Employee Actualization - A Necessary Component of the Workplace?
As a business owner or manager is it is important to make sure you’re meeting the needs of your employers. Now, you may be thinking well I pay them, isn’t that enough? Well, maybe for some employees it is, but likely not. Being a good manager means helping employees achieve actualization.
Employees Have Needs Too
So, what is actualization? “Actualization” is a psychological term, referring back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – the premise of which is that human beings will only reach their full potential as long as their basic physiological, safety, belonging and esteem needs are being met.
The latest World Happiness Report indicates that Employee Needs about half of the world’s working population is satisfied and happy in the workplace. However, this also means that half of the working population is unsatisfied and unhappy with the workplace. And it stands to reason that this relatively dismal percentage in workplace satisfaction is due to the unfulfillment of those employees’ basic needs, at least in any sort of tangible, sufficient fashion. As a manager, connecting with your employees means understanding your employee’s motivation.
Now, what makes this subject even more complicated is that various employees undoubtedly have different needs, or at least different expressions of the same basic needs – no two people are the same and neither are their innate desires or motivations. While one employee may have a need to feel that they are playing an important role in the company, another may simply be at the level of needing fair and adequate compensation for services rendered. If the person in the latter example feels that they are not able to meet their basic physiological needs based upon their income (i.e. – if they cannot pay for food, shelter, etc.), then the workplace will not have helped their actualization process, but rather hindered it. And in the end, this will likely result in a diminished work output, whether due to that person having to take and focus on a second job or maybe even because of a deep-seated resentment for the employer.
Sadly, I’ve had personal experience with this type of situation in previous jobs and can attest to the difficulty of finding satisfaction in a company that does little to nothing to meet the employees’ needs but only seeks to maximize shareholder return.
Let’s assume that you recognize the benefit of helping to meet your employees’ needs and want to do something about it, but don’t know where to start. What do you do? Well, depending upon the size of your organization, corporation or otherwise, you might find that this process looks different. Of course, a small startup can do more to be personal with each and every employee than can a large, hundreds-of-thousands-of-workers corporation. But, a large, successful enterprise might also have the ability to better compensate its workers or stress why vacation is important than a small startup does. Regardless, both retain a means and an obligation to help its employees feel a sense of achievement, of importance, of safety, and of actualization.
Perhaps the best place to start is by recognizing what various needs your employees have, and maybe even attempting to understand why they have those specific needs. A simple Needs Survey or even a Personality Test (my favorite is Myers-Briggs) can help employers or direct managers better understand the motivation of the employees they supervisor and meet the needs of individual employees in a way that helps improve workplace performance.
Employee needs should never be overlooked. Therefore, this should be an important factor for an organization's management to consider. If you find this subject interesting or recognize that your company might have a need to better understand its employees’ needs, I suggest reading our blog on autonomy at work.
About the Author: Braden Norwood
Braden is a proud husband and a father to a very rambunctious little boy. A few of his many interests include storytelling, writing music, and playing games. He is the Product Quality Manager for VTR and has been with the company since early 2017. In conjunction with his love for storytelling, he has a passion for story-based learning, believing that narrative is one of the most elementary ways humans can learn. A true nerd at heart, when not working on his premier novel, he can usually be found playing an RPG, reading comics, or watching Star Wars.