18.06.2021 | Blog 6 |

Personal needs – why they shouldn’t be neglected

| Are you giving enough space to your personal needs? According to a study by profilingvalues, most people do not. Due to social conventions, their own needs are often put on the back burner. The attention towards personal needs of the participants in the aforementioned study was around 18% (Vogel, 2011). For clarification: a balanced and healthy attention is present at a value of 50% (Vogel, 2018).

However, personal needs have never been as important as they are at the current time. Many people are stressed and overwhelmed with remote work, childcare or online studies. The separation of professional and private life in one’s own home office is also difficult. At the same time, for many people it is not easy to perceive and express their personal needs in such situations. The reasons for this are obvious: people fear being labeled as selfish or perceive their own needs as inappropriate in such situations.

The expression of the “personal needs” dimension, whether strong or weak, is not only relevant for the person himself or herself. It reveals a lot to others about the person’s personality, about his or her environment, and  has  an impact on the world of work.

Why personal needs are a dimension of the Hartman Value Profile and why they should not be neglected  will be addressed in more detail in the following blog post.


Personal needs

Personal needs represent the fourth dimension within the Hartman Value Profile. The evaluation of one’s personal needs show how clearly a candidate can recognize his or her own individuality or inner self (ability) (Vogel, 2018). Basically, this is self-confidence or in Robert S. Hartman´s words: self-respect or rather self-esteem. At the same time, the HVP evaluates the extent to which the person currently considers or ignores his or her personal needs (willingness).

High scores indicate high self-confidence and self-awareness and ego strength. On the other hand, having exceptionally high values can be interpreted as being egoistic or even narcissistic. Again, low scores reveal low self-confidence, insecurity, and discomfort. Average values are more advantageous here than extreme values, because they allow a balanced picture of the candidate (Vogel, 2018).

Of particular interest in this dimension is the degree of attention to personal needs (willingness). According to Vogel, high values in this dimension are rather an exception (Vogel, 2018). Vogel cites the study published by profilingvalues in 2011 as evidence of this (Vogel, 2011). The 1,800 participants only achieved values of around 18% (Vogel, 2011). These are values which indicate a reduced attention, partly also an ignoring of one’s own needs. For comparison, balanced attention to one’s own needs would normally be around 50%.

The reason why people are less attentive to their personal needs is due to social conventions. As societal obligations, the common good and solidarity are given priority, personal needs receive less attention. Only one-sixth of participants score above 35% on this dimension (Vogel, 2018).


What are the most important needs of a human being?


The pyramid of needs according to Abraham Maslow

In his 1943 work “A Theory of Human Motivation”, Abraham Maslow addressed the question of what the essential needs of human beings are. His well-known pyramid of needs depicts the five essential human needs:


1. Physiological needs

Physiological needs represent the essential needs of the human being that he or she requires for survival. These would be, for example, air, food, water, safety, or sleep (Sadri & Bowen, 2011). In the professional world, such physiological needs include salary, bonuses, or retirement benefits, which guarantee the essential needs – food, water, and a place to stay (Sadri & Bowen, 2011). However, a pleasant work environment or a good work-life balance also fall into this category, as they contribute to security and peace of mind (Sadri & Bowen, 2011).
Once these needs are largely met, an individual can turn to the second level – the need for security.


2. Safety or security needs

Feeling safe from dangers, such as war, attacks, or natural disasters, is one of the essential human needs, too (Aruma & Hanachor, 2017). Within the workplace, security needs can be met by ensuring employees’ health – both physical and psychological – or by providing a pleasant work environment (Sadri & Bowen, 2011).
Once this need is satisfied, social needs can be addressed.


3. Social needs

Social needs are those that give the individual the feeling of belonging to a society. The aspect of loving and being loved is also of crucial importance (Aruma & Hanachor, 2017). Social contact, love, and security are essential needs that a human being needs to feel safe and to contribute to the development of a society (Aruma & Hanachor, 2017). Social needs must also be satisfied at work. Cohesion and belonging in a team represent the most important keywords (Sadri & Bowen, 2011).


4. Esteem needs

If social needs are met and an individual feels comfortable in his or her environment, certain individual needs are sought and demanded. These are expressed in appreciation, respect, reputation or responsibility from fellow human beings (Sadri & Bowen, 2011). Especially in the world of work it is important to consider such individual needs.  A lack of appreciation in the workplace, often y leads to employee dissatisfaction (Sadri & Bowen, 2011). An equally important aspect is the sense of achievement. Seeing a purpose in one’s work while being involved in the positive development of the company enhances the feeling of participating in the success of the company (Sadri & Bowen, 2011).


5. Self-actualization

Self-actualization represents the last and highest level to be achieved within Abraham Maslow’s pyramid of needs. This includes, for example, the development of one’s own talents, potentials, creativity and personal abilities (Aruma & Hanachor, 2017). The specific form that self-actualizing needs can take depends entirely on the individual itself.
At work, for example, the need for self-actualization can be satisfied through additional training opportunities or a paid sabbatical (Sadri & Bowen, 2011).


Why is it important to perceive and communicate your own needs in the working world?

Being aware of your own needs and communicating them at work can have several advantages – for both employers and employees.

Paying more attention to one’s own needs can strengthen one’s own self-esteem. At the same time, it promotes introspection and one’s own self-assessment (Vogel, 2018). This can be particularly beneficial when, for example, in a stressful situation, a person knows exactly whether he or she feels the need to seek help or sees him or herself as being up to the task.

Having a healthy self-esteem at work not only radiates inner stability or resilience, but can additionally strengthen interpersonal relationships (Vogel, 2018). For example, a distinct perception of one’s own needs can additionally release empathic abilities. Those who are satisfied with themselves can be a great support to others and also help them to achieve satisfaction.

Demanding personal needs also enhances communication with the counterpart. By addressing needs in a targeted and appropriate manner, a supervisor, for example, knows what employees need or expect. Specifically defining expectations promotes the working atmosphere and minimizes misunderstandings or conflict situations in the team. If needs are recognized and fulfilled by superiors, a feeling of appreciation arises, which increases the motivation and productivity of a person. This in turn strengthens the sense of belonging to the company and improves interpersonal relationships.



Personal needs play an important role in the world of work, especially when it comes to job satisfaction. When it comes to selecting new employees, care should be taken to ensure that candidates have a sharpened perception of their needs. Such a perception brings advantages. First and foremost, a healthy self-confidence, increased stability and resilience, as well as a better working atmosphere. One’s own needs should always be communicated, as they can be beneficial in any relationship or situation. It is neither selfish nor inappropriate to pay attention to one’s own wishes now and then and to prioritize them.


Author: Dimitra Sismanidou, June 2021
Copyright: IAM Global GmbH



Aruma, E. O., Hanachor, M. E. (2018). Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and assessment of needs in community development. International Journal of Development and Economic Sustainability 5(7), 15-27.

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological review, 50(4), 370.

Sadri, G., Bowen, R.C. (2011). Meeting employee requirements: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is still a reliable guide to motivating stuff. Industrial Engineer 43(10), 44-48.

Vogel, U. (2011). Profiling Studie: Herrschende Werte und Einstellungen am Arbeitsplatz. Königsdorf: Profilingvalues.

Vogel, U. (2018). Profilingvalues: Handbuch. System, Anwendungen und Interpretation des Reports. Santa Cruz de Tenerife: Profilingvalues.