Diversity, inclusion, and belonging at Xero
Xero actively supports diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace. We recognise that a diverse workforce is a strength that enables businesses, including ours, to better understand and serve customers, attract top talent and innovate successfully.
Our strategic focus
Through our strategic focus on diversity, inclusion, and belonging, we:
- proactively seek to understand every employee’s experience to continuously cultivate a culture of inclusion and belonging
- apply an inclusion lens to everything we do to support the unique perspectives and needs of our customers to create the best experience with Xero
- use data to understand the composition of our workforce so we know which groups are under-represented and whose voices we need to add or amplify
Key diversity, inclusion and belonging principles
Following our strategic focus, we apply six key principles in our approach:
- We value diversity because it reflects and serves our customers and ensures our people thrive
- We’re all accountable to create an inclusive culture
- We’re committed to attracting diverse talent and hiring fairly
- We support flexible ways of working
- We’re committed to equal pay for equal work
- We have an obligation to champion diversity and inclusion in the community
Along with prioritising reporting on representation, we focus on driving a culture of inclusion that enables everyone to tap into the potential and power of our differences. Inclusion means all Xeros have a sense of belonging and fairness, feel valued and respected, and can play their part in doing the most #beautiful work of their lives.
Our global diversity, inclusion, and belonging program is led by our Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging. We report annually on our progress against the measurable objectives for diversity approved by the Xero Board. For information about our progress against our objectives, see our most recent annual report.
Employee resource groups at Xero
In 2021 we formally launched our global Employee Resource Group (ERG) programme to provide an opportunity to foster a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace aligned with our mission, values, goals, business practices, and objectives.
ERGs may be built upon shared characteristics or life experiences that are focused on encouraging an exchange of ideas, promoting a greater sense of belonging and enhancing career and personal development of employees in the workplace.
Since the inception of the ERGs, we have launched several communities with more to come:
- LGBTQIA+ (Formal groups in US & Canada, NZ, Australia & Asia)
- Women of Xero (US & Canada, Australia & Asia, NZ)
- Māori & Pasifika (NZ)
- Indigenous (US & Canada), as well as a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) working group in Australia
- Los Xeros (Hispanic/Latinx in the US and Canada)
- Black Xero (US & Canada)
- Asian and Pacific Islander (US & Canada)
ERG initiatives and events
Our ERGs both lead and participate in internal and external events to build community, increase allyship through Xero, and support community partners.
- Women of Xero has hosted monthly interactive learning sessions this year, including speed mentoring sessions and a panel titled ‘Exploring the barriers and enablers for female inventors’, featuring Kendra Vant (Executive General Manager of Data), Paul Meyrick (Executive General Manager of Engineering), Katherine Rock (Head of Patents) alongside Dara Kendall (Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Procter and Gamble).
- Our Black Xero ERG has driven many initiatives both internally and externally over the past year. Highlights include participating in Juneteenth in both Denver and Atlanta, partnering with the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) in both regional and national work, and driving a program of educational content and events for Black History Month in the United States and Canada.
- We celebrated cultural and religious events such as Māori, Samoan and Tongan language weeks and Matariki (Māori new year) in New Zealand; Africa Day in the UK; NAIDOC Week in Australia; and Ramadan and Lunar New Year globally.
We are also proud to be a member of Diversity Council of Australia and DiversityWorks NZ.
Read more in the Xero blog
Supporting gender diversity at Xero
At Xero, focusing on gender diversity has always been a priority for us as we’re keen to get more women into the tech sector, ensure we have good female representation across our management levels, and remove any roadblocks to gender equality in all aspects of life at Xero. We know this drives better business outcomes not only for Xero but for our small business partners and customers.
Currently, 63% of our Xero leadership team (direct reports of Xero CEO) and 44% of our employees were women, and we had three female and five male directors on our Board.
As part of Xero’s continuing commitment to gender equality, we are proud to be included in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for 2020, 2021 and 2022. This inclusion recognises our investment in fostering a more inclusive and equitable workplace.
