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Data & Insights 3 min read

How supporting wellbeing can boost your bottom line

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Craig Hudson

Mar 31, 2021

Wellbeing is something that affects us all and is rightfully garnering more attention as society explores what it means to have positive wellbeing. Defined by the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand, positive wellbeing  means someone is feeling good, functioning well, has satisfaction with life, is developing as a person, and has strong relationships. 

The benefits don’t stop at the individual level. Building a culture of wellbeing in the workplace creates more resilient, productive and happy employees. It means as a team they can better cope with setbacks, take advantage of opportunities, and contribute more to the business.

I’ve always believed that business success and wellbeing are linked. Positive staff wellbeing creates a solid foundation to drive better business outcomes. To quantify just how much of an impact wellbeing has on a business, we’ve launched new research that shows investing in wellbeing is not just good for your people, it’s good for your bottom line. 

A return on investment for wellbeing

New research commissioned by Xero and conducted by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) shows investing in employee wellbeing can actually make a business more profitable. The research reveals for every dollar a small business owner invests in company-wide wellbeing initiatives for their staff, they can expect to see a return of up to 12x within a year.

This return on investment was measured through productivity improvements across two key areas:

  1. Team wellbeing: Creating a wellbeing culture that supports the physical and mental health of your team. For example, wellbeing education programmes, fostering an environment that openly supports mental health, and organising activities designed to improve staff wellbeing. This approach has an ROI of 5:1, and up to 12:1.
  2. Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP): Offering reactive support with professional counselling to help individuals with their mental wellbeing. This approach has an ROI of 3.6:1, and up to 5:1.

Much of this return on investment comes from avoiding the negative impacts of having employees with poor wellbeing. By creating a culture of wellbeing, we can de-stigmatise and address employee mental health issues before it starts to impact productivity.

According to the NZIER, poor wellbeing negatively affects a person’s decision-making and productivity for an average of 13 weeks a year. That’s three months of the year where that person’s ability to do the job is impacted. 

We spend more time at work than anywhere else, which is why we must make it a place where people feel valued and supported. If we can support our people so that they feel better when they leave at the end of each day they come to work, think of the impact that has on their wellbeing. They become more connected to the business, more productive and motivated to do more. 

Take your business to the next level

Last year, NZIER concluded that a 20% increase in the uptake of cloud technology could add up to $6.2 billion to New Zealand’s annual GDP. We now know the financial benefits of investing in technology, and now we have the numbers to show the same for investing in wellbeing. 

Small business owners can’t afford to not invest in wellbeing. 

We’ve put together a guide for small businesses to find out how to get started with wellbeing in their workplace. It also includes industry-specific apps that can help your business become more efficient and more profitable. 

Nearly half of all small business owners work six or seven days to keep their business running. What’s more, 88% of them miss out on family time because they’re distracted by the business. Don’t leave money on the table, or spend your weekends working. Read the guide to take your business to the next level.

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