Saturday, June 12

Hierarchy of Employee Needs

While discussing about Employee Empowerment in one of the corporate blogs(HCL) , I realized from the comments that empowerment at work comes out of mutual trust between employee and employer. And the empowerment happens only when each person, employee or the employer,takes up ownership of their respective tasks.

How does this ownership come? When does an individual employee take up the ownership of the tasks he is entrusted to? These questions reminded me of the Maslow's theory which I came across on the net.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs talk about the basic needs of a human being. According to him, the needs of a man starts at the bottom of the pyramid and as & when they get full-filled…he moves on to the upper levels of the pyramid. I tried to bring out a similar hierarchy of needs of an
employee. Employee's basic needs are mapped in this pyramid. The performance of the employee in an organization increases as his needs are fulfilled from the bottom of the pyramid.
Self Actualization:
Maslow describes "self-actualization" as the desire for self-fulfillment, namely the tendency for the individual to become actualized in what he is potentially

The same applies for an employee. Each employee desires to become more and more of what he wants to become. To be more precise the employee wants become technically equipped with more and more of information in the technology he works on. An employer providing this opportunity, of enhancing the employee's knowledge, helps the employee to move up in the

The opportunity can either be training or projects which can bring out the best of each employee.

An Employee needs financial security for his own personal and healthy well being. The employer who takes care of these basic needs of an employee, provides psychological support, which takes the mind off the security concerns of the employee.

Physiological Needs
Good healthy physical environments, better facilities provided by employer in the work place, make it the better place to work at. And this era also looks for an eco-friendly green environment.

Each human being deserves and demands self respect. The need for recognition, attention is one of the basic necessities of any human being. An employee with low self esteem is always prone to self doubts, leading to less ownership being taken.

Belonging and ownership
1. Now employee has the environment where he can equip himself with knowledge for better performance. With this acquired knowledge he can contribute for the employer's growth. This improves the trust of the employer in his employees.

2. Now employee's security concerns are met by employers by the means of better compensation and medical benefits

3. The physiological needs are met by providing better work friendly physical environment.

4. And the esteem of the employee is kept high by providing required and deserved recognition.

With all these in place, the employee feels at home at the workplace and would efficiently start taking ownership of the tasks he has taken up, as he feels more empowered.


  1. Apt observations here. The concept of job security as the binding agent these days, is not applicable anymore. There's nothing called job security and nothibng called employee loyality.

    I came acrosss one very interesting post in the Harvard Business Review Blog where the author discusses new ways of employee engagement. Read it up here:

    Great going! :)

  2. @Ashwin
    Thanks Ashwin!
    Job security comes out of the value we add to the employer.
    The financial security is provided by the employer .. in return..

  3. Buddy,I searched for this Maslow's Hierarchial theory diagram long back for some reason but didn't get it.

    Good post.
    After a looong time,busy ?


  4. Hey Kiran!!!
    This diagram is the adapted version of the theory.. The original one is in wikipedia.. check it out

    Whats news there?


    Just going through ET and found this article.
    "Staff first and Customers Second" is tough to believe and even more tougherr to put those words into action.

    If a Client is billed per day a double of what we are getting per month,then Employee's concerns are the last thing that a Company thinks about.And sometimes I feel,that is apt.Because at the end of the day it is all about Business and none is here for Charity.


  6. Very well written. Afaik, Most of the job transitions happen in the Indian IT industry happen only because of Financial Insecurity.

    Mr.X earning 3 L/Yr will not be given a hike. But Mr.Y replacing Mr.X will be given 5 L.

    And the vice-versa is very possible to happen !

    I would rather love to see X being retained with Y's pay!

  7. Good to see...u started liking HR concepts....:)