Motivation within an innovative work environment
An ARM case study

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Page 3: Maslow (hierarchy of needs)

In the early 1950s Abraham Maslow developed a theory of motivation. This was arranged in the form of a hierarchy of needs. At the bottom of the hierarchy are the basic needs. For example, these reflect that people work primarily to provide basic things that enable them to live, such as food and accommodation.

This is followed by safety needs that enable individuals to protect themselves and their families. These are followed by social needs as individuals develop a sense of belonging. As individuals satisfy one form of need, they move up the hierarchy towards the higher order needs.

p3_arm-3ARM provides employees with opportunities to fulfil higher order needs such as those of esteem and self-actualisation through challenging and interesting work. Engaging employees in change programmes and providing solutions enables them to contribute to the direction of the business. For example, recently more than 120 ARM employees were involved in developing ideas to improve how the company is run. Their ideas led to a wide variety of initiatives including ‘innovation days’ and an increased use of social networking, such as ‘ARM TV’ – an internal YouTube. The responsibilities associated with this helps individuals to fulfil their potential in a creative way, providing them with the opportunity for developing self esteem.

Talent management

ARM takes a ‘self betterment’ approach to talent management. For example, its people can take up opportunities for on-demand e-learning as and when it suits or going on international assignments to test and develop new skills. Employees therefore take responsibility for their own jobs and are constantly involved in improvement and change. This enables individuals to build their self-esteem and realise their full potential. This process is known as self-actualisation. ARM employees are involved at all levels within the business, thinking and acting for the good of the company. This in turn helps employees to feel good about themselves as they can see and evaluate the contribution that they make.


Teamwork within ARM provides employees with the social opportunity to share knowledge and ideas across the organisation. An example of this includes engineering conferences where groups of between 50 and 200 engineers meet to share their latest ideas and inventions. It also enables them to contribute to innovation and this helps them to see how their ideas influence processes and products.

Central to effective team working is the need for open and honest communication. ARM has an ‘open door’ policy where employees can go to senior managers at any time with questions or issues. This supports the focus on information and knowledge sharing. ARM also uses different methods of communications such as internal conferences, newsletters, director Q&A sessions (formal) and internet blogs (informal).

Safety and physiological needs are addressed through such factors as a good working environment and competitive pay. ARM encourages its employees to work hard. However, it also wants them to have fun. For example, ARM’s people frequently take part in team events such as marathons or team bike rides.

ARM | Motivation within an innovative work environment