Your HR & People Operations Questions, AnsweredHow do I know if I’m supporting the basic human needs of my people?
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How do I know if I’m supporting the basic human needs of my people?

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Amanda asked 5 months ago

1 Answer
Jean replied 5 months ago
Hi Amanda!

People are an organization’s greatest asset. Ensuring your employees are motivated begins with understanding what their basic human needs are and how to support them in the workplace.

You may find it helpful to reference psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

**The 5 Tiers**

1. Physiological needs. Consider these our basic human needs. Everything from wages or salary to work environment, benefits, and health insurance. These items enable your employees to live their daily lives and take care of their families.

2. Safety. Another vital need that can impact the overall satisfaction of your workforce, safety is more than feeling physically safe at work. It also pertains to feeling emotionally safe and supported.

3. Social needs. These relate to a sense of belonging through developing interpersonal relationships in the workforce.

4. Self-esteem. This is your overall opinion of yourself, how you feel about your abilities, and your limitations. An employee’s esteem rises when they’re learning, growing, and being recognized for the work that they do.

5. Self-actualization. The highest order of motivation equips us with the ability to be the very best version of ourselves at work. This translates to your employees ultimately wanting to feel that they’re doing the best they can in their positions. A self-actualized employee feels empowered and trusted, which encourages skill and career growth as well as enhanced engagement.

**How to determine if you’re supporting those needs:**

1. Offer fair compensation. Compensation and fair wages are critical in supporting your employees’ physiological needs. Recurring salary reviews, bonuses, and additional financial incentives go a long way in addressing these needs. In the current job market, on average, there are two open positions for every candidate. So the power is in the employee’s hands. It’s crucial to continuously benchmark your organization’s compensation packages to stay competitive and improve.

2. Have a nurturing and uplifting culture. Employees want to feel that the organization aligns with their values. In addition to legally obliging compliance regulations and safety standards, meet your employees’ safety needs by nurturing and uplifting company culture with diversity, equity, and inclusion policies.

3. Encourage inclusive leadership. Inclusive leaders drive belonging in high performance. An organization thrives on strong peer-to-peer, employee-to-manager, and employee-to-client relationships. By actively listening, collaborating, and providing conflict management, you can support the social needs of your workforce. In turn, your employees will feel a sense of belonging, leading to improved employee retention and productivity.

4. Make expectations clear. Support the esteem of your workforce by providing your employees with clear job titles and expectations, coupled with sincere recognition and appreciation for their work. There are many ways that you can reinforce your appreciation for your workforce, from a holistic rewards program to simply pointing out the wonderful job that they’re doing in your weekly one-on-one meetings.

5. Empower your people. Support your people’s self-actualization needs by empowering them to make creative decisions that impact your organization. Give them additional learning and development opportunities aligned with their career and personal interests. Encourage them to join memberships in industry associations and participate in seminars or conferences.

For more information, you can check out this video:

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