Years ago, when I was a Psychology student at University, the first concept we studied was Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. For those of you not familiar with this model, the concept is that there is a basic level of needs which everyone has and once this foundation is in place, you can progress up the pyramid.
The foundation level is Physiological needs such as air, water, shelter, sleep, clothing and reproduction. The ascending levels are Safety, Love and belonging, Esteem and Self-actualisation. This pinnacle is the desire to become the best that one can be.
What does this have to do with kindness and mental health?
There is a difference when asking an employee ‘what they need’ and ‘what they want’. As an employer you have a duty of care to ensure that your employees have what they need and have the ability to achieve what they want.
Looking at the hierarchy of needs, both the physiological and safety aspects are the responsibility of the employer, either directly or indirectly.
To get the most from your staff and to give them the opportunity to be the best version of themselves, you need to ensure they have what they need. It is essential for their wellbeing and their mental health.
You also need to ensure that they feel valued, appreciated, directed, supported and that you genuinely care about them.
What act of kindness can you show your staff today to help them feel that they belong and to boost their self-esteem?