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Your Weekly Walkaway - Would The Real Negotiators Please Stand UP
The Weekly Walkway highlights negotiation in its ‘good’, ‘bad’ and sometimes ‘downright ugly’ forms. Newsletter Issue No. 19 (3rd February 2023)
What to expect?
Quote of the Week - “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”
Tactic of the Week - The Ridiculous
Thought of the Week - Would The Real Negotiators Please Stand UP
Remember: You are a negotiator!
You are always managing some form of conflict, a difference of opinion or interest.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”
Henry Ford, Founder, Ford Motor Company.
TACTIC OF THE WEEK
We’ve all been there. They propose an extreme offer past the ‘POP’, The giggle point! It is obviously ridiculous, bonkers, mad, and proposed with one intention; to create a ‘Lucy’ moment (reference: kahvay.com). A moment when the chimp in your head (Lucy) takes over the computer (reference: the chimp paradox) and puts you into fight, flight or freeze. This creates negative emotions that, in turn, drive inappropriate behaviours.
Its intent is to make you lose your cool.
Don't let it distract or destabilise you. Recognise it for what it is. It's just a tactic. It's just a game. It's not personal.
Breathe, control your Lucy. Shake your head while looking at them like they are a small child who’s just disappointed you and.. get up and leave…or…
..with a smile, counter with an equally ridiculous offer in return. Wipe their proposal off the table by making an equally ‘ridiculous’ counter-proposal.
Then take a time out and ‘tell’ them that they’ve just lost credibility, and you expect more from them.
THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
Would The Real Negotiators Please Stand UP
Negotiations are a common aspect of all job roles, whether you like it or not. You do not need to be in sales or procurement to be a ‘negotiator’. We are all negotiating, always. To negotiate is to survive!
The frequency and intensity of these negotiations vary greatly and, of course, depend on the industry, size of your company, level of seniority and the responsibilities of your role. However, you may be surprised to read that in our experience, the average Human Resources (HR) professional is involved in more negotiations than ‘you’.. daily.. and most, wait for it.. have never been trained!
Look, I know I’m being a bit unfair, and yes, I’m being provocative, but considering the current market conditions and my personal feelings on the matter, it warrants a post. So here goes…
HR professionals negotiate all the time; with employees, stakeholders, union representatives, and suppliers. The list is endless. They negotiate salaries, benefits, working hours and other employment terms and conditions. They work to ensure that their organisation is able to attract and retain top talent whilst also controlling costs and ensuring the well-being and development of the organisation’s 'Human Capital’.
On top of that, they must be able to navigate the challenges of negotiating in a corporate environment. This involves negotiating with senior managers and executives, dealing with complex organisational structures, decision-making processes and the usual office politics.
To be successful, they need to effectively communicate their needs and interests and negotiate for the resources necessary to support their human capital programs and initiatives. This rarely means for ‘them’.
Yup, they will be negotiating, on average, 30 times a day! More than you! And it is for you, not them…
In your company, they are;
Lawyers and diplomats - who negotiate terms of employment, salary, benefits, and working conditions. They administer employment policies and employment contracts. They’re involved in the sharp end of disputes, mediations, severance, settlements and other agreements governed by employment law. They play a crucial role in promoting peace and stability in the organisation’s ‘community’. And yet, most aren't trained to negotiate;
Project managers - negotiating with stakeholders, suppliers, and team members to secure the resources, funding, and support necessary to complete human capital projects. They negotiate project timelines, budgets, and scope to ensure that the projects are completed on time and within budget. They could be involved in projects like Mergers and Acquisitions, organisational change and transformation, talent acquisition, insurance and benefits systems implementation and administration, all of which range in complexity. And yet, most aren't trained to negotiate;
Public relations and marketing - negotiating with suppliers, partners, media outlets, influencers, and other stakeholders to secure the best possible pricing, terms and positive coverage to promote their organisation's brand. They work to build and maintain relationships internally and externally to secure favourable outcomes for their organisations. And yes, you’ve got it; most have not been trained in negotiation.
You get the idea. It constantly shocks me.
Let’s just take a snapshot of one of HR's issues, which makes them feel very uncomfortable and close to my heart; Industrial and Employee Relations.
With the current market conditions ripe for industrial action and employee dissatisfaction, HR teams need to be competent, confident and empowered to negotiate collective bargaining and formal union negotiations. These negotiations can be complex and contentious. HR professionals must be skilled negotiators to navigate these waters successfully or risk plummeting their organisation into the dark and murky waters of strike action, bad publicity and months of uncertainty, all of which spook shareholders.
So what..? Develop HR negotiation skills now! Why?
Resolve unionised disputes and manage risk: let’s face it, negotiations in HR involve significant risks and can be very ‘high stakes’; not only are they disruptive, they can be a legal and public relations nightmare! Disputes like these in the workplace are complex and challenging. So developing effective negotiation skills is key in navigating appropriate resolutions and managing risks, minimising the impact of disruption on organisations and helping to maintain a positive, productive work environment;
Improve organisational efficiency and secure more favourable outcomes: If you’ve ever worked alongside a professional HR executive, you’ll have witnessed how time-consuming and complex collective bargaining agreements and compliance with labour laws and regulations can be. But effective negotiation skills enable HR to negotiate more efficiently, and with the appropriate planning tools, a common language and process, chaos can be managed, and order achieved. This reduces the time and resources required to resolve disputes and secure better-negotiated outcomes;
Build positive relationships: Long-term value is earned over time, and negotiating with employees on a regular basis, communicating positively and building trust-based relationships with employees make negotiating change, flexible work arrangements, performance improvement, and other employment-related issues less contentious. Better negotiation skills help build and maintain stronger and longer relationships with employees, management, stakeholders and suppliers. By being well-trained in negotiation, HR can build positive relationships that foster a culture of trust, collaboration and cooperation, increasing productivity and increasing an organisation's brand and, therefore its ability to secure the best talent. These negotiations are an important part of maintaining positive employee relations and ensuring that employees feel valued and supported, enabling the best defence against union recognition.
There is a problem! There is always a problem…
The fact is that fewer resources are made available for HR’s training and development. They are not considered sales nor procurement, so the cost of a professional negotiation learning journey that changes behaviours is just unobtainable. In fact, organisations rely heavily on HR professionals developing their negotiation skills through on-the-job experience or privately funded courses.
This mindset must change.
If you think training is expensive, consider how much it will cost not being trained!
We’d love to read your comments or thoughts. What do you think?
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