Engaged employees are essential to the success of any organization. The employee engagement hierarchy reflects an employee’s engagement level as determined by how well their needs are being met. The following is an overview of the hierarchy:

1. Basic Needs: Employees must be able to meet their basic needs such as food, water, and shelter before they can be engaged in their work.

2. Safety and Security: Employees need to feel safe and secure in their work environment. This includes feeling safe from physical danger and harassment, as well as having a reasonable degree of job security.

3. Belongingness and Connection: Employees need to feel like they belong in their organization and have a connection to their co-workers. This includes feeling appreciated and valued by management and having a sense of purpose in their work.

4. Emotional Well-Being: Employees need to feel emotionally stable and supported in order to be productive. This includes having access to mental health resources and feeling like their manager cares about them as a person.

5. Growth and Development Opportunities: Employees need opportunities for growth and development in order to feel challenged and engaged in their work. This includes access to training and development programs, as well as advancement opportunities.

Employees Need Survival to be Engaged

Employees who are only engaged in order to fulfill their most basic needs are not likely to be very productive or creative. They may be more focused on simply doing the bare minimum to get by, rather than taking initiative or coming up with new ideas. Organizations that want to improve employee engagement would do well to focus on satisfying these employees’ more basic needs, such as providing a safe and secure work environment, fair compensation, and good benefits.

The Importance of Job Security in Employee Engagement

Employees need to feel secure in their job in order to be engaged. This can include feeling like their job is stable, knowing that other employees are not at risk of being laid off, and having enough staff to do their work effectively. If these issues are not addressed by management, it can create a barrier to employee engagement.

Creating a Culture of Belonging and Engagement

When it comes to building a great place to work, fostering trust and transparency is key. Employees need to feel like they can trust their managers and that they are being honest with them. This starts with creating an open environment where employees are comfortable giving and receiving feedback. Leaders need to be transparent with their goals and plans, and be willing to listen to feedback from employees. This will help employees feel like they are a part of the team and that their opinions matter.

The Drivers of Employee Engagement

Employees want to feel that they are a part of something larger than themselves. They want to be engaged in their work and feel like it has value. According to the study “What Drives Employee Engagement and Why It Matters” released in 2012 by MSW Research and Dale Carnegie Training, there are three key drivers of employee engagement: relationship with immediate supervisor, belief in senior leadership, and pride in working for the company.

The relationship with the immediate supervisor is the most important factor in determining employee engagement. Employees want to feel like they are valued by their boss. In organizations with a high level of trust, employees are 19% more productive, 18% more profitable, and 2.6 times more likely to have above-average earning per share growth. Trust is the foundation of a high-performing team. When employees feel valued and trusted by their leaders, they are more likely to be engaged and productive.

Highest Level of Employee Engagement

Employees who have reached the level of self-actualization are always looking for ways to improve the organization. They are constantly sharing their successes and knowledge with others in order to create a larger force of engaged employees. This has a cyclical effect, and will continue to help the organization grow and become more successful. Highly engaged employees are always looking for new ways to improve their work and make a positive impact on the company. They are the driving force behind innovation and change within an organization.


The hierarchy illustrates the importance of employees feeling as though they belong to an organization and that their thoughts and insights are valued. This is especially important for organizations who wish to encourage innovation and creativity. When employees feel that their voices are heard and that they are a part of something larger, they are more likely to contribute their best ideas.