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Employee Needs In The Workplace

Updated on November 22, 2017

Basic Needs

Most of us understand that we have basic needs such as food, water, and shelter. Those same level of needs exist in the workplace as well. When you have an organization that sees very little turnover, most likely those needs are being filled. Of the 6-8 needs that do exist in the workplace, we should start or focus on 2 primary needs which are Contribution and Safety.

Our focus is to teach Team Leaders effective Coaching skills. When we understand what Coaching is and how to coach effectively, we see that both contribution and saftey needs are met.


Let's take a look at Contribution, and what this specific need looks like in the workplace. When we start a new job/position there is a high level of enthusiasm about the new role. We have very little expectations about contributing to the organization or team because we initially lack the knowledge levels to do so. As time goes on, usually 3-6 months depending on the position, you will start to see that high level of enthusiasm level off and even start to fall. This is the point where we start to see the need to fill the contribution need.

Filling The Contribution Need

So how do we fill this need of Contribution? The first and most important step is to identify that the need is there. When we are meeting on a regular basis with our team members, we will see a change in behavior, such as energy levels or even the topic or questions that the team member has. We may see the team member arriving late for work, or just demonstrate poor levels of support with customers. This is normal and easily corrected as long as we identify the issue early.

So how can we fill this need? Simple. Ask your team member how they see themselves contributing to the team and organization. This is the power of Coaching and meeting with our team members on a regular basis. We will immediately see the behavior change, and know how to discover the best approach to meet this need.

Usually this need can be met in very simple ways. Learn a new task, help one of the newer team members, or maybe conduct a team building activity during a team meeting. Asking the team member how they would like to contribute is always going to be the best approach, the Coaching Approach.

Safety Need

Safety is a basic need that most team leaders overlook. The need for safety is physical safety, but it is also job security. Feeling that you are secure in the position you hold. We will often assume the team member knows their job is secure, and never focus on filling this need.

What is the best way to fill the need for safety? In the same way we filled the need for Contribution, with Coaching. When we coach team members, meeting with them on a regular basis, they will receive regular feedback on how they are performing and areas they need to improve. Even if the team member is not performing well, they are receiving feedback that will allow them to make corrections in behavior or learn the needed skills to improve.


So we looked at just two of the needs we have in the workplace. Identifying these needs, and using our Coaching skills to fill these needs, will produce far less turnover and improve team and organizational performance.

We talk about using some very basic approaches in our monthly mentoring program. The very first month we learn how to provide feedback effectively. Even without understanding the process of Coaching, feedback alone will produce powerful results. We us a simple three step process to providing feedback. Tell them about the situation, describe specifically what you observed, and then share the impact of that behavior. This can be positive or negative behavior. If positive, we can simply provide this feedback around the others on the team. This will provide recognition (another human need) and it will demonstrate the behavior we would like others on the team to demonstrate.

If negative behavior, we would want to conduct a feedback conversation in private. After the three steps have been identified and agreed to, the Coaching begins.

Filling Human Needs In The Workplace


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