In 1943, Abraham Maslow developed what was known as the theory of human motivation. 1 His theory was developed in an attempt to explain human motivation. According to Maslow, there is a hierarchy of five needs, and as one level of need is satisfied, it will no longer be a motivator. In other words, people start at the bottom of the hierarchy and work their way up. Maslow’s hierarchy consists of the following:
- Self-actualization needs
- Esteem needs
- Social needs
- Safety needs
- Physiological needs
Physiological needs are our most basic needs, including food, water, and shelter. Safety needs at work might include feeling safe in the actual physical environment, or job security. As humans, we have the basic need to spend time with others. Esteem needs refer to the need we have to feel good about ourselves. Finally, self-actualization needs are the needs we have to better ourselves.
The implications of his research tell us, for example, that as long as an employee’s physiological needs are met, increased pay may not be a motivator. Likewise, employees should be motivated at work by having all needs met. Needs might include, for example, fair pay, safety standards at work, opportunities to socialize, compliments to help raise our esteem, and training opportunities to further develop ourselves.