Employee Recognition Is A Fundamental Need
According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, social recognition is one of the five fundamental human needs. Not a want, but a need – coming just after food, safety, and belonging in importance.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was first introduced almost seventy years ago in his paper, A Theory of Human Motivation. He concluded that individuals are primarily motivated by needs in an ascending scale, illustrated by his iconic pyramid showing their ranked order.
His theory had critics and supporters, however it was recently found to be on-target regarding the importance of social recognition as a motivator. In 2010 a team of psychologists revised Maslow’s work to incorporate the last fifty years of study in evolutionary biology, anthropology, and psychology. Some changes were made in his ranking of motivational factors, yet ‘esteem needs’ – which includes social recognition – remained as listed.
What does this mean for the enterprise? Social recognition is not just nice-to-have. It’s mission critical. In essence, Maslow’s theory is that esteem/appreciation/praise/respect is one of the fundamental motivational factors in striving for growth.
When our work is recognized, greater effort is given. If esteem needs are not met then growth stagnates. Ensuring that social recognition is part of the day-to-day in your organization is therefore not a soft approach to management; it is the smart approach.