6 Core Needs of Staff that We Need to Satisfy

Use these six core needs to help understand employee behaviour (good and bad) and how to create a motivated workplace. Based on the six core needs made popular by Tony Robbins. In a nutshell, we all strive to fulfil these core needs in either a resourceful way or unresourceful way (not good for us, not good for others). As a result, they are drivers of our actions and can help explain an employee’s actions. When one or more of the core needs aren’t met, negative effects can occur as listed in the table in addition to common problems such as increased sick days, decreased productivity, and increased contribution to a negative workplace culture.

How to use? When you are frustrated by a behaviour, think about whether there is a core need not being met in a resourceful way. Can be many small situations or one big one. You may not always figure it out until you talk to them and notice the wording they use.

1.   Certainty Certainty of what is expected of them, the tasks, their future in the company, where the company is going, how they can move up (if they want to), certainty of who to take direction from, certainty about safety, salary, entitlements. –       Unmotivated staff that don’t hit targets, don’t seem to be ‘on board’

–       Staff looking for other work

–       No loyalty, leaves as soon as something better shows up

–       No desire to put in extra hours or effort, leave right on the dot

–       Bad mouthing the boss or company

–       Complaining

–       Clear instructions – clearly articulated, written down, manuals, good training programs

–       Regular opportunity to ask questions or hear what is expected, e.g. Weekly or daily production meetings

–       Career plan mapped out

–       Explain the company vision and mission, have it on display, refer to it, live it

–       OH&S procedures clearly explained, documented and followed

2.   Variety Opportunity to do different tasks, break up monotony, take on a new challenge, mix things up a bit, work with different people, customers, locations,

production, services.


–       Reduced motivation for the job

–       Poor performance, mistakes, can’t stay focused and moves around (with or without permission) within the workplace to provide variety

–       May actually create problems to create some variety

–       Discuss what they really enjoy doing and want to do more of and workout how this might be achieved

–       Mix up the workload. Recognise the signs when it is time to change

–       Change work location/division

3.   Connection Feeling connected to teammates, the company. Feeling part of the team. Connected to other divisions. Feeling loved.


–       Reduced motivation for the job, coming to work

–       Increased chance of leaving, increased sick days

–       Withdrawn from the team and contributing

–       Give them a role that requires them to connect with the team

–       Discuss this topic with them

–       Don’t force them if they are naturally suited to working independently

–       Include them in text, emails, newsletter, company social media, meetings

4.   Significance Feeling important, useful, capable, acknowledged, recognised –       Can result in unresourceful methods to achieve it such as criticising others, stealing the limelight, not giving credit where credit is due, sabotaging others –       Acknowledgement via mention in meetings, newsletters, position title, increased responsibility, certificate/award/gift
5.   Growth Desire to feel we are moving forward, learning, growing in some way. Considered a spiritual need. –       Reduced motivation

–       May start looking to jump ship – seek greener pastures

–       Discuss and understand their career plan, their personal goals and then workout with them what might be done within the workplace to help them achieve these if possible
6.   Contribution Second spiritual need within all of us. Desire to contribute to something greater than us. –       Reduced motivation

–       Reduced willingness to be a team player or belief they can be a team player

–       May implement changes without discussion or permission to satisfy the need to contribute

–       May start looking to jump ship – seek greener pastures

–       Discuss and understand their career plan, their personal goals and then workout with them what might be done within the workplace to help them achieve these if possible

–       Acknowledge their contributionDLennon Business Development Packages_2018 6 Core Needs of Staff_Tipsheet

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