The power of negotiation to boost workplace productivity

Updated: Aug 27, 2018

Managing problem employees in a litigious society is one of the most serious challenges for human resource leaders.

According to a survey published in Insurance Journal, U.S. companies have an 11.7 percent chance that an employee will file a lawsuit against them.

Retaining underperforming workers to avoid lawsuits certainly doesn’t alleviate the costs and stress associated with litigation. Doing nothing only exacerbates the problem. Instead, there’s a way to mitigate litigation while building a proactive plan to implement key HR initiatives -- negotiation.

It starts by understanding that all humans share a basic human trait -- a want or a need.

With strong workplace negotiation skills, HR leaders can better understand their people and get to the heart of an individual’s wants or needs. Rather than leveraging negotiations to get a direct “win,” HR leaders should use information gained from negotiations to develop and elevate their employees. Consequently, you’ll nurture happier, more productive employees and leaders who are more respectful and have better attitudes. Understand employee mindsets

An underperforming employee likely has some bad habits, including poor communication skills, leaving work early, and a reluctance to acquire new skills. Until you understand their emotional triggers and ingrained beliefs, no amount of prodding or threatening will modify their behaviors. Tapping into employee mindsets is essential to managing and leading them more effectively.

Doing so not only boosts organizational productivity but also reduces the costs associated with wrongful termination suits. Moreover, it reduces the expense and hassle of hiring replacement workers.

Fortunately, the same tactics used in a negotiation against a counterpart in a hostile situation also can be used to gather information that is crucial to uncovering an employee’s needs and wants. It boils down to identifying their fears, aversions, needs and desires. That's what we call the vision of pain. Good negotiation skills can unearth these issues.

Optimize negotiations to improve employees

When you think of negotiations, what comes to mind? A better vendor rate? A corporate acquisition? An executive’s compensation package?