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The Five Prerequisites for a Highly Effective Workforce...

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

We combine social science and biology to help management teams create environments where there's, 1 a sense of belonging, 2 a sense of purpose, 3 a sense of empowerment, 4 recognition and 5 strong mental and physical health.

When the five prerequisites for a highly effective workforce are met, our bodies release powerful hormones triggering intense feelings of reward and wellbeing. As a result, we are all chemical addicts looking for our next fix.

People and businesses thrive when working environments fulfil five basic human needs

When we are in an environment where we feel safe and accepted, our bodies release Serotonin and Oxytocin which give us powerful feelings of happiness and wellbeing.

When we feel safe and accepted, we are more able to trust those around us. When we’re able to trust, we start to collaborate and when we collaborate productivity increases.


Serotonin and Oxytocin are both social and collaborative rewards which, are released simultaneously in the giver and receiver. When you give someone a gift you feel a sense of joy and likewise the recipient feels joy when they receive your gift. When you win an award, graduate, or finish a race, and your friends and family show up and applaud, oxytocin and serotonin are released not only in you but also your friends and family as they take pride in your achievement.


Serotonin and Oxytocin help us socialise and cooperate, developing feelings of trust belonging and loyalty. When we feel like we belong to a family, tribe, or organisation, inclusivity is embraced, we collaborate, which in turn translates into productivity and growth. Staff retention improves when employees feel like they belong.


Put simply, it’s good for business when we create environments that meet our basic human needs.


When employees feel secure in a safe environment, they feel empowered, and creativity and innovation thrive enabling companies to anticipate market trends.

When employees feel empowered, creativity and innovation thrive enabling companies to anticipate market trends
When employees feel empowered, creativity and innovation are released

When employees feel empowered, they feel authorised and enabled, able to make mistakes within a safe environment. Opposites to empowerment include individualism, micromanagement, and blame culture which, stifle creativity and innovation.

Where creativity and innovation are stifled, companies fail to anticipate market trends and they slowly decline.


Companies that unwittingly ignore the basic human needs of their workforce, do so at their own peril.


Oxytocin and Serotonin not only reward collaboration and empowerment, but they are also released when we are encouraged and recognised by our peers and leaders.

Recognition encourages and motivates which, again in a business context translates into productivity and uncommon growth.

When our achievements are recognised, the highly addictive Dopamine is also released
Serotonin, Oxytocin and Dopamine are released when we are recognised

When we are encouraged Serotonin and Oxytocin are released and when we are recognised for our achievements, the highly addictive Dopamine is also released. Every human has an inherent desire to be recognised, even the shy among us crave secret recognition.


If recognition and encouragement are so powerful, why is recognition and encouragement used so sparingly in the workplace?


In total, there are 4 primary chemicals that stimulate happiness and a sense of wellbeing, serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins.

Dopamine and Endorphins, provide us with a more instant and personal gratification, whereas serotonin, and oxytocin provide a more long-term sense of wellbeing and belonging. Dopamine and Endorphins, reward achievement and exertion.


Purpose, progress, and achievement are the greatest motivators and a dopamine rush is triggered when we achieve our goals, and when we are recognised and rewarded. Dopamine is a highly addictive feel-good neurotransmitter which also reinforces behaviour because we keep coming back for our next fix. When we have a sense of purpose, we move from being a passive spectator to a participator.

A dopamine rush is triggered when we achieve our goals, and when we are recognised and rewarded

Annual appraisals tend to be retrospective and annual bonuses are infrequent and less effective. In the workplace, goals need to be at least quarterly, clearly defined, achievable and rewarded, resulting in increased productivity and uncommon growth.


A positive working environment has a beneficial impact on our mental, emotional, and physical health. For example, it’s thought that low levels of serotonin and oxytocin are a cause of depression and directly impact our mental health.


Endorphins reward exertion, a natural pain killer which masks pain with a sense of euphoria. Translated into our modern world we experience endorphins from physical exercise at the gym for example, or through hard physical labour. Our bodies also release endorphins when we laugh, and where there’s laughter in the workplace there’s happiness and a sense of wellbeing.

Physical exercise can help raise the levels of feel-good hormones in our bodies
Exercise and laughter release Endorphins improving mental health in the workforce

Deficiencies in all 4 of these feel good hormones can negatively impact both our mental and physical health and interestingly, physical exercise and fitness in turn can assist in raising the levels of all 4 feel-good chemicals in our bodies.


How much better could business be, if we paid more attention to our psychological, emotional, and biological needs?


How we help...

As a starting point, we offer a free consultation to explore your needs and the solutions that we offer.


Find out more on 01384 274 778 / 075 888 925 88 or go ahead and book a free consultation to discuss your options.



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