77C5B7F9-38A0-4E11-AC5A-F8F07EA588E4Created with sketchtool. 17BC922E-A277-4A6A-AA76-B2A7D6098ACCCreated with sketchtool. D5445BF2-384C-42FD-A0D7-E711622BFEA7Created with sketchtool. 60DB23C6-0A0E-416C-B8D7-E79812A5CFE1Created with sketchtool. Stroke 40Created with Sketch. 8DB95E45-CF3A-4648-8C6C-4625DACDBD41Created with sketchtool. 9C53C15A-EAD0-4B24-A7EE-6911E2A88728Created with sketchtool. 957E397E-71F7-4C25-9EE2-EBAECCEE95F0Created with sketchtool. 0BEB1C53-E60D-4035-A803-CD7BA8406370Created with sketchtool. 9E686F2E-AFF4-4CE2-9279-1B89F1DAB51ACreated with sketchtool. bullet/purpleCreated with Sketch. 3E27AD83-8FB3-446D-BE67-0CFB5026D62ACreated with sketchtool. A34E87DF-769C-4EB4-8F1D-BFD735A04A9CCreated with sketchtool. DF8B0DB2-6EC8-4C72-97DC-8ACA7E23C9CBCreated with sketchtool. 8A668BDD-39B7-4921-8B21-4CCFCA93F649Created with sketchtool. 8335254A-2A25-4F34-989D-486F9628BA04Created with sketchtool. 18A57D06-6606-4CE2-BC31-5C8B5788FF25Created with sketchtool. F000F9E4-E2A4-454D-81CE-F7BD4F4F6B33Created with sketchtool. 2215F297-B843-4486-B3E4-616CF9D6BCEECreated with sketchtool. 2235CA9E-FE06-42DF-912E-D5D96788F764Created with sketchtool. 2FD05F24-1B9B-45AC-9B7A-598A9B5F40CCCreated with sketchtool. BA8A0FC5-1F29-4D3E-AC99-5FCB660A57C5Created with sketchtool. crossCreated with Sketch. D7CC1683-7A2E-4C26-BBEE-4EC9EF0A7D04Created with sketchtool. C9758992-E447-4487-89E0-77D464BE9CB7Created with sketchtool. 0DAC0DDF-A761-4B36-A1E3-B9908EB37B71Created with sketchtool. 9113F7AD-D502-42ED-AAF9-61F4F9D6FB28Created with sketchtool. E24E938B-CE7D-498E-9E93-58F41F9F03F7Created with sketchtool. 74A8A7AD-4574-491C-BEC5-7BCC7358BA30Created with sketchtool. D8AB9BFE-36DF-44A3-9F3D-B81FEF0AC568Created with sketchtool. 5AD74AD9-6660-4A5B-9621-06A05E34F5C3Created with sketchtool. 6012AB6E-07E2-4A06-A3BA-1217CA7ABB15Created with sketchtool. 4CC35754-290A-483A-9BF3-FCEFF49B574CCreated with sketchtool. CC6E353A-7BB0-4178-ADE5-34BC27526C09Created with sketchtool. B5670A14-7A5A-44A5-AC43-452E8C7D3A89Created with sketchtool. 77922C3C-317C-43A0-B4D4-28593FDC135ECreated with sketchtool. 77922C3C-317C-43A0-B4D4-28593FDC135ECreated with sketchtool. 3EF017C1-1C66-478C-ADE0-246F207E4F63Created with sketchtool. 58F4DB82-8906-43CD-B585-43896A2DC6A8Created with sketchtool. 0FBABABC-A68F-4798-BEAE-8198899243AECreated with sketchtool. 48492AC4-A2D8-4CF8-A14E-A6CA62317D00Created with sketchtool. 5C9682FB-CDF0-41D7-8ABD-F38A0A3594E1Created with sketchtool. 0FC24ED3-7631-48ED-A4BF-40A478DB72FDCreated with sketchtool. 7944064D-2772-4392-A51D-A02849A32DB8Created with sketchtool. 79B74B7C-17D3-4467-BAE8-9BDE3E5198BACreated with sketchtool. 51D0D7F1-3D2D-4E47-859C-B4479AC0F578Created with sketchtool. 78CE4218-ADE6-4654-ACAD-E7CD05EBC273Created with sketchtool. 4EF0E792-D12B-433B-B6FD-D31326B7D643Created with sketchtool. WE’RE HIRING!
Product Pricing Customers Blog


Management Guides Help Centre
Login Start free trial

Helping Employees Reach Self-Actualisation

Helping Employees Reach Self-Actualisation

Self-actualisation – the tip at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – might be easily recognisable to anyone who remembers their first class of business studies, but helping employees reach the pinnacle of this well-known pyramid is a trickier task.

Here we’ll explore the practical steps organisations should consider to promote self-actualisation.

First a quick refresher on Maslow’s description of self-actualisation: "What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization … It refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.”

The regular condensed translation in the business world, usually reads along the lines of ‘provide employees with a challenge and the opportunity to reach their career potential’. But, of course, that’s easier said than done, because it’s not just any challenge or any opportunity that will help individuals to self-actualise.

To guide us in our understanding, we can rely on self-determination theory and its explanation of intrinsic motivation. This is an important link, as we consistently see in Peakon data, that intrinsic factors have the strongest correlation to high employee engagement and satisfaction. These include: accomplishment, meaningful work, recognition, growth, and autonomy.

An environment that concentrates to a greater extent on extrinsic motivators, is thus, less likely to lead to self-actualisation. For example, competition between team members for bonuses or promotions, leads individuals to work not from a standpoint of achieving what they care for, but instead feeling achievement only to a relative degree – in comparison to others.

Such an environment can also prohibite another essential condition for self-actualisation – the ability to accept oneself for one's strengths and weaknesses. Managers winning the trust of employees, enabling them to freely communicate insecurities, without a fear of negative consequences, is key.

Enabling employees to shape their individuals goals and career development is the logical next step. Being in control of one’s destiny is perhaps the most obvious route to self-actualisation, yet often organisational hierarchies cause employees to deviate from the path their intrinsic motivations would take them on.

Take the example of a designer – whose intrinsic love of creating and shaping new things has lead her to a level of excellence. In reward, the she's given a promotion to the role of design manager as a recognition for her talents. Such a role change could greatly diminish the intrinsic motivation that enabled her great work – she's unlikely to be intrinsically motivated by what's required to be a good manager, as this is vastly different to what drives a good designer. In fact, last year Gallup reported this phenomenon as the leading cause of poor management in the US.

Fully involving the employee in the shaping her career, may instead have lead the employee to suggesting a different route that met her desires, while avoiding stagnation.

This leads us to our final condition for self-actualisation, a consistent feeling of progress that enables employees to have frequent “peak experiences”. That same excellent designer may – instead of going down a management route – have wished for more autonomy to develop radical new ideas on her own initiative. Similarly an outstanding customer service worker could find his love for delivering a great experience is nurtured by being involved in product management work.

Flexibility in career paths, combined with honest, open, and ongoing, conversations between managers and employees, are then, the greatest tools we have to help employees reach the zenith of Maslow’s pyramid.

30 day free trial

Peakon is free to try for 30 days. No credit card required.

Almost there,
check your inbox

We've sent you an email to verify your account.

What’s included in the free trial? ⚡️

  • 30 day free trial
  • Mobile survey app
  • Branding
  • 24/7 access to online support portal

Powering the world’s best workplaces 💪