistics to address as a country. For many people their workplace can play a central role in building their resilience and positive mental wellbeing. I understand first-hand the positive impact work can have on your mental health, particularly when you are in crisis. But until working with the Mental Health Foundation I didn’t comprehend how few small business leaders understood this completely and holistically. 

The research shows that a concerning number of business owners question if it’s their place to be involved in their employees’ wellbeing. I’m here to say it absolutely is. 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 and ourselves, but also the right thing to do for our businesses.

Shaun Robinson, CE of the Mental Health Foundation echoes this, “Building mentally well workplaces is about adapting the tools businesses already have and integrating a mental wellbeing focus to work that is already underway.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a positive work environment and you don’t need to reinvent 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. 

Supporting New Zealand’s small businesses

To step up and help small business owners, we’re extending our Xero Assistance Programme (XAP) pilot to reach more Kiwis. We’re offering XAP to all our starter, standard and premium subscribers, as well as all our accountant and bookkeeping partners for an additional 12 months. We’re thrilled that this service will provide free and confidential wellbeing support to approximately 850,000 New Zealand small business owners, their employees and families. 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.

For many business owners part of the problem is that they don’t know where to start. I hope employers 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 sizeable impact on mental wellness in the country.

For information about how to access XAP, email xap@xero.com 


Angus Ogilvie
March 9, 2020 at 8.48 am

This is a superb initiative and the team at Xero should be congratulated for showing such leadership. Suicide statistics continue to climb in New Zealand and small businesses can be part of the solution. Bravo.

November 25, 2020 at 2.43 pm

That’s a great initiative. I’m reaching out for my team to see if we can use this service! Thanks.

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