Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for Employee Motivation and Engagement

Concept May 19 2023

Researchers have created a wide range of ideas to explain human motivation. The "Maslow's hierarchy of needs" hypothesis is well known to us all. According to this theory, while everyone aspires to realize their full potential and achieve self-actualization, there are some other essential human wants that must first be met.  You can assess if your requirements are being satisfied at work and how you may better serve the needs of your team by comprehending this psychological idea.

Today's employers require a fresh approach how to maintain employees' safety, connection, and engagement. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is used in the workplace to assess employee behavior in a number of areas, including motivation and workplace engagement. Maslow's hierarchy of needs may be applied to employee engagement, with highly motivated, high-performing team members at the top of the pyramid. Make sure you're providing employees with everything they need to achieve their goals by using the Employee Engagement Hierarchy of Needs.

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Key Takeaways from Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Five levels of human needs are covered by this hierarchy, which is also known as Maslow's theory of motivation: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. These can be portrayed as a pyramid, with the most fundamental requirements at the base and self-actualization as the topmost objective. Basic needs are often defined as physiological and safety needs, whereas psychological needs are defined as social and esteem needs. Self-fulfilment demands are a distinct category in self-actualization.

  • Physiological - Biological needs that are essential for survival e.g. food, air, water, shelter, etc.

  • Safety - People look for safety and security to protect themselves

  • Belonging - People long for deeper human connection and love from the surroundings

  • Esteem – People look for recognition and dignity in their life 

  • Self-Actualization – The feeling of doing their best and reaching the full potential

The fundamental tenet is that people are driven to meet their most basic wants before they are motivated to work toward goals that are more sophisticated. And once these needs are satisfied, people naturally start looking for love and belonging, among other things. Humans look for greater aims and ambitions in order to have healthy and fulfilling lives.

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Implementing Maslow's Theory at the Workplace

In the workplace, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is used to assess employee behavior in a number of areas, including motivation and engagement. Maslow's hierarchy of wants must be revised in light of the pre and post-Covid eras. Using this psychoanalytic observation to discuss employee engagement is important. According to employees, an employer that understands their demands has a higher chance of keeping them on board. You acquire their allegiance as they move through each step of the pyramid, boost their independence, confidence, and autonomy along the way, and increase employee happiness and retention. Employers will be better equipped to recruit and retain talent and make sure their staff remains engaged, connected, and pleased if they explore our new normal and how employee expectations have evolved.

Let's talk about how to use Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in the workplace to motivate workers more effectively.

Physiological and safety

Today, effective communication is the first step in meeting the physiological and safety demands of employees. It begins by providing a welcoming and pleasant work environment with access to clean drinking water, clean air, a reasonable temperature in the room, a place for meals and snacks, and a clean and hygienic workplace. For the employee, "safety" encompasses not just job security but also a safe working environment and an employer who supports work-life balance. Their health and wellness are likewise driven by these requirements. To advance to the next level, employees must first satisfy these requirements.

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True "belonging" is giving your staff the freedom to value their individuality and feel at ease being themselves at work. This requirement could be met by establishing a welcoming atmosphere and an office that encourages teamwork and communication. These demands are met by helpful managers, cooperative co-workers, and a positive work environment. Employers are responsible for making sure that these kinds of activities continue, even in a virtual environment. Employees are more likely to work hard and produce results when they feel like they are a member of the team and can see that they fit the position well.


The recognition of their efforts is something that employees seek from their employers. Employee engagement and esteem requirements must be met for workers to experience a sense of success and acknowledgment from their co-workers. Employees that are engaged in their work put out more effort and are less likely to leave.  When given the chance for ongoing learning and personal growth, employees experience a feeling of accomplishment, which in turn motivates them to push themselves further in their job.


Self-actualization needs can be challenging to categorize and much more challenging to assess. The goal of this level is to reach the pinnacle of one's potential, development, and experiences. This level increases their capacity, enabling them to inspire and lead others. By offering growth possibilities that can be specifically tailored to these employees' demands, self-actualization needs can be met. Employees that are self-actualized are industrious, inquisitive, and creative, and they are more likely to think beyond the box.

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The Takeaway

Employees that are highly engaged and driven often inspire positivism in their co-workers. A company can boost satisfaction while raising engagement and motivation, which in turn influences productivity, by investing in the general well-being of its workers. Companies will find it simpler to hire and will better retain their employees if they keep in touch with them and show that they are committed to creating a positive work environment.

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