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Fulfilling Employee Needs: The Psychological Approach

People need to feel wanted and appreciated. It’s only human nature. 

Fact – without marketing you would not have prospects or leads to follow up with, but yet without a good sales technique and strategy your closing rate would be substantially lower (and quite depressing). Marketing and sales departments have very different responsibilities on a day-to-day basis but both of these departments have very similar employee needs.

Technology advancements are changing the way we do marketing and so a new era of modern marketing is here. In response to this, the sales and marketing functions are required to adapt their daily work activities to match the requirements of the modern marketing world. With this change brings a shift in employee needs – needs which arguably not all organisations are recognising.

Delving a little deeper.. Maslow wanted to understand what motivates people. He believed that people possess a set of motivation systems unrelated to rewards or unconscious desires. In 1943, Maslow stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs; when one need is fulfilled a person seeks to fulfil the next one and so on.

The most widespread version of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs included five motivational needs, depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs could be suggested as being a little too basic in terms of dealing with the needs of the modern day sales and marketing team. In fact Maslow’s hierarchy of needs requires an update to match the modern day worlds of sales and marketing, wouldn’t you agree?

We propose the following update to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

Self Actualisation

Provide opportunities for personal growth as well as departmental growth for example through training workshops to enhance skill sets; this will help employees to realise their true potential and encourage them to seek self-fulfilment through the work projects provided. A self-fulfilled employee contributes towards a self-fulfilled cooperation.

Mastery

A contribution to self-esteem, self-confidence and to prestige-generating skills. A motive to solve complex problems is likely to facilitate the attainment of status and others’ esteem, with consequent implications for reproductive fitness. The sales and marketing team should demonstrate a sense of ‘healthy’ competition towards one another through their work.

Esteem

Praise achievements; if an employee has performed well reward them! This will encourage the individual to continue striving towards success; they will have gained respect from others as well as status merit among the functional departments, ultimately sky-rocketing their own self esteem levels!

Social

These needs differ from physiological and safety need in that they are not absolutely necessary for personal survival. However, human beings are exquisitely sensitive to cues of social rejection. Thus encouraging regular team building events to build rapport between departments will improve social motivations. This will enable a mutual understanding of one another’s responsibilities in the workplace (it may even result in friendships in the workplace developing!). Consequently communication between the functional departments will become more efficient and effective in nature.

Safety

By introducing/updating current SLA’s the responsibilities of the sales and marketing teams will be clarified. Thus creating order and stability; both teams will be protected if one of the two department fails in meeting its objectives. There will be a freedom from fear.

Physiological 

Provide a working environment that meets the physiological needs of employees. If employees are content within their working environment, work output will be far more efficient because their most basic set of needs will have been met.

Modern day businesses need to actively listen to their employees; the needs of employees must be met. After all if the needs of employees are overlooked, work output will ultimately suffer.

In general terms all employees require the following for their basic needs to be met:

1. Purpose – providing an accurate job description clarifies the employee’s role, the company’s expectations and the requisite skills and qualifications the employee needs to be successful in the role.

2. Feedback – employee-supervision is an effective means to providing feedback; employees need to know that they are performing their job duties according to the employer’s expectation.

3. Equality – employers need to demonstrate alignment with fair employment laws to assure workers that they are entitled to fair treatment in the workplace; this can help improve employees ‘faith’ in the company.

Following on from the topic under discussion in Klaxon’s previous blog post ‘Ending the Feud Between Marketing and Sales Departments’, it is paramount that the needs of the marketing and sales departments are fully understood prior to the implementation of changes to help align the two departments.

How do you achieve this? 

1. Provide regular training workshops to ensure employees are up-to-date and have a clear understanding of new ventures; for example advancements in technology that will affect the work they complete on a daily basis. Cooperations should encourage career development and progression.

2. Organise quarterly team-building events to encourage the different departments to openly communicate with one another. Encouraging the development of a positive rapport between departments will support efficient work performance in the workplace.

3. Reinforce the importance of annual appraisal schemes; departmental and individual employee reviews are beneficial in realigning the focus and targets in place for the next quarter. Issues will be highlighted during the review sessions which may not have been previously obvious to management. Measures can then be put in place to deal with the issues.

4. Provide incentives for all employees, regardless of the department they work within; hard work and successful work performance should be rewarded. Through acknowledging hard work, employees will be more likely to actively engage in further activity which will benefit the organisation as a whole in the future.

The people need to be a part of the equation. It is not a trivial task.

If you have any questions, you can contact me here, on twitter @lauren_klaxon. Check out the Klaxon page for the original post and other related blog posts.