Coaching & Leadership

Maslow Was Talking About Jobs All Along

Florence Dobbenie

Customer Success at intuo

Everyone is familiar with Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. A theory which argues that psychological health depends on the fulfilling of needs in order of priority. He discusses human needs such as air, water, love, freedom,... But what if we applied his theory to jobs and employee loyalty?

Employee loyalty is the extent to which there is a general willingness among employees to make an investment or personal sacrifice in favour of the organisation. But how do you achieve that? When and how is an employee greatly invested in her or his organisation? 

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  1. Physiological Needs

  2. The physiological needs are the physical requirements for survival (air, water, and food). In the working world, the most basic need is having a salary. In life, as much as we don’t want to admit it, we have to pay bills and obtain a certain level of financial independence (bye bye hotel mommy). When deciding on how much salary each employee should receive, we have to talk about perceived fairness. If everyone feels as if they’re paid in a fair manner, and their basic needs are met, this is a stable foundation for creating loyal employees. 

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  4. Safety Needs

  5. The second level in Maslow’s pyramid is safety. In the absence of physical security, people may experience trauma or stress. When we have a job, we want to be assured that we will have the job in the long term and that we will be the one that decides to leave, not the organisation. Managers should never underestimate the importance of communicating such assurance to their employees. When an employee knows what the future of the company looks like and how he will grow within the company, he will feel more secure about his job and naturally be more loyal.

  6. Social Needs

  7. Employees need to know that their individual contributions are being valued by the organisation.
  8. In general, human needs are defined by interpersonal feelings (don’t be too much of a seducer, though) and involve feelings of belonging. People need to feel like they’re part of a team and are contributing to something together. Employees also want to know that the company values their individual contributions. Setting up personal objectives is already a big step forward but you should also make team and organisational objectives very transparent. Not only setting up individual objectives but also making the team and organisational objectives very transparent are a big plus for creating employee loyalty. This is because they would feel the company is moving towards a certain direction and realise their values in fulfilling the company goals.

  9. Esteem Needs

  10. Esteem is all about the feeling of respect, acceptance and being valued by others. People with low-esteem often need more respect from others than people with high-esteem. But keep in mind that in a working context, everybody wants to find out whether what they have been doing every single day is the right thing and is valuable for the organisation. This simply leads us to the importance of giving recognition on a continuous basis. When employees receive recognition and appreciation for their work, they feel they are being valued. This will immediately lead to job satisfaction and higher productivity. Moreover, employees will be motivated to maintain or improve their work quality. 

  11. Self Actualisation

  12. Last but not least: self-actualisation. This level of need refers to what a person’s full potential is and the realisation of this potential. Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that someone can, and to become the best they can be. How will you manage to achieve the top of Maslow's pyramid? Give your people the opportunity for growth, learning, and leadership. Enable them with tools to do their work better and outgrow themselves. If you can achieve that, you will have loyal and pleased employees.