Thursday, February 13, 2014

Maslow's Hierachy of Business Needs

Maslow's hierarchy of needs has always stuck with me since I learned about it in grade school.  Despite its shortcomings, I've always thought it was an excellent way to think about think about human motivation and development.  Maslow created the model as a way to think about a person's needs and development.

For those of you who haven't heard of it before, the basic idea is that for a human to reach her full potential, she must first meet certain needs. Briefly described below.

Physiological -  food, water, shelter.  The basic stuff you need to survive.

Safety - Security in life, a job, health, resources to survive.  The stuff you need to feel comfortable and secure.

Love / Belonging - Friendship, family, community, intimacy.  Having the outside world accept you.

Esteem - Self esteem, others that believe in you, doing something that let's you feel needed.  You accepting yourself.

Self Actualization - Self defined morals, creativity, acceptance of life.  You're the best of the best, you know yourself, the world, and you accept and embrace it!

Or if you prefer a visual representation....

Visual description of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Recently I realized that Maslow's Hierarchy need not only be applied to one person.  If you have a group of people who are in a significantly similar situation it can also be applied.  A perfect example for this would be a business.

Most employers want their employees performing at their best, and to improve over time, taking leadership roles inside the company.  Maslow's Hierarchy is perfect for modeling this.

Physiological - To meet this level pay your employees a wage they can survive on.

Safety - Provide insurance and assistance in times of need and have them work hours that allow them to go home and rest.

Love / Belonging - Promote a culture of caring and helpfulness.

Esteem -Allow the employee to self direct her activities, provide feedback that let's the employee take pride in her work.

Self Actualization - Provide chances for the employee to challenge herself and improve.  Provide feedback that allows the employee to better herself.

Devil's Advocate.

This is a basic overview of what I was thinking, of course this model isn't viable for every company.  There are some companies that have business models and value creation processes need employees to stay at their current level of development.