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Human needs and rewards

People being human need to be rewarded and encouraged for their endeavours. A number of researchers have investigated the link between motivation and reward. One of the most famous of these was Abraham Maslow who developed what is referred to as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Studying this approach enables us to understand the sort of rewards that people need to receive in order to have these needs met.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Basic needs are for a kit of basic survival tools such as food, shelter and clothing.

Security needs are to feel safe and secure, free from harm.

Group needs involve the need to belong to a group or team, rather than to feel isolated and alone.

Self esteem needs are for a sense of prestige and self worth.

Self actualisation needs to involve total self fulfilment through creativity, independence and doing what you enjoy.

It is possible to arrange a set of motivating rewards that are targeted at these different types of needs.

Basic level needs can be met by providing employees with a good standard of living through decent pay structures. Employees can then buy the items that enable them to have their basic needs met.

Security needs can be met by providing employees with a safe working environment and appropriate training to minimise any health and safety risks.

Group needs can be met by organising employees in appropriate team structures with good sets of communication links.

Self esteem needs can be met by rewarding employees with promotions and job titles, which are commensurate with their efforts.

Self-fulfilment needs can be met by encouraging employees to develop themselves, using appraisal as a tool to identify ways in which individuals can meet their highest order needs.

A reward package can be designed in such a way as to enable employees to meet a full range of human needs. By enabling this fulfilment of needs the employer will enable and encourage employees to be hard working and committed to the organisation.

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