Gender pay equity
We regularly track our diversity data for internal monitoring and accountability. As part of this work, we conduct an annual organisation-wide pay equity review at Xero and communicate results to employees. At the time of our last analysis in February 2022, looking at Xero overall, like for like male and female pay was the same when compared to market remuneration.
In 2022 we also chose to participate in the New Zealand-based MindTheGap initiative which advocates that everyone is ‘paid fairly for their work; where pay discrimination based on ethnicity, gender or ability no longer exists’. As part of our wider commitment to gender diversity and ensuring that our policies, processes and practices encourage fair pay and true equality, we reported to the MindTheGap registry that our raw gender global pay gap is 11%, compared to 17% in New Zealand and 25% in Australia in similar companies.
We also think it’s important to shine a spotlight on and celebrate our female Xero customers and partners who are shaping the world of small business across the globe.
Increasing female representation at Xero
We are committed to getting more women into the tech sector through a number of initiatives including:
- supporting organisations that are working to attract and develop a more gender diverse workforce, including Code Like a Girl, Tech Girls Movement, Finding Ada and Women’s Tech Network (Canberra)
- championing the development of STEM careers through initiatives including Xero’s graduate and intern programs
- shining a spotlight on the importance of gender equality through International Women’s Day, running events across our offices.
Despite the disruption of Covid-19, we continued our community outreach and engagement program in New Zealand with the aim of increasing gender and ethnic diversity in the early stage pipeline of talent into tech. We shifted many activities online, including creating an online coding adventure for young people aged 9-14, co-creating the Trailblazing Women in Tech quiz for girls aged 9-13 with the She# team, and supporting our people to participate as mentors in the GirlBoss Edge engineering and technology online career accelerator for high school-aged young women. In 2021, we resumed some in-person activities, such as hosting school student work experience days for young women and Pasifika students, and ShadowTech days for teachers.
Read more in the Xero blog
- Xero’s commitment to gender equality and fair pay for all
- How to create an inclusive workplace for parents
- The disability worker breaking down bias
- Xero included in Bloomberg GEI Index
- International Women’s Day: We all need to choose to challenge
- Support for parents at Xero
- Xero's commitment to diversity in the workplace globally recognised
- Fostering a culture of inclusivity and equality at Xero
- How our Xero Americas offices celebrated #EachforEqual this International Women’s Day
- IWD: What does a gender equal workplace mean to us? Part 1
- IWD: What does a gender equal workplace mean to us? Part 2
- Names matter
- Celebrating women in STEM
- Something for the kids: Xero at STEMwana 2020
- Xero partners and customers nominated for top honours at the Women in Finance Awards
- Girlcode workshop
- Students get a taste for coding at Xero’s Girlcode workshop
- Practice Ignition’s top 50 women in accounting 2019
- Techweek NZ: Our events in Hawke's Bay
Strengthening belonging and understanding
We recognise that building a culture of inclusion is not a stagnant moment, but a journey for all to participate in.
We offer multiple avenues for learning opportunities for our people and people leaders to participate in, increasing the capability for everyone to drive a culture of inclusion within their teams. Below are some of the learning opportunities we offer at Xero to help build inclusion and belonging:
We offer several learnings through our online learning portal, including:
- Disability confidence @ Xero
- Diversity and inclusion
- Pride in diversity: LGBTQIA+ awareness
- Unconscious bias
- Worldviews and religion
Other learning opportunities
Along with our online learning opportunities, we offer several facilitated courses for our people to participate in:
- Xero’s global Inclusive Communities offering runs throughout the calendar year. This course touches on multiple aspects of building an inclusive community, including awareness of our own identities, our RISE inclusion model, understanding covering/code switching, bias in language, and behavioural shifts based on neuroscience leading to a culture of inclusion.
- Xero in the Americas partners with the Black Professionals in Tech Network to provide lean-in sessions for all employees to participate in, focused on building capability in all employees to be actively anti-racist.
