The three basic psychological needs in the workplace are autonomy, relatedness, and competence. These are leading drivers of employee engagement and job satisfaction. The implementation of these basic needs must be aligned with the organization’s strategic goals. They must be incorporated into cultural development, learning, personal growth activities, and all individuals must understand how they fit within the organization.
The 3 basic psychological needs explained:
The reality is that within the working environment we do not always have freedom of choice when it comes to our tasks and responsibilities. Autonomy in the workplace is about organizations providing clear direction on the path, purpose, and desired output, but allowing employees the option and individual volition to tackle the project or task their way. By practicing autonomy it demonstrates a level of trust which allows teams to engage in activities on their terms, bringing a sense of enthusiasm and alignment with their individual interests and values and not because they are “doing what they are told.”
We’ve seen companies that embrace autonomy show higher levels of job satisfaction and increased well-being. Managers are seeing increased motivation levels, creativity and happiness of employees.
Relatedness in the workplace is building bonds with others, connecting on similarities in the way people socialize, think, and behave. Relatedness refers to having a sense of belonging among employees and building relationships that are meaningful and fulfilling. The levels of relatedness employees feel at work can affect their motivation and desire to do their job well and impact retention rates.
Social support and having friends at work increases relatedness and provides a network for effectively coping with the ups and downs of everyday life. Having a support system during times of stress or having a shoulder to lean on when times are tough is critical for being able to move through difficult situations more effectively.
Competence is also known as mastery which is defined as having knowledge or skills in a particular subject or accomplishment. Humans have a need to learn and grow both personally and professionally. The desire to improve at something fuels one’s motivation to be better, do more, and be rewarded for achieving their goals. It is the responsibility of the organization to ensure there are programs and opportunities to develop their skills and reward employees for their accomplishments.
Using these three psychological needs as the framework for how we develop programs and internal policies will help drive an employee to become better, more skilled at what they do and connected to the people and work. Attitudes are contagious so having leaders engage in programs that improve abilities and allow for collaboration and cross-training will show how important these activities are to the success of the company. If employees are generally happier and more engaged at work, their attitudes and knowledge will transfer at higher rates creating a more positive environment for everyone.
Find out what you should ask everyone in your next meeting that Aaron Tucker, our Director of Organizational Development can guarantee will help build trust and psychological safety within your team. Watch now!