How organisations use psychology to encourage employee engagement

Posted by Design & Construct on 17-Aug-2016 18:42:18

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Psychologist Abraham Maslow stated that human motivation is based on people seeking fulfilment and change through personal growth. When one need is fulfilled a person seeks to fulfil the next one, and so on. For example, once the needs for food, shelter, love and self-esteem are satisfied, he believed that creativity and self-actualisation can rise to the surface and maximum psychological health can be achieved.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Maslow essentially made self-fulfilment and happiness a central part of his life's work. He was interested in what humans are capable of as their healthiest or most positive self. Through his research and case studies, he identified a hierarchical list of basic and psychological needs to increase life satisfaction. Today, organisations continue to fully embrace this concept by nurturing workforce relationships and by helping employees feel socially integrated.

Giant technology companies including Facebook and Google ensure their canteens are filled with hot meals, desserts and drinks at no cost to staff, which is proven to boost morale and wellbeing. At Google, they also endorse longer waiting times, for example, they encourage staff to mingle while waiting in line for meals, which creates opportunities for creative discussion. It is a great concept in that the company is appreciating their staff everyday by being generous providers, and it fosters a positive culture where employees reciprocate and try that bit harder to give back to their generous hosts.

Three meals a day, unlimited snacks, access to fun high tech gadgets, sport and health equipment on site, what else do you need? Also realising that work tasks take their toll, they encourage employees to take a break in futuristic sleeping pods, designed to allow for a creative cat nap and keep energy levels at maximum. Could you live at work, if all your basic and psychological needs are being met? Google, believes this to be true and actively encourages employees to spend more time in the office, ensuring they retain the best personnel who are not only productive but equally creative.

Companies such as Google support an employee's need to feel respected and appreciated, which in turn has boosts self-esteem and unlocks their full potential. So how can you boost morale and help your employees achieve maximum psychological health?

Start small and go with a smile, not many bosses do it and it goes a long way in building working relationships, and is proven to boost productivity. Introduce an incentive when it is needed the most, perhaps combat Monday morning blues or even Wednesday's mid-week panic, when sales are not on the board. Alternatively, make Friday afternoon's even more popular than usual by doing something different each week. Doesn't have to break the bank, free coffee and muffins or office picnic outside if it's a nice day. A little professional TLC can go a long way!

Aim to be number one

According to Forbes in 2016, Google has once again taken the number one spot of the best company in the world to work for. It is not hard to see why. Last year it enhanced health care coverage by offering virtual doctor visits, second-opinion services and breast-cancer screenings at headquarters. One Googler explained, “The company culture truly makes workers feel they're valued and respected as a human being, not as a cog in a machine.” The perks are phenomenal and the list goes on and on.

Every business should understand the importance of employee engagement, bestow rewards based on behaviour and not only results, whilst implementing a system that recognises individual and team achievements. As managers, make employees feel valued whenever you can, be it a free cup of coffee, a smile, futuristic sleeping pods or even a mid-afternoon motivational sing along. Set the bar high, aim for the number one spot every time and remember you make the difference.

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