Employee well-being is not just a line in the HR budget or checklist, the people chief of a New Zealand software firm said. Approaching the well-being of people is instead a philosophy.
“It’s a philosophy, a culture and a source of competitive advantage that’s as fundamental as any other core value or business function,” said Nicole Reid, Chief People Officer of Xero, the company behind the widely used cloud-based accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses.
Nicole believes well-being must be monitored, tested, strengthened and evolved by leaders. And so, the top management should be heavily involved from start to finish since the success of the business is dependent on the health and well-being of the people.
Having been in the HR space for more than two decades, Nicole has seen changes in the practices, trends, and focus of the industry. While technology, the economy and political climate, public health emergencies, and other factors affect the industry, HR would always be “intensely human,” she noted.
And Nicole walks the talk. Under her leadership, Xero recently appointed a global leader dedicated to well-being, replaced the idea of the “sick leave” with well-being leave, gave an extra paid “well-being day,” extended free well-being support, and even gave a small bonus for each employee to spend on their well-being.
“At Xero, we hold an abiding belief that people are our most sustainable source of competitive advantage. Many organisations believe this, but it’s how they ‘show it’ that matters,” the HR leader stressed.
Nicole has been with Xero for three years, spending the first seven months focusing on global initiatives as Executive General Manager for Organisation Development before becoming the company’s Chief People Officer in October 2019.
Before this, she spent eight years as People and Culture Manager for Microsoft and another eight years as People and Culture Director for AMP, a wealth management company based in Sydney, Australia. She also served leadership roles in Sun Microsystems and Optus early in her career.