Hello, and thank you so much for joining me for Module 2 of LA 101. This module is titled Maslow’s forgotten. The reason why it is titled that is because we’re going to be talking about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. If you’re familiar with any sort of motivation theories, this is probably the most popular. As you can see on your screen right now, it usually is displayed as a triangle. It is made up of these five different areas.
Now, the very basic form of Maslow’s hierarchy is the way that it works. It’s basically that people climb it like a ladder. They have to have their needs met at each level before they can reach the next one, and really pursue those needs at that level.
At the very bottom, it should not be a surprise, is physiological, or sometimes called survival needs. These are things like food, water, shelter, basic needs that we need met in order for us to basically be able to survive. Once we have those needs met for us we get to move up to the safety level. This could be physical safety. This could be emotional safety. This could be job security. All those things fall under those needs. Once those are met, then we move up to love and belonging. Love and belonging is all about personal relationships, professional relationships, fitting in, getting what I need relationally in order to have my love and belonging needs met. Once that happens, then we get to esteem, which then we actually start to see people perform. Then at the very top is self-actualization, which in my opinion is basically achieved in sort of a blip format when you are really on fire. Just say you get promoted, that might be you hitting self-actualization. Then the reality of the promotion, and the responsibilities kind of bring you back down to esteem, and I think you play between the two.
The interesting thing about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is when it was brought into the workplace, for the most part when we’re talking about motivation, the tools that we give managers, and skill sets to try to motivate employees, are dealing with individuals that are at the esteem, or the self-actualization level, which makes sense. There actually was a theory called the two factor theory by a guy named Herzberg, who basically split Maslow’s hierarchy into two major chunks. Your hygiene, and your motivator factors.
Your hygiene was essentially the physiological, the safety, and the belonging levels. Then the motivators were pretty much your esteem, and self-actualization levels. He said that your hygiene factors, the bottom three, should be taken care of by any proper organization. If you have the appropriate culture, if you have a safe working environment, if you have a great compensation model, you will take care of physiological safety, and belonging needs. Therefore, managers and supervisors should only really be concerned about esteem and actualization, which are the motivators. When you’re dealing with individuals looking for esteem needs, and self-actualization needs, that’s when you get to do delegating tasks, giving more challenging projects, having pizza parties, giving away gift cards, having sales contests, all those kinds of things drive people that are at that level, and having those needs met.
Now, one of the big things that we have learned in dealing with people is that there is a human factor there. I think most of us still have a desire to live in a world where we can absolutely separate our personal from our professional lives. That’s not really possible. We are humans, we carry it with us all over the place. If my physiological needs are being met because of my relationship that I have with my husband, and we both are bread winners, and coming together and our dual income allows us to pay for our household, if he loses your job, you may never know that but my physiological needs are no longer being met. That would definitely come into play in the work environment.
Same thing with safety, if I don’t feel physically safe at my home, or even at my job, more so at home, that’s something that’s out of our control, yet could totally have an impact on the workplace and how I interact.
Now, what I think is really interesting about Maslow’s in relationship to Leadership Rights Associates and the things that we do here, is really focusing on that middle tier, which is the love and belonging tier. This is the tier that I call Maslow’s forgotten. The reason why I say that is because it’s all relational based, and human resources historically was birthed out of this human relational movement. We’ll learn a little bit more about that in module three, when I talk about Elton Mayo who is a sociologist who didn’t start it, but really helped push that human relational movement even further into team dynamics, and team building, and why all of that exists today.
The love and belonging piece, I think it’s easy for us to brush over and think that it’s romantic needs, or it’s wanting to have friends. Really, it’s much bigger than that. Love and belonging is what allows us to feel like we’re a part of something bigger. When we’re talking about organizations, or our professional lives, if we feel disconnected from that, it becomes very difficult to wake up every single day, and go to that place of work, and try to be passionate about it, and try to produce as much as we possibly can, or give all that we can in our effort when we feel like we don’t belong.
