Team motivation and engagement using Maslow

For the past year world-class performance Psychologists i2i and survey experts Scancapture have been working together exploring the complex psychoanalytical meaning behind employee engagement and how we can measure engagement and motivational levels using Maslow’s 1942 masterpiece on high performance. This imaginative initiative produces staggering results.

Maslow argued that individuals needed to satisfy basic needs such as warmth, safety and security in order to then realise their own personal growth and development. The same theory can be applied to how an organisation treats and engages with their staff.

For many people the basic needs of a job are that the salary allows them to pay the bills and live a lifestyle they have become accustomed to. Having a sense of financial independence is innate in almost all of us with very few people brave enough to run a risk and disregard monetary reward in favour of other factors. This is our PHYSIOLOGICAL need.

Next on the hierarchy comes a sense of stability and what is commonly known as SHELTER. Given the volatile nature of the job market, most people fear the thought of losing their job and the prospect of having to join the unemployment line.

Whilst the concept of a ‘job for life’ is all but dead, people generally crave security and structure in the workplace – and much like salary would put this above other aspects of a job.

Let’s face it, whilst we may like to think we’re motivated by other criteria, the two questions we often ask when reading job ads are “what’s the pay?” and “is it a permanent position?”. When these two things don’t meet our needs the job instantly becomes less attractive to us.

Many larger employers have no issues satisfying those needs, especially when it comes to higher level positions. A big company recognises the importance of attracting the best talent. But what do you do once you have them? This is where Maslow’s needs theory really comes into play.

The next level in the needs hierarchy is a sense of BELONGING and holding trust and acceptance within a group. Organisational structures generally follow a team principle so creating a sense of camaraderie should just come naturally right? As the graph demonstrates, employees need to feel like they are part of something bigger but that they are also valued and their contribution is valuable to the business. This can only be achieved by instilling those beliefs from the top-down whilst also creating a sense of parity between staff and senior management.

This leads us on to the thing that really enables individuals to engage with their job and the company they work for – a sense that there is a feeling of self ESTEEM by the contribution that they make to the organisation. This feeling of significance, especially within a large company is absolutely vital if a member of staff is going to feel any real affinity and advocacy towards their paymasters. If you make your staff feel as though they are integral to the company’s values and goals then that’s when you have reached the high engagement holy grail.

But how do you achieve this? And how do you take engagement even further? One of the key things as an employer is displaying a genuine concern and interest in your staff’s progression and development within the company. Most people harbour some kind of ambition and want to move forward so the important role of the organisation is to harness that ambition and facilitate an individual’s growth. When employees have access to opportunities this is meeting their SELF-ACTUALISATION needs and will enable them to be highly successful and become an asset to the organisation, inspiring others along the way.

But how do you determine where on the Needs spectrum your employees actually are?

Introducing Focus100.

The easiest, quickest and most effective way of finding out is to carry out your Focus100 survey based around how your employees perceive their job and the values they attach to being part of the organisation as whole. Focus100 will not only give you this information but also allow you to rank your staff on the Needs Hierarchy and provide detailed guidelines on the actions required to move them up the ladder from ‘just surviving’ to highly engaged, productive individuals. Please get in touch, let us explain how we can quickly and easily bring the benefits of true engagement into your business.