Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist and he was known because he created Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory of psychological health where in this hierarchy it includes five levels of human needs.
The Way Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Gives Motivation to Employees
According to the Management Is A Journey site, here is how to apply Maslow’s Theory to the employee or workplace.
Lower Level Needs
In general, people who start their career will be concerned about their physiological needs such as adequate salary, stable income and security needs such as benefits and a safe work environment. They need a good salary to be able to fulfill their needs and of course besides having a good salary, they also want to have a good environment.
If the lowest level needs of employees are not fulfilled, they will make decisions based on safety, compensation, or stability concerns. It is difficult for them to be motivated if their pay is unfair and if the jobs that they have are dangerous.
If the basic needs are fulfilled, then employees will want their belongingness or social status to be fulfilled. It is important to note that the level of social interaction that is needed by employees varies based on their personality whether they are an introvert or extrovert. But, the point is that they want to work in an environment which can accept them and have some interactions with others in the organization.
It means that effective interpersonal relations are needed. To motivate employees, an environment where staff cooperation is rewarded can be created by managers. So, interpersonal effectiveness will be encouraged.
The other important thing to fulfil an employee’s social needs is ongoing managerial communication about operational matters. Employees who are ‘kept in the dark’ about personal matters and the future plans of the organization where they work will feel that they are not the part of the organization or organizational outsider.
Benefits, pay and job security are important. However, to be able to motivate your team, you have to do more.
Higher Level Needs
Let’s say that these needs are fulfilled by employees. If so, they will want higher level needs of esteem and self-actualization to be fulfilled. Esteem needs are about an employee’s image of themselves and their desire to be respected and recognized by others.
If an employee does not want to move into management, he may not want to do the same work for 20 years, as cited on the Management Is A Journey site, and he may want to be included on a project team, learn other tasks or duties, complete a special task or expand his duties in some manner.
There are popular methods for making work more rewarding namely job enrichment, cross-training and special assignments. To fulfil an employee’s esteem needs, permitting them to take part in decision making on operational matters is also a powerful method. And finally, symbols of accomplishments like awards, job perks, meaningful job titles, business cards, work space and many more are important to employees’ esteem as well. So, managers need to be able to provide rewards to their employees from the organization and from doing the work itself. However, rewards must be balanced so that it can give a maximum effect.
To fulfil employee esteem needs, not only work assignments and rewards which are important, but also workplace fairness or equity. Employees will be interested in growth and individual development with self-actualization. They will also have to be skilled at what they do. They may want an opportunity to complete further education, a challenging job, increased freedom from supervision or autonomy to define their own processes for fulfilling organizational objectives.
So, at this highest level, managers have to be able to promote an environment where employees are able to fulfil their own self-actualization needs.
The Reason of Why Maslow’s Theory Works
Basically, the idea of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is that people’s needs are changing constantly. After one need is fulfilled, then they want other needs and it is understandable. The raise that employee got 3 years ago will not motivate them for the next 10 years. The challenging job that employees started 5 years ago will not have the same effect on them today. The performance award that they got last year will not satisfy their need for recognition for the rest of their lives. And these truths were understood by Maslow and as cited from Management Is A Journey site that it is the beauty of his theory of motivation.
Various Rewards, Practices and Programs That Supervisors and Their Organization Can Use to Fulfill Employees’ Needs
According to the FM Link site, there are various rewards, practices and programs that supervisors and their organizations can use to be able to fulfill employees’ needs.
Physiological (Basic) Needs
- They must be able to provide a pleasant and comfortable environment.
- They must be able to provide a comfortable salary.
- They must obey the safety rules and regulations.
- They have to be able to minimize layoffs and downsizing.
- They must provide well-defined job descriptions.
- They must be able to minimize negative stroking and threatening behavior.
- They need to provide information about the firm’s financial status and projections.
- They must provide ‘just’ compensation and supportive fringe benefits.
- They are able to encourage the team concept to execute projects.
- They are able to systematically use job satisfaction surveys.
- They can sponsor office business and social meetings.
- They can provide close personal leadership.
- They can encourage participation in professional and community groups.
- They can compensate on the basis of total team performance.
- They can include employees in setting goals and making decisions.
- They can provide opportunities to show skills and talents.
- They can provide recognition symbols such as print names on stationery.
- They can provide opportunities for coaching and development.
- They can use a positive reinforcement program.
- They can pay attention to office size, parking spaces, office location and other facilities.
- They are able to institute a mentor system.
- They can compensate as a recognition of growth.
- They can provide for participation in setting goals and making decisions.
- They can provide opportunities and support for a career-development plan.
- They can provide job rotation to broaden experience and exposure.
- They can offer optimal innovative and risk-taking opportunities.
- They can encourage direct-access communication with clients, suppliers, customers, and vendors.
- They can provide challenging internal and external professional development opportunities.
- They can provide supportive leadership which can encourage a high degree of self-control.
- They can compensate as a reward for exceptional performance.