How To Use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to Develop Employee Engagement Programs

Employee Engagement programs, unfortunately, are not effective when developed with a “one size fits all” mindset. Instead, employers need to create programs with diverse offerings that appeal to to all of their employees.

According to Abraham Maslow, our actions are motivated in order to achieve certain needs. Now think of those needs as the different levels of engagement throughout your organization. You must first meet the basic needs of your most disengaged employees, and move up from there.

Maslows Hierarchy

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Applied to Employee Engagement

Maslow’s Stage 1: Identify the problem. Your employees feel isolated, unhappy and disengaged. They don’t know how their work impacts the greater good of the company, and haven’t found many opportunities to connect with other team members.

Solution: Offer programs focused on team building. By organizing all-company lunches, department outings, or retreats, employees will get to know each other in a more casual environment and deepen the connections with their co-workers.

Maslow’s Stage 2: Tackle the not engaged. These are the people who do what is expected of them, but nothing more. These employees need more support and recognition from their peers, and managers. They want to know, and be told, that they are doing a good job.

Solution: With a strong sense of community in place, the the focus should be on fostering strong manageremployee relationships. Make sure managers set up weekly one-on-one’s and have at least biweekly team meetings. Managers account for 70% variance in employee engagement scores, so don’t overlook this influential relationship.

Maslow’s Stage 3: Engage the almost engaged. At this stage your employees want to know how the work they do directly impacts your organization.

Solution: Offer focus groups, and brainstorm sessions that allow employees to innovate, share ideas, and provide feedback on company-wide programs and initiatives. This is an empowering and effective way to give your employees a voice in matters beyond their day-to-day responsibilities.

Maslow’s Stage 4: Your employees are engaged, but that’s not enough. Your employees feel good about their community, your company and the work that they do. Now it’s time they feel good about themselves.

Solution: Provide your employees with health, wellness, and volunteering opportunities. These programs are a great way to help your employees find a greater sense of purpose at work and outside of work.

Employer Bonus: While your engagement scores rise, your company health care expenses will fall.

Maslow’s Stage 5: Strive for excellence. Everyone’s end goal is to have a team of highly engaged employees! These are the employees who are deeply rooted in your companies mission, inspire others, and foster a positive company culture, so use them as a resource and let them continue to build from here.

Solution: Empower them to share ideas, build new programs, run events, and further help you shape the workforce you’ve always wanted.

By using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for employee engagement, you’re able to create employee personas and develop engagement personas for every employee’s needs.

Do you have a team of highly engaged employees? Share your success stories in the comments!