Jun 17, 2022 5:58 PM

There are six core needs researchers find are important for humans (both at work and in our personal lives). Each of us have a personal hierarchy for the six however: You might find that equity and belonging are most important to you, but choice and status are most important to your employee, your partner, your child. Getting to know them is a shortcut to better communication, as well as greater inclusivity at work.

pssst…if you’re a manager you can get to know your teams’s BICEPS via Coaching Questions, or in Team BICEPS Check-ins.


  • Community: A feeling of friendship and closeness with a group, or being part of a tight community of any size.
  • Community well-being: People are cared for; The whole group feels happy and healthy.
  • Connection: Feeling kinship and mutual understanding with another person.


  • Progress: Your daily work creates progress towards an important goal for the company, your team, or your own career/ life.
  • Improving the lives of others: You see how your work helps improve things for others.
  • Personal growth: Learning/ seeing fast growth in yourself in skills that matter to you.


  • Choice: Having flexibility, the chance to have more control over key parts of your world.
  • Autonomy: Having clear ownership over a domain where you can do as you wish, without asking for permission.
  • Decision-making: The ability to make decisions about the things that matter to you.

Equality/ Fairness

  • Access to resources (money, time, space, etc) feels fair/ equitable.
  • Access to information feels fair: All groups/ people have access to information that is relevant to them.
  • Equal reciprocity: You support each other equally.
  • Decisions are fair and everyone is treated as equally important.


  • Resources: There’s enough certainty about resources (money, personnel hours, space) so you can focus on your job or goals.
  • Time: There’s certainty about when things will occur/ when you can prepare for them.
  • Future challenges: You can anticipate and thus can prepare for future challenges.
  • Direction: Goals, strategy, and direction stay consistent and don’t change too often/fast.


  • Your work feels like it has a clear sense of purpose.
  • You see how you or your work fit into a positive goal or mission.
  • You feel part of an important, positive movement or group.

The BICEPS acronym is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License: Paloma Medina 2015 The research behind the six core needs is based on the work of many brilliant neuropsychologists, psychologists and sociologists: including Teresa Amabile's Progress Principle, Daniel Pink's work on the psychology of motivation, and The Neuroleadership Institute's publications on core drivers.