During extensive research my colleagues identified that we fundamentally have 6 needs that need meeting. I have regularly talked about these in relation to designing and managing workplaces
These are needs which remain with us throughout our lives, and are not just important in workplace – they matter in most aspects of our lives. These needs can be met in many ways.
This was brought home to me this recently when my colleagues and I hosted a group of 16 to 24-year olds as part of the excellent Resurgo-Spear initiative. The award-winning Spear programme helps 16-24-year-olds into work or training in partnership with employers – Spear has supported over 5,000 unemployed young people in the past decade. 75% remain in work a year later.
What organisations like Spear seek to do is to ensure that these fundamental needs are met by good society. Why? Because otherwise these needs could well be be met by bad society.
Look at the challenge we have in cities and towns with the rise of gangs, post code wars and turf wars. At its worst it has resulted in the tragic and unacceptable loss of young lives. How does it get to this appalling level?
What we all crave is to have our fundamental needs met. And gangs do that extremely well.
Purpose. They have something to work towards. A territory to defend. Honour to fight for. A mission to accomplish
Achievement. When their purpose is fulfilled they can get a feeling of great pride This might even be the first time they’ve ever had this feeling.
Belonging. “Much of what human beings do is done in the service of belongingness.” Roy Baumeister & Mark Leary – Loyalty and respect really do matter
Autonomy. Freedom to choose within boundaries. Interestingly, gangs are not places for anarchy.There are rules. There is structure. There is autonomy, but always with boundaries.
Security. Whilst we tend to think of people joining gangs for physical security, it also brings a sense of social security. The security of being accepted for who they are.
Status. We all crave status. By status, we mean recognition. That buzz you get from asocial media post getting acknowledged widely. The buzz from achieving your purpose and being recognised for it. Being a part of a gang is undoubtedly seen as a status symbol.
My hope is that as a society we recognise that we need to support organisations like Spear that can meet these needs. Whether from the state or charity sector, we must ensure that initiatives are funded well
However, funding is only part of this issue. These initiatives need people who are prepared to give their time. A commodity so precious, but it can unquestionably make a difference. Supporting initiatives like this are mutually beneficial – ask my colleagues, they’ll tell you the same.