MEB Resources | News & Tips

Keeping Employees Happy

August 9th, 2017 · No Comments

Every employer wants to know the secret to keeping their employees happy.  And I’ll be blunt here, there isn’t an exact answer.  Happy employees equals higher retention rates, which equals less time in recruiting, hiring and training.  And as cliché as it sounds, time is money.  Instead of asking what is wrong with your employees, you should ask yourself what you’re doing to help them achieve what is needed to become the best employee they possibly can be.

Each and every employee has different wants, but according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a human has a basic set of needs that should be met.  This works as most pyramid structures do – it works from the foundation and builds up.


The first level, physiological, is the foundation of basic needs.  This mainly includes the environment employees work in and salary.  Imagine being in an overly heated office.  You’re sweating and it’s terribly uncomfortable.  At this environment, you won’t be in the most productive state of mind, causing unhappiness.  Salary is also a factor in productivity.  When you’re worried about meeting your basic needs like food and shelter, you won’t be as productive as you could be.  So as a company, you should think about what the working conditions are and if you’re paying at (or higher than) the basic needs pay rate.

After the need of physiological is met, the next tier is safety.  This can be both physically and mentally.  People want to work in a place where they feel safe from bullying and sexual harassment – with the peace of mind that the company is doing all they can to reduce workplace injuries.  This tier of the pyramid also includes job safety.  When the word “layoff” is mentioned, almost everyone worries about how they’re going to manage without the cash flow they have now.  Productivity, motivation, creativity, and overall company satisfaction is at a low.

Now “love/belonging” may sound too personal, but think of it as “social” instead.  If both the physiological and safety levels are met, employees want to have a social belonging.  When people feel like they are a part of a bigger picture, they are more likely to work harder for that cause.  This can be something as simple as a team/group project.  If the group works together in a harmonious fashion, they’ll most likely produce the best work at their highest potential.  The social tier can also be an employee day out.  Skip a day of work at the office and go on an all employee retreat.  This builds the team work ethic and gives your employees a sense of belonging to the company.

If the physiological, safety, and love/belonging tiers are met – you are most likely meeting the esteem tier. But there is always more you can do to achieve the esteem area.  For example, if you want your employees to take more initiative in projects, give them more responsibility (but delegate it).  You’ll find that more responsibility will lead to a sense of authority, which eventually leads to taking initiative.  Esteem can simply be a “good job” on a completed project.  Positive recognition and reinforcement can boost the esteem in employees tremendously.

Now the top tier is “self-actualization”, meaning one is realizing what their full potential is and fulfilling it.  This can eventually lead to the desire to grow.  If there are opportunities to move up in the company, employees who have the potential to grow will actually work harder and better to move forward with their personal goals.

If Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is followed, you should start to see a smaller number in voluntary turnover, overall happiness in employees and a higher satisfaction rate with your company.  Keeping your employees happy is investing in your most valuable assets.



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