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- What is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?
Posted by : Amanda Stein Thursday, January 9, 2014
Maslow made no secret that his aim was to understand what motivates people; he believed that individuals possess a set of motivation systems that are unrelated to rewards or unconscious desires. In 1943, Maslow stated that people are motivated in order to achieve certain needs. When one has fulfilled those needs they then move on to the next one, and so on. The hierarchy is built upon this foundation with five motivation needs, often being depicted as hierarchy levels within a pyramid.
The basis of this five stage model is divided into physiological needs; these are a basic level of motivators that must be satisfied in strict sequence in order to move up the levels. Physiological needs are the most basic survival aspects; breathing, food, water, sleep and excretion. Once you have satisfied yourself by reaching these needs you are then motivated to move up onto a higher zone; safety. The safety level of hierarchy is not only physical security but psychological security too, from employment, family, health to property. They are followed by social needs, in order to feel loved and a sense of belonging within society, friendships, family and sexual intimacy. Finally the highest level of needs is self- actualisation, with the underlying theme that human beings always want to be ‘wanted’, from confidence to achievement to respect from others. As soon as one is satisfied the next one emerges, causing a vicious circle, therefore in the end the search for self actualization, by its very nature cannot be fully satisfied as it continually generates more needs.
He later goes on to explain that everyone is capable of moving up the hierarchy towards the highest level of self actualization. Unfortunately the progress one makes is often disrupted by failure to meet the lower level needs. Life gets in the way. From divorces, to job loss to a family pet dying, everything that happens causes people to fluctuate between different levels of progress. Maslow suggest the statistics that only one hundred people in society will ever become fully self-actualized because our society needs motivation, which are primarily based on love, self esteem and social needs.
Psychologist, Abraham Maslow felt that we can categorize human motivation as being based on people seeking fulfilment and change through personal growth. Self-actualization only occurs rarely when a person has fulfilled everything they are capable of. Instead of focusing solely on the psychopathology and what goes wrong with people he formulated a more positive approach to human behaviour and more importantly potential and how we can fulfil it!
Do you follow Maslow?
Your employees are the back bone of your business; they are the icing on your cake, the cheese in your yummy sandwich. Without them you would not be able to perform, succeed or continue to make profit. Therefore, you must treat them fairly, look after them and keep them happy.
How do we do that?
I hear you ask. One way to make sure your workers are happy and thus productive is to follow management strategies including Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This management strategy can be seen below:
How can you use it in your business?
You may be reading this, asking yourself the question “how does this relate to me?” or “how can I implement something like this in my business?” Well there are many practical applications to the real world. When you are dealing with the public on a daily basis, whether that is offering your product or providing a service you, first and foremost, need to establish what the customer wants and needs.
What does it all mean?
Let’s start at the bottom. Maslow suggested that in order to achieve complete happiness and thus, self – actualisation within the workforce, first you need to satisfy even the most basic of needs, including physiological ones.
Our physiological need is the need to eat, drink, sleep etc. In general, everyone needs to facilities to eat food, drink water and sleep in order to function. By providing someone with the ability to work they can afford to carry out the tasks to satisfy their physiological need, such as food shopping. Not only this, you as an employer can provide the facilities to satisfy these needs. By offering workers tea breaks and a suitable location to take the break, allows your employee to satisfy their needs whilst at work.
Workers need to feel safe within their work environment. This can be through the use of sufficient health and safety measures or job security etc. Understanding that your employer supports your health and safety, looking after you, encourages a worker to feel happy within their work. Also knowing that there job is secure allows them to remain positive too. Whether you are in the telephone answering business or an owner of a car dealership, all companies should be offering constant support and security to all employees.
· Level 3 : Social needs; the ability to create a good team atmosphere, a working environment where employees feel comfortable enough to socialise not just in work but it is important to be able to socialize with people outside of work to, this will make for better working relationships. Having friendly supervision from people higher up within the organisation can help to keep workers happy. After all, a work place which feels uncomfortable and where workers are afraid to communicate to their colleagues creates an uninviting atmosphere, one which nobody wants to work within.
· Level 4: Esteem needs; these include creating job titles for workers, recognising achievements and making them feel appreciated as if they are actually making a contribution to the team effort. Even if someone in particular who does not directly influence the organisations decision making, by making them feel like they do by giving them a small bit of responsibility, can encourage them to feel motivated and work in a more productive manner.
· Level 5: Self-actualisation; creating the opportunity for promotion and being able to grow within your organisation give’s your employees the feeling of Self-actualisation. Without feeling like there is the opportunity to develop their own skills and abilities, with the chance to develop in their career, employees become unmotivated, sluggish and unproductive. They also become less loyal to the business and are likely to leave to find better opportunities elsewhere, this means moving your company forward!
Not all of these are easily met within the workforce but by identifying them you, as the employer, commence the journey of creating happier employees and a more productive and loyal work force.
Author Bio: Business owner, marketing expert and writer Karen James has always been conscious of her business calls and as her businesses have grown she has sought guidance from one of the best telephone answering service; 1stResponse, experts in their field. When Karen is reassured her business calls are taken care of, she likes nothing better than long walks with her dogs or weekends by the sea with her grandchildren.