Hierarchy of Needs in Context of Workplace Diversity

Subject: Management
Pages: 2
Words: 647
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: College

The concepts of diversity and inclusion are not novel to 21st-century employers. By recruiting a diverse workforce and ensuring employees feel comfortable in an inclusive environment, progressive companies increase their workers’ productivity, performance, and engagement. However, having a diverse team does not necessarily reflect the organization’s inclusive climate. To foster a diversity-friendly corporate culture, employers have to meet their subordinates’ professional and personal needs for respect, support, and appropriate feedback. These need to feel included and valued align perfectly with Maslow’s Hierarchy described in detail by Saul McLead (2020). This paper is going to explore how companies applying Maslow’s Hierarchy to meet workers’ physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization needs help to develop a diversity-friendly workplace.

Humans have an innate motivation to achieve certain needs although some of them are often prioritized over others. Survival is the primary concern of all species, which is why physiological needs are at the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid (McLead, 2020). They include water, nutritious food, rest, sleep, air, sex, and rest (McLead, 2020). All of the other levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy are irrelevant if people fail to satisfy these basic needs. For employers, this means that they have to ensure their workers’ earnings are enough to support themselves and provide for their families. In the context of diversity, organizations must ensure that their employees are paid fairly and equally before starting any initiatives aimed at diversity.

Once a person’s needs for food and shelter are satisfied, safety and security become salient. People expect their surroundings to be stable and reliable enough to ensure they have full control of their lives. Examples of such needs are property, social order, law, and emotional security, as well as protection from mental harm or any sort of physical injury (McLead, 2020). In the professional environment, these needs must be acknowledged and satisfied by establishing a zero-tolerance policy for any form of harassment or bullying at work. Besides a variety of possible regulations, companies have to recognize the importance of reporting procedures in addressing such issues. To create a truly inclusive work environment, organizations must ensure employees are held accountable for discrimination, slurs, and inappropriate comments targeted at their colleagues. In addition, businesses have a responsibility to protect the personal data of their workers, including financial statements and medical records.

Another important factor in ensuring employees feel comfortable expressing their differences is meeting their love and belongingness needs. This level of Maslow’s Hierarchy is dedicated to the complexities of interpersonal relationships (McLead, 2020). Such needs include friendship, intimacy, affection, and trust (McLead, 2020). The core of workplace diversity is the idea that every employee feels like they belong to a group. The company’s culture needs to radiate inclusion and empathy, which could be achieved by uniting workers over a common goal that is in sync with the organization’s corporate objectives. Moreover, a business must hold frequent seminars on diversity and invest in teamwork activities. At my first job, I felt extremely out of place because I could not connect with any of my colleagues, which was worsened by their outright hostility towards and negligence toward me. As a result, I was unproductive and unmotivated, which impacted my work.

The last two levels in Maslow’s pyramid are esteem and self-actualization needs. The former is classified into two distinct categories: esteem for oneself and the desire for external respect and recognition. Companies have to make sure all of their workers are treated with dignity despite their differences. Moreover, organizations must reward employees for their professional accomplishments equally to meet their esteem needs, while simultaneously supporting diversity. Self-actualization needs refer to every individual’s unique potential and desires for self-fulfillment (McLead, 2020). In the context of inclusion and diversity at work, employers need to empower their teams with meaningful tasks. By fostering the conditions necessary for creative brainstorming and other forms of collective contribution, companies ensure employees’ successes are recognized.


McLead, S. (2020). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Simply Psychology. Web.