Can Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs help us in talent communication? Are we able to use this theory to recognize relevant motivators and improve the effectiveness of our talent communication?

I believe so.

In this episode of the Building a Modern Employer Brand -podcast, I discuss how we can use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a framework helping us to understand what motivators our talent target audiences might have and how we can use this information to add more relevance in our talent communication.

What is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a theory about motivation presenting five basic human needs in a pyramid-shaped formation. These five basic needs are in a hierarchical order suggesting how we must fulfil our basic needs in a particular order before we can be motivated by the fulfilment of the next.

According to Maslow, humans are motivated to meet and fulfil each of the five basic needs in a specific order. We cannot be persuaded to choose a job offering self-actualization if the salary is below the minimum and we already struggle paying bills.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs pyramid crafted by Susanna Rantanen at Building a Modern Employer Brand blog

How can Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs help us recognize what to communicate?

Those five categories of basic human needs identify us as the ultimate drivers for motivation. Knowing what drives human motivation helps us choose a powerful angle to our talent message.

The persuasiveness and the impact of our talent communication are always dependent on the relevance of our message.

Remember how in the Magnetic Employer Branding Method™️, the talent is the hero?

When we follow this talent as the hero -rule, we acknowledge what our message must be about.

Not about us, but about them.”

Next, we use our understanding of our talent or candidate personas to recognize where are they in their lives right now. What might be the likely basic needs they currently have, and we should address in our talent communication?

When we know this, we can formulate our messages to identify and help solve a problem our target audience

When we know this, we can formulate our messages to identify and help solve a problem our target audience has and can relate to.

Here’s an example.

Example: Make sure your internship opportunity meets the basic need for financial security.

Are you offering internships for students?

Competition for great interns can be as fierce as the war for more experienced talents. Many employers have chosen to pay interns well enough to win better candidates.

However, most students are already receiving student allowances from their governments. While these allowances are hardly sufficient to cover all living costs, there are limitations to how much students can earn while also accepting the allowance.

Students are already forced to work part-time as much as they are allowed.

While assuming your interns to work free for you is wrong, adding a paid internship into this financial equation can become a difficult financial act to balance.

Your prospects are likely to ponder: “Will I earn enough to quit my part-time job for the time being, or do I need to work part-time as well? If I make enough to quit my part-time job, do I risk my student allowance or find another part-time job once the internship is over? “

Expressing in your recruitment marketing, you understand your target talents might be struggling with their financial security, but you can help solve this problem can be just the factor that wins over your ideal interns.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory is a straightforward framework helping us recognize perhaps a better key message or angle to select when choosing our employee value propositions and writing recruitment posts, copy texts on our career site, and other content for talent communication and marketing.

Listen to episode 92 in the Building a Modern Employer Brand podcast with Susanna Rantanen

In this episode:

  • What is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?
  • How to use the five tiers to understand better what is relevant for your target audiences.

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Sources used for this episode and blog post:

Masterclass: A Guide to the 5 levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Mind and Body Green blog: Is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs still important? Research and Myths

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