In the world of business, it is an endless project to enhance performance. Businesses are constantly researching new ways to peak their performance levels. Peaking performance can put some companies over the top and allow them to build a solid foundation for their company. Some companies have a solid foundation built up already. Those companies are trying to peak performance to rise above the competition and become a leader in their industry. Whatever the position a business is in, they are still searching for new ideas that will enhance the performance of their employees.
A common solution to this problem is motivation. Companies find that performance rises dramatically when they can find a way to make their employees want to do their job. When an employee is only there because they have to be and they do not like their job, they will just go through the motions and will not excel in their work. In John Maxwell’s book “The 360 Degree Leader”, he said, “Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.” An employee that loves their job, and is good at it, will rise above expectations. Motivated work can be the type of work that doubles the output from a company.
Knowing all of this, companies strive to motivate their workers. Jobs have been created to research ways to motivate employees to do their job with passion. Every person is different and receive enjoyment in a different way. These jobs can be very tricky because of how different everyone is. They have to come up with plans that will include as many people as possible and that can be extremely hard when no one has the same point of view.
After several years of businesses evolving over time their research has developed need-based theories of motivation. The need-based theories of motivation are ideologies about what people need to be at peak performance. These theories help employers motivate their employees. There are four theories and all of them have different ways of providing their information.
The first theory that I am going to talk about is the Maslow’s Hierarchy Theory. This theory was created by Abraham Maslow. The University of Minnesota said in their writing that, “Abraham Maslow is among the most prominent psychologists of the 20th century and the hierarchy of needs, accompanied by the pyramid representing how human needs are ranked, is an image familiar to most business students and managers.” In this photo it shows the levels of needs that humans need starting from the bottom. People need all of these things to become more motivated.
The first thing we need is physiological needs. Now what is that? They are our basic needs like air, shelter, food, water, clothing. Without one of those things, it’s almost impossible to live. Maslow stated that these needs are the most important because all of the other needs are put aside until we have these needs first. That is why these needs are at the base of the pyramid. It’s because without these, people can not focus on the needs higher up in the pyramid. They have to focus on the foundation first.
Next on the pyramid is safety needs. All animals, including humans, have a natural instinct that they need to feel safe. Therefore, it only makes sense that safety needs are next on the hierarchy of needs. Simply Psychology states that the safety needs include protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, freedom from fear. If I am going to be motivated to do my job with high quality I will need to be focused. People can not focus well when they are afraid of something. Employees must have a sense of safety while they work. Back in the industrial revolution, workers did not have that sense of safety. This led to many of the safety laws that we have today. With that sense of sense of security comes trust. Trust in a company can lead to motivation as well.
Love and belongingness needs are the next that humans need to optimize their work. This category of needs includes friendships, relationships, groups, giving appreciation, and feeling appreciated. People can form friendships within the company which can boost the morale dramatically within a company. It can also mold a big part of the company culture. Being part of a group gives people a great sense of belonging. People need to feel like they belong to something. I know this from a personal experience. After football was over during my senior year of high school, I felt this emptiness in my life because that was where I belonged. That’s where I really fit in. Once that was over, I was trying to find a new group where I could fit in with. In addition to being in a group, building friendships and relationships can boost motivation.
The last of the Deficiency Needs are the Esteem Needs. People need to develop a sense of respect for themselves and also need to be respected by others to become more motivated. Being respected by other people makes a difference on someone’s respect for themselves. If someone had to go to work every day and was not respected by the people there, why would they want to do good work? The only reason they would come to work without respect is to pay the bills and that is not a way to work with passion. Respect is key to a successful workplace.
The final need is Self-Actualization Needs. This is where people start to realize the potential they have in their work. People begin to work as hard as they can to reach their potential. After they meet this need and realize what they are capable of, their motivation goes through the roof. Production levels steadily increase. Once they reach self-actualization, they become unlimited in the things that they can achieve.
