By: Laurel Farrer
Even if you’ve never studied psychology or had an appointment with a therapist, chances are good you’ve still heard of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s been a popular framework for sociological research, management trainings, and educational modalities since 1954.
As a refresher, the theory claims that self-actualization, or complete satisfaction, cannot be achieved without first fulfilling a series of human needs:
Physiological - Physical requirements for human survival (air, water, food)
Safety - Physical and emotional safety of the personal (protection from violence, natural disaster)
Love - A sense of belonging (friendships, family, and intimacy)
Esteem - Feeling respected and appreciated (evidence of recognition, strength, independence)
After these four levels are consecutively satisfied, then the person can achieve the fifth level of self-actualization, which is fulfilling a person’s full potential.
So why are we talking about this pyramid on a blog for distributed companies? Because you hire people that can provide creativity, problem-solving, and efficiency to help your company succeed: the self-actualization of your business and your workers.
In order to reach that level, the first four levels of needs must be addressed in a professional capacity:
Physiological - Does the salary of the employee provide for their basic standards of living?
Safety - Does the employee feel needed and secure in their role?
Love - Does the employee feel integrated into a culture, team, and company?
Esteem - Does the employee feel appreciated, progressive, and fulfilled in their work?
Our employees can only reach their peak output of creativity and problem-solving if we are helping support their first four levels of needs. What can remote managers do to achieve self-actualization with their free-range staff? Here are some ideas.
Confirm the salaries of your team match or exceed national averages.
Provide a generous health insurance plan that employees do not hesitate to utilize.
Encourage work-life balance with flexible work schedules and creative incentives.
Create an environment that promotes open, transparent communication (including acceptance of mistakes and questions.)
Articulate the importance of each employee’s contributions to the company’s mission and processes.
Invest in web security tools and software to protect employee and company information.
Host company and department retreats at least once per year to strengthen unity.
Incorporate culture-building topics into daily communication.
Celebrate individual and collective achievements as a team.
Give specific praise and constructive feedback to each employee privately.
Collaborate with team members to write their job descriptions and goals.
Is it time for a one-on-one meeting with your remote team members? How are you going to use that opportunity to help your employees reach self-actualization? Tweet us @yonder_io to share your virtual management tips!