- Through our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), we offer regional and global offerings based on the focus area. These have included Neurodiversity Inclusion through our UK Diversity and Inclusion Forum, Awareness on Truth and Reconciliation Day in Canada through the Indigenous ERG, Confidence in Leadership through Women of Xero, and more.
Inclusion in talent selection
We use diverse channels to hire staff, including listing jobs on sites like Work180 and other job boards that promote diversity in hiring.
In 2020, we established partnerships with Tech Returners in the UK and the Black Professionals in Tech Network in the Americas to tap into more diverse talent pools.
In previous years, we have:
- piloted an internship with Specialisterne, an organisation which supports employment of people on the autism spectrum.
- hired through non traditional pathways including the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Australia and the New Zealand Red Cross’s Pathways to Employment program.
- participated in the TupuToa internship program in New Zealand.
We're proud to be a member of the Australian Network on Disability (AND). We're also proud to be a Level 2 Disability Confident Employer in the United Kingdom.
Along with goals focused on the diversity of our candidate pool, we want to ensure all participants experience inclusion throughout the hiring process. To do so, we have launched several new initiatives in the past year:
- In the Americas, we implemented a pilot program featuring the Inclusive Slate Rule, ensuring that all open roles have a diverse slate of candidates in the pipeline. We also use panel interviews for all roles, making sure there is diversity in perspective.
- We have integrated bias education into the training that all employees who participate in the selection process participate in, ensuring we are aware of bias and how to mitigate it.
Improving representation of under-represented groups
We’re committed to increasing the diversity of our workforce and have entered into a number of country-specific partnerships to help us achieve this. Since April 2021 we’ve been working with the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) in the United States. We were proud to sponsor NABA’s 2021 scholarship program, and awarded our first scholarship recipient in October 2021.
In July 2021 we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Association for Advancement of Black Accountants of Southern Africa (ABASA). We’re joining forces to support the great work they’ve been doing to drive the advancement of black accountants and practices, and encourage future professionals into the industry. This partnership marks our ongoing commitment to create a diverse and thriving accounting industry in South Africa. It follows the launch of our program with First National Bank to mentor and drive digital adoption and skills amongst fast-growing, entrepreneurial black-owned accounting firms.
Increasing LGBTQIA+ inclusion and awareness
At Xero, we want to create a culture of belonging, where differences not only exist but where they are respected, supported and fully celebrated. It’s about ensuring our people can be their authentic self, and flourish in an environment where they feel accepted and know they belong. LGBTQIA+ awareness and support is an important part of creating an inclusive culture at Xero.
We have formal LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) in the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Asia. These groups also support activities across Xero globally.
Here are some of the ways that we promote LGBTQIA+ awareness and inclusion at Xero:
- Xero is a member of Pride in Diversity in Australia and Stonewall in the United Kingdom.
- Xero has achieved the Rainbow Tick in New Zealand in recognition of our inclusive workplace.
- We provide LGBTQIA+ awareness and education across some of our offices.
- We provide options in our human resources system for employees to self-identify as non-binary or gender diverse.
- We also encourage our people to indicate their pronouns in our internal IT systems and in their email signatures.
- We recently installed all-gender bathroom signage in our Wellington headquarters to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for trans, gender diverse and non-binary employees and guests. We plan to extend this initiative wherever possible in our offices globally.
- Xero supports employee participation in local Pride parades under the Xero banner.
Read more in the Xero blog
Supporting families and carers
In 2022, we launched a new program of inclusive benefits to support our people when they are starting or growing their family. Our support for parents is available to all permanent employees globally, regardless of their gender identity, how they become a parent, or how long they’ve been with Xero. Since we introduced our gender-neutral parenting benefits, 10% of employees taking up parental leave have been men.
We also provide support for Xeros who have caring responsibilities through paid carer’s leave, which they can use to care for sick children, older parents or any other family members who require support. This is in addition to flexible and remote working arrangements, which help our people to balance work and family responsibilities.
