NEHRA Insights - Spring 2009 - (Page 12)

COVER FEATURE Those People: The Very Human Root Causes of Disrespect and Discrimination By F. Chase Hawkins In order to accomplish this, we must first acknowledge that no matter how many world-class tools and processes we put in place, ultimately, the productivity of our companies depends on how our people perform. The greatest strength and barrier to achieving strong individual performance – as well as robust and effective working relationships – are the behaviors of our employees. This is where our understanding of behaviors driven by human difference becomes absolutely critical to achieving the type of culture that can, in fact, “do more with less.” We are, as human beings, all guilty of treating people that we perceive to be different from ourselves with inequitable behaviors. So many of these acts we are not even consciously aware of, so inherent in our humanity is this dangerous behavior. But if this behavior is so pervasive, even after decades of work to create company cultures that are inclusive and respectful, what are the root causes? 12 The identification of these root causes should not only be important to HR professionals. This area of focus should be of concern, at the very least, to every business leader who hopes to successfully lead their organization into a productive and profitable future. THE MASLOW CONNECTION There are undeniably strong links between the human capacity to disrespect and discriminate, in whatever form that takes, and Abraham Maslow’s motivational construct of hierarchical needs, first introduced to the world in 1943. In fact, Maslow has provided us with a framework that we may build upon to make the conscious link between these motivational needs and the “dark side” of the behavioral dynamics that they generate. A linkage that finally demystifies why we as human beings – despite the fact that we are all more alike than we are different – treat each other with disrespect and disdain, up to and including outright insights • Spring 2009 © Date iven the challenging economy dynamics that currently exist, many HR professionals find themselves once again being urged by business partners and senior leaders to “do more with less.” One of the most overlooked and yet obvious ways to do exactly that is to build a work environment where employees can achieve their maximum potential, regardless of what makes them unique as individuals, and bridge differences to work well together. In other words, increase the capacity and efficiency of your workplace, without increasing the size of your workforce. G discriminatory behavior. This connection will also be the tool, the enabler, which will empower us to move forward with a scientific, knowledge-based understanding to actually change these behaviors and remove the final barriers that prevent human beings from achieving maximum performance as individuals and as teams. Usually depicted as a five-level pyramid, the bottom four levels are grouped into Maslow’s “deficiency needs,” while the top level is referred to as “growth needs,” otherwise known as psychological needs. Within the levels of the deficiency needs, we find at the base levels of the pyramid our basic physiological needs (i.e. food, water, sleep, etc.), followed by our need for safety (i.e. a sense of security of body, employment, resources, etc.). The next two levels of the deficiency needs are the more intangible needs for belonging (i.e. to a group, family, etc.) and self-esteem (i.e.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NEHRA Insights - Spring 2009

NEHRA Insights - Spring 2009
Message from the Chair
Employment Law Update
Those People
Place Your Oxygen Mask on First
The Hunt for Opportunities
Change Happens - Now What?
Measuring What Matters
Index to Advertisers

NEHRA Insights - Spring 2009