What are the basic human motivations

1. Motivational Theory - An Introduction


Basic knowledge of the theory of motivation will help you to better understand motivational measures and to tailor them more effectively to the individual employee.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs model

Maslow's hierarchy of needs * is a common model for understanding human motivation. Although scientifically not entirely undisputed, its simplicity makes it well suited to get an idea of ​​human motivation.

Maslow believes that all people have a set of basic needs that they strive to meet. According to Maslow, there is a hierarchy among the various needs. Only when higher-ranking needs have been largely covered does one seek to satisfy the next more important one.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Maslow's hierarchy of needs ranks needs based on their urgency.



* Abraham H. Maslow. "Motivation and Personality", 1954

Satisfying needs explained using the example

After a long march, a hiker reaches the stage destination of his tour.

Step 1:The first thing to eat is the food brought in the backpack.
Level 2:Then he sets up the tent. To be on the safe side, he digs a trench around the tent.
Level 3:Then he picks up the cell phone and speaks to his wife on the phone.
Level 4:He tells her in detail about his daily performance.
Level 5:Before he goes to sleep, he plays a few more melodies on his harmonica.

Implementation in practice

You can derive a lot from Maslow's model for the management of your employees.

  • How can employees in the company meet their various needs?
  • What funding opportunities are there?
  • Where are the starting points for motivating employees?
Employee needsMeans of satisfaction
Physiological needs
Hunger, thirst, sleep
Sufficient pay, healthy workplace
Security needs
Security and protection
Secure job, pension, protection against dismissal
Social needs
Belonging, friendship
Teamwork, communication
Appreciation
Recognition and status
Status symbols, payment, praise
Self-actualization
Development of the personality
Co-determination, influence, free time

Tip " Bear in mind that demands on physiological and security needs in the company have declined due to state security (unemployment and social assistance).

All the more, in today's working world, social needs, appreciation and self-realization come to the fore. Important factors are personal responsibility, praise and recognition.


Next module »2. Basics of employee motivation