Maslow’s hierarchy for employee engagement

Table of contents

Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who created the Hierarchy of Needs in 1948, which argued that psychological health was dependent on the fulfilling of needs in order of priority. This theory put forward the idea that people must satisfy lower level deficit needs (4-5) before progressing on to meet higher level growth needs (1-3).

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

The 5 needs in Maslow’s theory are:

  1. Self-Actualization – Achieving one's full potential
  2. Importance – Feeling of accomplishment, independence and self-respect
  3. Belonging – Friendship, love, affection, and intimacy
  4. Safety – Stability, security, order, law and protection from elements
  5. Survival – Biological needs such as food, water, shelter and sleep

Infographic on Maslow's hierarchy of needs applied to employee engagement Iris correct

Maslow's Hierarchy of needs can also be applied to employee engagement in the workplace:

  1. Highly Engaged – An employee is happy to help and inspire their co-workers and will not leave.
  2. Engaged – Someone who feels that they play a vital and important role in the business and is more likely to achieve.
  3. Almost Engaged – They know that they are part of something bigger in the company but may leave if offered a better opportunity.
  4. Not Engaged – Is looking for new opportunities, are unhappy with the management and possibly their working conditions.
  5. Disengaged – They are only working for their salary, are dissatisfied with their job and are likely to leave the company soon.

Similarly to Maslow's Hierarchy, an employee needs their basic needs such as their salary and work conditions to be fulfilled first before reaching high level needs such as feeling part of something bigger within an organisation.
Higher employee engagement also means higher employee retention and lower employee churn which cuts recruitment and training costs for businesses.

Reward and recognition programmes are a great way to motivate staff and increase the number of employees higher up the employee engagement hierarchy of needs.

If you are interested in increasing employee engagement in your company, contact Ovation today!