If you do just a basic Google search that says, “Workplace needs based off Maslow’s hierarchy”, there’s an article by Jack Ori that really summarized very nicely under the love and belonging, how that plays into the workplace. In this article, he says, “Once basic needs and security needs have been met, employees seek to meet their needs for belonging and love. Employees must feel comfortable with their coworkers, and their supervisors, even if they don’t like or get along with everybody, they need to feel like they belong, and are loved, by at least some of the people they work with. If an employee feels alienated from the company, she may not do her best work. This is doubly important when it comes to employer-employee relationships. If employees don’t feel their bosses value them, or their contributions, they won’t want to do their jobs.”
I know right now, really on trend, is the generational element about the younger workforce, and getting out there, talking about Gen Ys or millennials. There were studies that were done talking about motivators, and things that were really significant to this younger workforce coming in. One of them was a sense of belonging, and wanting to know that they have a sense of value there, their relationships valued, and not only that but that they’re contributions are valued as well.
Personally, I can speak from experience, that I worked for a place where I went from an employer that I’d been with for five, to six years, and I felt like I was part of that family, I actually considered myself to almost be a lifer there, and was going to be there and retire from there. When I transitioned, I was really trying to find my place. I remember within my first couple of months I had several different kind of interactions with tenured employees of this organization, where people blatantly called me out on things that they just did not like about me. It got to place that regardless of how much I loved the job and what I was doing, the fact that I felt like I was not personally liked, and that I didn’t belong in that culture, really made me reevaluate if this was somewhere I could be in the long term. Lets just face it, all this time when I’m orienting with this organization, I’m spending more time trying to think about if I made a bad decision, if I need to find a new job and go elsewhere, rather than really focusing on how I can add value to the organization.
I say this because this is a place that I think we really do forget. When we look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we have so many organizations and people out there who have strong passion. It’s so needed, and so important to take care of those who don’t have their basic needs met, who don’t have their safety needs met, and we’re continuing to try to feed, and take care of that need. Yet, there’s not a lot of work being done around people who don’t have their love and belonging needs met. I think there’s a lot of things that are coming up now that kind of play in this field, whether it’s the harassment, the bullying, all that. It has to deal with love and belonging. A lot of the shows that are on trend, that are resonating with people that has to do with love and belonging needs not being met.
In the workplace, this is talking about relationships that are the game-changer for your culture, is what happens there. This is what makes basically happy employees, or unhappy employees, is having these needs met. They’re different for everyone. There’s not this set amount of, “Well, if everyone has five friends, or if everyone has a clique, or if my boss spends an hour with me every week …” that these needs will be taken care of.
The trick here is that it’s different for everyone, but I have heard where organizations have recruited nationwide, or even out of the country and have brought people to the local area. And, because they haven’t been able to fit with the local culture, not even the organizational culture, but the local culture, and they weren’t able to guide them on how to find their place in the local community, that they lost them and they went back to wherever was home for them, because they couldn’t create a new home here.
I think the work is just so necessary. Its so needed. That’s something, definitely, that I think really resonates with Leadership Rights Associates. I remember when I first started the organization, I got a variety of phone calls. When business was slower, I would answer all the phone calls; all of your sales calls, anybody who called I really answered and spoke to them, and remember I would get a couple of phone calls where people truly believed that Leadership Rights Associates was a not-for-profit, or a non-profit organization. I think that’s because of the work that we do here, and the passion for the people that really comes through in our work, and how much we truly care because we know how important the love and belonging needs are. We know how important it is for organizations who are trying to meet that need because there are so many out there that are trying, and they just struggle to do so, or don’t know how to because it really is an entire profession, and specific strategies to how to implement within your organization.
That’s a little bit of a quick lesson on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, talking about that middle tier that I think is really core to what we do here at Leadership Rights Associates, and giving you a little bit of insight. In the next module we’re going to talk about a sociologist called Elton Mayo, one of the experiments that he did that really is a game-changer for the human relations movements, but a game-changer for me, and Leadership Rights Associates. I hope you will join me for module three. Thank you so much.