As it turns out, employees are humans. Like all humans, they have needs, and these needs need to be fulfilled.  In our most recent podcast with Dr. Scott Rigby we talk about the fulfillment needs of employees and how they become assets to the company.  Dr. Scott Rigby is a behavioral scientist, author, entrepreneur, and founder of Motivation Works – a company that applies behavioral science to organizations.  He is a leading authority on predictive measurements on motivation and engagement as well as interventions to improve organizational culture. and He has been featured on ABC News, BBC, National Public Radio, National Geographic, and Scientific American.

Companies today tend to interpret happiness among their employees in the workplace as fulfillment.  Organizations believe that by adding certain perks and by keeping the employees “happy,” they can get more out of their employees.  Unfortunately, happiness and fulfillment aren’t the same.  For the employees to be engaged, the company has to make sure they fulfill the employees’ needs. The Self-Determination Theory (SDT) specifically addresses how to fulfill those needs.

Dr. Rigby explained that employers should focus on employees’ fundamental needs as human beings before trying to fill their needs as workers.  To this end, he, along with the creators of the SDT, founded Motivation Works. This platform utilizes SDT so that companies can measure the fulfillment of different basic needs of employees.  According to the SDT, employees have three basic needs for fulfillment: autonomy, competence, and relatedness.  Autonomy pertains to giving the employees a meaningful choice over how they are completing their tasks.  Competence is the desire to be successful by performing things with efficiency and achieving growth in their skillset.  Relatedness is a sense of belonging in the workplace where there’s mutual respect and support for each other.  Satisfying these components always leads to increased employee engagement.  Dr. Rigby emphasizes that measuring employee engagement isn’t that hard.  It can be done as simply as by asking employees if they agree with the statement “I love my job.” Employees who love their job are almost always fulfilled and engaged. The real trick is making sure changes are made based off those measurements to help increase fulfillment and thus engagement.

Every employee, every manager, every leader, needs to understand the employees’ experiences and points of view.  Listen to the full podcast to see how fulfilling the different needs of employees engages employees in the workplace. Motivate your reports. Motivate your managers. Be an agent of change.

We would like to thank Dr. Rigby for his time and expertise. We encourage everyone to visit to learn more about the platform.  You can follow Dr. Rigby on twitter at @csrigby.