Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs- Theory of Motivation

Motivation is the reason for people’s actions, desires, and needs. Motivation is one of the essential aspects of HRM which is concerned with the process of inducing, inspiring, organizing, and stimulating employees to do the better job in the organization. The term is generally used for humans but, theoretically, it can also be used to describe the causes of animal behavior as well. Motivation activates people for better job performance and high productivity.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

The Hierarchy of Needs theory was coined by psychologist Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation”.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology comprising a five-tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. The crux of the theory is that individuals’ most basic needs must be met before they become motivated to achieve higher level needs.

The hierarchy is made up of 5 levels:

  1. Physiological – these needs must be met in order for a person to survive, such as food, water, and shelter. In other words, physiological needs are the needs for basic amenities of life.
  2. Safety – including personal and financial security and health and wellbeing. For instance- Job security, financial security, protection from animals, family security, health security, etc.
  3. Love/belonging – the need for friendships, relationships, and family. Social needs include the need for love, affection, care, belongingness, and friendship.
  4. Esteem – the need to feel confident and be respected by others. Esteem needs are two types: internal esteem needs and external esteem needs.
  5. Self-actualisation – the desire to achieve everything you possibly can and become the most that you can be. It also includes a desire for gaining more knowledge, social- service, creativity and being aesthetic.

According to the hierarchy of needs, you must be in good health, safe and secure with meaningful relationships and confidence before you are able to be the most that you can be.

How to apply it to the workplace

Chip Conley, the founder of the Joie de Vivre hotel chain and Head of Hospitality at Airbnb, used the Hierarchy of Needs pyramid to transform his business. According to Chip, many managers struggle with the abstract concept of self-actualization and so focus on lower levels of the pyramid instead.

Conley found one way of helping with higher levels was to help his employees understand the meaning of their roles during a staff retreat…

“In one exercise, we got groups of eight housekeepers at a table and asked an abstract question: if someone from Mars came down and saw what you were doing as a housekeeper in a hotel, what name would they call you? They came up with “The Serenity Sisters,” “The Clutter Busters,” and “The Peace of Mind Police.” There was a sense that people were doing more than just cleaning a room. They were creating a space for a traveler who was far away from home to feel safe and protected.”

Conley’s team were able to realize the importance of their job to the company and to the people they were helping. By showing them the value of their roles, the team was able to feel respected and motivated to work harder.

In order to get the most out of your team, you should also make sure you support them in other aspects of their lives outside of work. Perhaps you could offer flexible working hours to give employees time to focus on their families and make sure they are paid fairly to help them feel financially stable.

 

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