Brighter business / Employee engagement according to Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs

Employee engagement according to Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs

30th September 2016

What in your life is absolutely essential?

It’s a question that Maslow has been answering for decades. The 1940s psychologist created his conceptual pyramid that illustrates the requirements for life in order of priority: the famous Hierarchy of Needs.

Its foundation is built on the absolute essentials of life – warmth and food – and scales all the way up to personal fulfilment and esteem-boosting accomplishment, the ultimate desires.

You’ve probably seen it before:

Knowing which elements of your life are the essentials and which are the luxuries is incredibly useful for establishing the kind of position you’re at, and even better for finding out what it would take to raise you to the next level.

This means that Maslow’s pyramid is pretty handy for analysing your business and your employees.

A new version of the Hierarchy of Needs has been adopted to show the different levels of employee engagement a business can achieve. Have a look:

Employee engagement according to Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs - Body Image

At the bottom of the pyramid you have the worst case scenario: the ‘disengaged’ employee. Most people – unless you’ve been lucky in your career path – will be able to empathise with this level.

The job you have isn’t the job of your dreams. It’s not even a job that’s on the right path to the job of your dreams. It pays the bills, and that’s about the only good thing you can say about it – and as soon as you have a better opportunity, you’ll be out the door.

From a business point of view, if you recognise this kind of thinking in any of your employees or colleagues, huge alarm bells should be going off in your head. A ‘disengaged’ employee won’t stick around, and as most people know, staff turnover is not only disruptive for a small business, but very expensive.

Right at the top of the pyramid isthe ultimate employee, the ‘high flyer’. This is the colleague you really want on your team because they make management effortless. They’re self-motivated, enjoy their work and look to help others. They’re as engaged as they can be and aren’t remotely interested in looking for other work because their needs are already being fulfilled.

Want to know how to get employees in gear and move them up to the next level? This is where management needs to step in and recognise that a certain amount of time must be dedicated to employee welfare. While not every employee will be self-motivating and enthusiastic, by providing a supportive, constructive atmosphere from day one, you can remove any barriers that are stopping good employees from becoming great employees.

With a small push, we can all get to the top.