Making suggestions and decisions at home is fairly easy. You know how and what you can get away with when it comes to dinner choices, movie options, and most other aspects of your personal life.
At the workplace, it's a whole different ball game. While you want the best terms and outcomes, you also don't want to appear confrontational and difficult to work with. Thus, many employees simply choose to shut up rather than voice their needs and concerns.
For managers, the best negotiators are those who are sufficiently assertive and know how to negotiate effectively. A negotiating workforce creates strong working relationships, improves workplace dynamics, and fosters teamwork, which translates to higher productivity, higher margins, greater job satisfaction, and retention of top performers. How exactly do you motivate your workforce to negotiate?
Provide Negotiation Training
You can’t motivate employees to negotiate if they don’t know how to negotiate. Provide ongoing negotiator training programs to teach negotiation skills to your staff at different levels of the negotiation process. You can host periodical negotiations training courses and refresher workshops.
Think about timing your training to deliver prior to busy seasons, when employees might be required to navigate more negotiations. Create an environment where seasoned employees mentor newcomers for negotiation skills transfer.
Have Clear BATNA Policies
What is the company’s Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA)? If there are no clear policies regarding BATNAs, your employees will be confused about desired outcomes. Also, a lack of policies makes trade-offs more difficult.
An in-house negotiating course can help your workforce clarify their BATNAs. When you have clear expectations and alternatives, your employees will be more confident and can deliver better results.
Make It Okay to Walk
Speaking of BATNAs, when your workforce is clear on which deals are worth pursuing, your employees are better placed to identify which deals are okay to walk away from. To motivate your workforce in and after their negotiation class, they need to feel confident that there will be no negative repercussions if they walk away from low to no profit negotiations.
Too many companies pressure their negotiators and believe everyone should come out with a deal. This leads employees to make deals that may be disadvantageous to the business.
Motivate your workforce to negotiate by making it okay to walk when there’s nothing more to talk about. Ensure that your negotiation training teaches your employees to identify when they should walk out of a negotiation.
Getting recognition for work well done is a key motivating factor in most workplaces. Fundamental management principles such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the Two-Factor Theory, and the Hawthorne Effect propose giving recognition to motivate your employees. A study by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that up to 79 percent of employees resign because they feel unappreciated.
When it comes to negotiations, you can show public recognition and appreciation to employees who make the best deals. You don’t need to offer large perks, such as higher salaries, bigger offices, and better cars, to foster positive internal competition where performers feel appreciated. Instead, consider following some leading companies who offer sustainable and scalable incentives, including internal awards like “negotiator of the month.”
Often in negotiation workshop settings, trainers and managers discover that rigid routines and strict rules discourage innovation and contribute to job dissatisfaction. Inflexibility leads to diminished trust, reduced imagination, and lowered usage of higher cognitive functions.
You end up with workplace zombies who just clock in and out, doing the bare minimum. Your workforce should be able to negotiate internally with senior management without fear of retribution. Negotiation fosters new ideas and more vibrant teamwork.