Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement: How to build commitment

Thought Leadership

We all know that engaged employees are more productive and committed... So why do so many organisations get it wrong?

Far too many organisations waste time and money trying to figure out how to squeeze the life out of their employees. This might explain why so many organisations have low productivity, low morale and turnover in excess of 15% per annum.

Why are Google, Boston Consulting Group, NetApp and Goldman Sachs rated as being some of the best places to work? Because they understand that a happy employee is a profitable employee, and focus on addressing the needs of employees; not how to squeeze them.

What are those needs I hear you ask? Well, they were first featured by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper titled 'A Theory Of Human Motivation', and stand as true today as they did then.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs states that are all motivated by 5 levels of needs at some stage in our lives. Our most basic needs are inborn and evolve as we grow. In order to move up the hierarchy we must first satisfy our lower needs.


These are the most basic of needs, and the most obvious, as they are vital for survival. Employees need an adequate amount of money to ensure these needs are met.

Security Needs

Once physiological needs are met, safety needs take precedence and dominate behavior. Employees need an adequate amount of job security to ensure these needs are met.


Less basic than physiological and security needs is the need for belonging and acceptance. Employees need to feel that they are a meaningful part of an organisation to ensure these needs are met.


Becomes increasingly important as needs are fulfilled, and revolves around the need to be recognised and respected. Employees need to feel that their contributions to the organisation are recognised and rewarded to ensure these needs are met.


Upon fulfilling and mastering the other needs comes the need to become everything one is capable of becoming. Employees need to feel that they are growing within the organisation and fulfilling their full potential.

There are just a few examples of how Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs are used for employee engagement. Whichever route an organisation decides to take, the key is to shift the focus from trying to get more out of employees to addressing the needs of employees.