Kiwi businesses have rated poorly in an index measuring how well they look after employee wellbeing, prompting warnings that those who don't step up face losing their talent in the tight employment market.
A survey of 1500 workers by the Skills Consulting Group gave employers a rating of 62 out of 100, with the construction sector attracting the lowest rating at 55 and manufacturing the highest at 70.
Jane Kennelly, GM of wellbeing at Skills Consulting Group, said the rating showed there was room for improvement.
"It really is indicative of where the world went last year. We had really hoped we were going to be in a stable work environment and we weren't."
Kennelly said over the past few years there had been a switch from providing employee benefits to wellbeing.
"I think there is a greater understanding and appreciation that wellbeing is about looking after the whole person coming to work rather than lovely fresh fruit on the table and yoga classes."
She said workers wanted employers that genuinely cared about them.
Kennelly said one company called Parkable described wellbeing as the organisation having workers with genuine bonds, connections and friendships.
"It's not just about organisations providing all this but offering an environment where people can genuinely care about each other.
"In their organisation they do things like have walking meetings amd professional development plans. They run a lot of training internally, with their people in small groups and also part of larger groups."
Kennelly said people spent a lot of time in the company of their employer and it was aspects like knowing the names of family members and respecting an employee's opinions that came up trumps.
"It is not just making sure the environment is inviting but it is the training, the development, the genuine care to try and increase people's prosperity by increasing their capability in their job.
"If we are getting this right at work, workplace satisfaction increases, people contribute more, businesses thrive and profit lines do reflect that. But not only that, people's lives improve."
One company she knew of was running workshops over the year on how to build a happy family life.
"Once upon a time that never would have been thought of in a work environment but now it is considered part and parcel of being responsible and helping people."
Employers who don't take wellbeing into account risked having disengaged staff, she warned.
"They are risking disengagement, someone turning up to do the job and nothing more than the job. They are risking a lack of collegiality, problem solving as teams, all those sorts of things that happen. And they are also increasing their chances of staff turnover - the old adage is true, studies show about 68 per cent of people leave their manager."
She said organisations that looked after their staff would be able to handpick talent.
"The losers will be those that turn a blind eye to it."
Kennelly said construction involved people doing very physical work and perhaps there was a perception that wellbeing was all about people who work in offices.
"Compliance is a big issue when it comes to the construction industry... if we get the wellbeing thing right we will reduce absenteeism, sloppy workmanship, shortcuts and increase the productivity of the crew."
The research showed employee satisfaction levels could increase by around 11 per cent if an organisation had a proactive wellbeing culture.
The organisation plans to carry out the research on an annual basis.