The ERG Theory, created by Clayton Alderfer, is closely related to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs but is structured differently. It is not a hierarchy of needs but is three different categories that are equally as important and do not need to be achieved in an orderly fashion. Clayton grouped human needs into three different categories; existence, relatedness, and growth. The existence category relates to Maslow’s physiological and safety needs. It encompasses all of our basic needs the feel stable as a human. The relatedness category includes to one’s social needs. Building friendships and relationships and being respected are big needs in this category. Without those things, people will start to dwell on the lack of their social status. The growth category includes Maslow’s esteem and self-actualization needs. Employees can grow by simply believing in themselves. When they believe in themselves and then reach that self-actualization stage, they tend to have an abundance of motivation.
In the ERG theory, the categories all coexist. People should not focus too much on one need or they may begin to lack in another area. Unlike Maslow’s theory, ERG does not rank their needs. Alderfer says that if people start to struggle on an area in the hierarchy, they can be prone to regress to the next level down because they are discouraged. In a system without a ranking system, people with still become frustrated but can use the other areas to help build the weak area back up.
The Two-Factor Theory has two categories. They point out the things that dissatisfied employees and satisfies employees. This can be very useful to a company because they can limit the dissatisfying factors and build on the satisfying factors. Employees like to work without limitations. Most people do not like being told what they can and can not do.
The dissatisfying factors include, company policy, supervision and relationships, working conditions, salary, and security. All of these things can demotivate people of their expectations are not met. These are not typically things that employees can control like the previous two theories. Company policy and supervision can limit the abilities of their employees and that is demotivating. These demotivating factors are in a group called “Hygiene Factors” . In the other group there are motivating factors called “Motivators”. They can help boost a company’s motivation and production. This group includes achievement, recognition, interesting work, increased responsibility, advancement, and growth. All of these factors can show respect and give a sense of gratitude. Many people need to feel wanted to motivate themselves. Companies that recognize their employees for their hard work motivate them and they will be more likely to repeat their hard work in the future. I can be demoralizing to work really hard on something that succeeds and then receive no recognition in return. This theory is not in the hands of the employees, but the company’s hands. It limits the control that the workers have for their own morales.
The Acquired Needs Theory, created by Douglas McClelland, is a set of three needs that everyone has but in different combinations. These three needs include the need for achievement, the need for affiliation, and the need for power. Some people hill have a high need in one are and lower in the other two or a medium need for two and low need for one and excetera. Every person is different and will have a different combination of the three.
People with the need for achievement need to be successful. The University of Minnesota described someone with a high need for achievement as “a worker who derives great satisfaction from meeting deadlines, coming up with brilliant ideas, and planning his or her next career move may be high in need for achievement”. These people strive for promotions and bonuses. Everything they do is based off of the rewards they will get out of their work. These people are often seen in higher up positions because of the promotions that they live for.
The need for affiliation is based on social status. These people need to be liked by their peers. They tend to develop relationships within their company. These relationships can help them work better and be able to collaborate easily. People with a high need for affiliation interact with employees outside of work and connect their social life with their work life.
People with the need for power like to have a sense of control. They want to be able to influence any situation. These people like to take over so they can lead in a certain direction that will be beneficial to them and their company. They strive for higher positions that make decisions on important debates.
All four of these theories talk about people and their behavior. Maslow’s Hierarchy and ERG’s Theory were very similar because ERG’s Theory was built off of Marlow’s Hierarchy. ERG’s Theory just fixed some of the flaws it saw in Marlow’s. The Two-Factor Theory took a little different approach by pointing out what the company was doing to motivate and demotivate people in their jobs. The Acquired Needs Theory is a set of three different needs that everyone has but at different levels of importance. These are not things that people can do to meet the needs but more so describing their personality.
It is important that companies put time into learning their employees needs. They need to effectively motivate their employees to receive the best results. Without this knowledge of their workers, they can not motivate them correctly and also boost the overall morale of their workforce. It is extremely important for a company to have motivated workers. It could be a game changer in the success of a company.