Basics to Motivating People

Humans need to be recognized. According to Abraham Maslow, a famous psychologist, in his paper, The Theory of Motivation, "humans need to be recognized for work well done, opportunities for accomplishment, achievement, and independence.

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, human beings have five different types of needs:

  • Biological and Physiological Needs such as water and food
  • Safety Needs like shelter
  • Love Needs such as belonging and acceptance
  • Esteem Needs which include respect, rewards, and recognition
  • Self-Actualization Needs which include personal challenge and advancement

Each need must be met fully before the next need can be attained. For example, all Biological and Physiological Needs – food and water – must be met before an individual will seek out shelter. All Safety Needs like shelter must be met before an individual will seek out love from another person and so on.

The basic human needs exist at work. The Organizational Pyramid, pictured below, illustrates how basic human needs are expressed at work.

The five different types of Organizational Needs include:

  • Compensation and Benefits includes fair pay, health insurance, and retirement
  • Location and Working Conditions includes the commute, available resources, and working environment
  • Acceptance and Involvement includes a feeling of belonging
  • Recognition includes being acknowledged for a job well done
  • Advancement and Growth includes the opportunity to grow and be challenged

Below is a picture of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the Organizational Pyramid.

Rewarding employees for their contributions and achievements directly meets their needs for esteem, self-respect, and respect for others.