Motivating and engaging employees for better business
A Virgin Media case study

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Page 5: Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Virgin Media 18 Diagram 1In 1943 Abraham Maslow published his theory of a hierarchy of needs. Maslow identified that as individuals we have five sets of needs as shown in the diagram.

At the first level, basic needs are those of food, water, warmth and shelter with wages that meet those needs. Safety needs include protection from danger, for example health and safety at work as well as job security. Social needs include a sense of belonging in work teams. He identified esteem needs as those of self-confidence, feeling useful and needed by other people. Maslow proposed that having satisfied all the lower needs an individual would then be able to realise their own potential for self-development.

Although Maslow’s theory has been widely criticised, because he believed that one set of needs had to be satisfied before moving on to the next, it has nonetheless contributed to the understanding of motivation in the workplace.

Involving and listening to employees views is essential in creating a sense of belonging to the company. Using its annual employee engagement survey, Virgin Media values have been developed with employee input. Each year, an employee opinion survey asks all employees to answer questions from categories such as training, development and career, strategy and way of working. In this way everyone at Virgin Media is able to contribute to making the company a place in which they all love to work. The company has seen year on year improvement with the 2012 results showing 82% of Virgin Media’s workforce is engaged.

Career progression

Virgin Media 18 Image 9All Virgin Media technicians are managed through the ‘Your Story Framework’ for career progression. This includes regular meetings to discuss performance, review progress against set objectives and develop plans which offer a clear career ladder to enable progression within the company. This approach ensures fairness and consistency and also offers opportunities for progression in salary. This framework directly supports Maslow’s higher order needs. As Francis, a female apprentice says:

‘First, it's not all about the job. Second, you're really well looked after. Third, Virgin Media are genuinely interested in your future development.’

Virgin Media has a culture of ‘doing the right thing’ and believes that creating a fun workplace where people feel happy makes for a better business. Its commitment to corporate social responsibility ensures its employees have access to opportunities to meet their self-actualisation needs. For example, each year a day is dedicated to raising money for charity.

Virgin Media | Motivating and engaging employees for better business