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Maslows Hierarchy

Maslows hierarchy is a triangle of needs in order of precedence with the bottom of the triangle representing basic needs working up to higher needs. If a firm were to provide the needs of its workers then motivation of employees is likely to be higher and this can lead to higher productivity and thus output for the firm, the quality may also be better. Motivated employees are also likely to stay at a firm for a long time and this may therefore reduce a firms' staff turnover meaning it doesn't have to spend as much money on recruiting and training new staff members. 
Maslow was an American researcher and in the 1950s suggested that people have a number of different needs summarised in the triangle below.

Physiological needs - This is the most basic need and that is to eat, have shelter and be healthy, to satisfy these needs workers need money, therefore wages act as a motivator as it allows people to fulfill this need. The more pay someone receives the more motivated they are. However they may also need for stimulants to ensure they are motivated, money may not be enough if they don't have other needs above this block.

Safety needs - This can include job security as well as the obvious health and safety precautions. Employees don't want to risk falling ill or hurting themselves at work and therefore a safe and secure environment needs to be provided by employees. Workers may also become demotivated if they believe they are going to loose their job in the near future and hence not work as hard, to overcome this they need to believe that they have job security and won't loose their job.

Love and Belonging - People like to feel accepted in a group and this can include at the workplace with other colleagues. Ways in which employers can encourage this is through team-building exercises and encouraging workers to fraternise outside of work.

Self-Esteem - Employees want their work to be admired and respected and they want to feel good about what they are doing, if they believe that their work is of poor quality or don't feel that they are respected by their superiors or even their colleagues then they may become demotivated.

Self-Actualisation - According to Maslow this is the highest order need and it is the ability to realise your full potential. This can be achieved by ensuring that good workers are promoted and have regular sessions with their bosses to ensure that the potential is being achieved.

Maslow believed that once one need was fulfilled it no longer acted as a motivator, implying that if workers have satisfied a specific need then offering more of that need wont always act as a sufficient motivator.

Page last updated on 20/10/13