The Xero caregivers platform
Balancing work and caregiving is a huge challenge, whether you’re planning or starting a family, navigating parenthood at all stages and/or caring for others such as elderly parents.
Xero is proud to partner with Circle In to launch our caregivers platform. The platform is a place for employees with caregiving responsibilities, and the people leaders of carers, to find personalised support and connection. It aims to make life easier wherever possible by providing tailored resources and a community to lean on and guide you through different aspects of caregiving.
The platform provides support and information for:
- parents, including everything they need throughout their parental leave journey and beyond.
- caregivers, with tips and guidance to support them in managing their caregiver responsibilities.
It’s also great for people leaders, teams and individuals - to help them have the right conversations and be supportive of their colleagues.
Coaching to support our new parents and those with caring responsibilities is also available through our partnerships with Grace Papers and Transitioning Well.
Doing the best work of our lives
At Xero, we create an environment where people want to work in our team and love what they do.
Xero’s culture and the way in which we live our values every day are something for which we are widely known, and we’ve been recognised in multiple countries as one of the best places to work:
- UK Great Places to Work-CertifiedTM 2022
- LinkedIn Top 25 employers in New Zealand 2022
- Australian Financial Review, Best Places to Work 2021
We provide our people with the freedom to shape their career and do the best work of their lives. And we’re proud of the work we do to help small businesses succeed.
If this sounds like you, we’d love to hear from you. Find out more about working at Xero at our careers page.
Developing our people
Great leadership is essential to getting the best out of our people and we invest in our people leaders' continuous development as leaders, from laying the foundations as aspiring leaders through to programs for established leaders and ongoing cohort programs at all levels.
As peers and leaders, we know that feedback and challenge help us do the best work of our lives so we invest in offering training and team development activities such as our Crucial Conversations workshops to help make challenging conversations more useful and less intimidating.
We’re committed to supporting our people to achieve their career goals. To support this, we have developed learning pathways to help individual employees and their leaders plan their development and growth.
We know that it can be hard to find time for learning, so we have an internal learning channel packed with bite-sized learning modules to help our people fit learning into their everyday life. This allows our people to participate in continuous development even if it's a busy season of the year.
Mental health and wellbeing
At Xero, we’ve long championed the benefits of mental health and wellbeing to our people, our customers and our partners. Our people leaders continue to share their experiences authentically, creating an environment where talking about mental health and wellbeing is normalised. Some of the ways in which we do this include:
- provision of a free, confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to our people and their families
- including psychological wellbeing sessions in Xero people leader events
- designing and rolling out a mental wellbeing e-learning module for all our people.
Our first annual wellbeing climate survey in 2021 identified clear links between wellbeing and the performance of individuals and teams. It also provided an evidence-based way of understanding how to create the workplace conditions that foster wellbeing at Xero and what interventions will deliver this.
Our global wellbeing program
Under the stewardship of our Global Head of Wellbeing, we’re committed to putting wellbeing at the heart of how we operate. We’re exploring how we can make changes to the way work is designed in order to improve our people’s experience of work, such as introducing designated meeting-free ‘focus time’ for deep, concentrated work. Our data demonstrates that the same workplace factors that are good for our people’s wellbeing are also good for performance, reducing the chance of burnout. We have close to 80 wellbeing champions across our global offices.
Our 2022 research continues to put wellbeing at the heart of our sustainability as a fast growth company, linking our wellbeing climate with individual factors such as burnout and organisational factors such as attrition.
We’re partnering with two leading cognitive neuroscientists from the University of Berkeley to help optimise how we spend our mental energy and our time to maximise performance and wellbeing. This programme, called Time Well Spent, is a company-wide reset on how we approach meetings, prioritise focus time and get clear on our daily priorities so we can be deliberate about how we spend these precious resources of our time, energy and attention.
Xero's Annual Report 2022 outlines our performance for the year to 31 March 2022 and also includes details of our work in sustainability, and our latest gender diversity figures.