From Motivation: It's Not All about Money
A Reading from pages 32-33
Using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in decoding the workplace is different from how one might think it would be used. From a workplace perspective, Maslow’s theory is not really about the individual. If you are second-guessing where someone is on Maslow’s hierarchy, you are missing the point. The workplace implication is that organizations should recognize that people have different needs and companies should provide a variety of programs that can benefit employees no matter where they are in Maslow's hierarchy.
Therefore, if I ran an organization, I might greet a meeting of new employees as follows:
“Welcome to Ballard Enterprises! We are so glad you have joined our team. Here at Ballard you’ll find we put you first; we understand you have a variety of needs, and we work hard to help you meet those needs. We have an excellent cafeteria with great selections every day. And you don’t have to walk a mile to find a clean, convenient restroom. At Ballard, our selection process does take several months, but now that you are hired -- and once you pass the six-month review -- we guarantee a job for as long as you want it. If that means offering to retrain you at some point, we’ll do it. We reimburse educational tuition at 100%. Our safety record is second to none. We have the lowest accident record in the state in our industry and great health benefits. And we have fun. Want to line dance? Want to bowl? Our co-ed softball team were the city championship last year. Want to be recognized for your achievements? We have fair and competitive opportunities for advancement and pay raises. We have programs for Employee of the Month, Employee of the Quarter, Employee of the Year, Five Year Employee Achievement and others. You are not a number. You are a person, a valued employee. You can be all that you can be at Ballard Enterprises.”
Is this approach practical? Perhaps for some organizations but probably not for most. But the perspective that employees may be motivated by different things is very important. Maslow saw the human potential in each of us. He often questioned his graduate students something to the effect, “What great book are you going to write? What great accomplishment are you going to achieve?”