In Thought Leadership

How well are organisations meeting the employees emotional needs?

In many organisations people are not flourishing; employees are disengaged which often leads to high staff turnover. The basic physical needs of employees seem generally well met and staff are financially rewarded. So, if the basic’s are in place, why are organisations still faced with high levels of staff turnover and disengaged workers? My hypothesis is that organisations are not paying enough attention to people’s emotional needs, and in the workplace environments that they create.

Emotionally, there are some basics that need to be embedded into the workplace to allow people to thrive. Most of us spend a lot of time at work. How are our emotional needs being met during that time and what more can organisations do to help our teams flourish?

I have created a survey to support an understanding the successes and challenges for organisations in creating environments that meet the emotional needs of their people. The results will be published in a future blog later this year.

What’s the hypothesis?

The theory of Human Givens, by Joe Griffin & Ivan Tyrrell, defines a number of emotional needs that should be in balance for a human to thrive:

  • Security – a safe territory and the room to unfold well
  • Sense of autonomy and control
  • Feeling part of a wider community
  • The need for attention (to give and receive it)
  • Friendship, fun, love, intimacy
  • Feeling emotionally connected to others
  • A sense of status within social groupings
  • A sense of achievement
  • The need for ‘meaning’ – being ‘stretched’
  • The need for ‘privacy’.

It follows from Human Givens theory that if we (as human beings) have all emotional needs met (in addition to their physical needs) we they will flourish and will move in the direction of achieving their full potential. When an individual’s needs are not in balance the result may be stress or to demotivate.

In the workplace, we see a trend of organisations are moving to a more Agile way of working. The focus moving to individuals and interactions. For this shift to succeed an environment where people’s emotional needs are being addressed must be created. But, how well are we taking care of ‘our people’ and their emotional needs?

When organisations adopt Agile and use frameworks like Scrum, many do so as processes and tools, rather than as frameworks to unleash human potential. All too often the ‘people side’ of Agile gets lost in a race for process adoption.

The results of this survey will support the exploration of the different factors – the size of organisation, if we work in teams, or if we see ourselves as Agile. Helping us understand how well organisations are allowing their employees to flourish.


Author: Mark Summers

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