Page 5: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Management Forum provided a theoretical basis to help managers within Britannic Assurance to develop their understanding of their own motives as well as those of the people they managed. They learned that some people strive for achievement, status and power, while others are more concerned with financial benefits. It is important, therefore, for managers to understand the motives of each employee and treat them accordingly. There has been extensive research into motivation and the behaviour of people at work. One of the most widely quoted theories to provide an insight into people’s needs is that of Abraham Maslow. Maslow’s study of human behaviour led him to devise a hierarchy of needs, with basic needs at the bottom and higher needs at the top.
He claimed that people seek to satisfy a low level of need before moving on to a higher need and that as they move up the hierarchy people become more ‘complete’ as they enjoy their work more and feel a greater involvement with, and commitment to, their employer.
Within the workplace, an individual’s basic physiological needs to provide shelter, warmth, food and sleep for the family will be met by factors such as the wage, working conditions, sick pay and contract. Security needs, such as guarantee of employment and physical safety will be met with a pension, sick pay, a safe workplace and a reliable income. Social needs involve relationships and a sense of belonging within an organisation. These involve the companionship of others, becoming involved with group activities and being accepted by others.
Self-esteem needs stem from a need for individuals to feel recognised as individuals and have their efforts noticed. Job title, responsibility, promotion and decision-taking opportunities help people to feel satisfied and develop their self-confidence. Finally, self actualisation needs are concerned with personal development and the opportunity that individuals have to be creative in order to develop their full potential. Being offered interesting, challenging work that tests skills and talents certainly helps individuals to gain a sense of achievement.