Maslow’s theory can be easily applied to the work environment. For an employee, this organization was popularized under Maslow’s Pyramid.
What is Maslow’s Pyramid?
Maslow’s Pyramid is a psychological theory formulated in 1943 by Abraham Maslow in his work “A Theory of Human Motivation”. Maslow argued that all of our actions are directed at satisfying specific needs. According to the psychologist, there are different levels of priorities, hierarchical, for each one of them. To explain these levels and their relationship, his successors and later studies simplified it by drawing a pyramid.
First, the most basic for the human being are those related to survival (the base of the Pyramid). Once the basic ones have been achieved, it is necessary to ascend and develop higher needs. Finally, self-realization will be the highest goal to be completed (top of the Pyramid).
What are Maslow’s 5 needs?
The Pyramid that Maslow imagines is divided into 5 levels, one for each type of need :
- Physiological: Basic survival issues, such as food, a stable source of income, or a home.
- Security: they are necessary to live, but at a different level from the previous ones. They are geared toward personal security: a safe workplace, pensions, or health insurance.
- Affiliation: they have to do with interpersonal relationships, that is, with the emotional and the social. People seek to be integrated into society, maintain good relationships with the people around them and feel part of a group.
- Recognition: People seek glory from both themselves and others. Friendship, family or partner are those essential elements to feel socially accepted and to be able to advance, with confidence, towards self-realization.
- Self-realization: it is the top of the Pyramid. It is directly related to personal growth. A person will find meaning in her life by developing an activity, as long as the previous needs are covered.
What is the purpose of Maslow’s Pyramid?
The objective of Maslow’s Pyramid in the workplace is to help us identify and prioritize by levels what are the work needs, from the most basic to the top of the Pyramid, that must be covered to achieve our goals successfully.
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How is Maslow’s Pyramid applied in a company?
Maslow’s theory can be easily applied to the work environment. For an employee, the path begins when lower-order needs (physiology and safety) are met.
As a general rule, when a person wants to work, they will be very concerned about receiving a salary. But he will not only need a source of income from his company; The company must provide conditions and a place to carry out the work, such as an office or facilities to eat and rest (physiological needs).
When these first needs are covered, the worker will take care of settling down and having specific fixed resources and a safe and stable work environment (security). On the one hand, the employee will want to have a healthy life; have, for example, certain guarantees in risk prevention and occupational safety (preventive action, hygiene, ergonomics.). In addition, he will look for and stay in his job according to the company’s financial stability, its consolidation in the sector, and the confidence that the management transmits to the outside – market – and to the inside -workers-. The employee, therefore, will guide his decisions to find solid professional developments that protect his interests.
Once these basic levels have been reached, the employee will want to satisfy their affiliation needs. Interpersonal relationships at work are necessary and practical. If the company promotes cooperation between workers, it will increase performance and generate a good working environment. When managing company plans, communication is essential; employees must feel taken into account to foster a feeling of belonging.
Later, the employee will develop new motivations and seek to be successful in his work; that is, he will fight for the recognition of his career. If the company and his colleagues recognize the merit of his work, the professional will increase his confidence. Both the image that the rest have and the one that he has of himself will be positive and reinforce his personality, leading him in only one possible direction: success.
At the last level, to reach self-fulfilment, the employee will want to prosper personally, and for this, he must be an expert in what he does. He may need a demanding job or a less supervised environment to develop his creativity and handle problems his way. The company is aware that the employee can promote and create ideas to improve the business that will provide the right situation, releasing the worker’s potential.
Example of a Maslow pyramid in a company
For example, a person who begins a selection process to join a new job will consider their work needs and how motivational theories are applied in the company to continue or not go ahead in said process.
In the first place, he will be interested in knowing the salary, hours, flexibility and working conditions that allow him to carry out his tasks correctly and have his basic needs covered. Along the same lines, you will assess whether the company offers you the job security you need, from the point of view of hiring, risk prevention, compensation, medical insurance, as well as whether the company is profitable and recognized in the market, which provides a priori, more excellent stability.
The company’s work environment will be reported. For example, do you work as a team? Is there a feeling of belonging among the workers? You will look for references for the company, both internal and external. In addition to being interested in making moves and internal promotions or obtaining recognition that generates confidence and ensures that, once all the above needs are met, you have the possibility of having a career plan in the company and thus feel self-fulfilling.
Different profiles, different needs
Since its publication, Maslow’s theory has been very successful in multiple fields such as advertising or marketing, but it has also been criticized, nuanced, and completed.
According to different experts, Maslow did not consider some variables and evidence. In our study “Employer Branding. When perception can become a reality”, For example, she points out that gender, age and level of education are also determining factors that make the order of priority of needs vary :
- Women seek a better environment or more flexible organizations, while men need more training or economic stability.
- The university graduates consider it a priority to know the content and the specific functions of the position or the possibilities of conciliation. At the same time, the less educated do highly value job security or good training.
- Young people, the study points out, prefer good training and international career opportunities, while those over 45 value job security and economic stability more.
Establishing a needs system can help you organize yourself better and achieve goals more directly and satisfactorily.
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