Try Win-Win Negotiations
Have you ever been involved in or observed a collective bargaining negotiation between employers and employees? Did the negotiation result in a deadlock or impasse? Didn’t you wish you had reached a win-win solution?
Most negotiators dream of getting a win-win solution. And dreams can come true when parties are genuinely interested in finding mutually acceptable solutions’ to their problems.
The following suggestions can increase the chances of reaching a win-win agreement. Whether or not you are in management or with labor in a unionized or non-unionized environment, these tips will prove helpful to you.
1. Don’t be greedy.
Greed can get you what you want, but it can rob you of what you already have. Greed is never satisfied and won’t give the greedy inner peace.
If you are in management and can afford a reasonable increase in pay and benefits, don’t withhold it Share with your employees the fruits of their labor.
If you are negotiating for the employees, ask only what is reasonable-commensurate with the value that employees are giving to the company and within the capacity of the employer to pay. Highlight what you are giving in return, not what you need because of the increasing cost of living.
2. Don’t be too legalistic.
Between what is legal and what is right, choose what is right. Negotiation is a business matter, not a legal matter. Maybe, you still have to draw up the long form with “Whereas” and “Wherefore”, but the agreement must not be written with so much legalese and gobbledygook that ordinary employees can’t understand.
The resulting agreement must be a living covenant between partners aimed at enhancing their relationship for their mutual benefit. It must not be a document that one will use against the other at the slightest provocation.
3. Don’t put one over the other.
Never negotiate in bad faith. Proposals must not put one party in jeopardy or at a disadvantage. Never ask the other party to give up rights or prerogatives. Maintain a high degree of mutual trust and respect.
Never use dirty tactics on the other party. This will lead to antagonism and unhealthy negotiating environment. Be careful with your language. Maintain a wholesome, friendly and collaborative attitude. When proposing something that seems unacceptable at face value, do it in a manner that does not offend the other party.
4. Don’t sweat the unimportant.
It is all right and customary to tackle the less critical issues first before discussing the pay increase. But do not belabor the issues that, in the end, will not matter most.
As much a s possible, start with the issues where you can reach easy agreements. Dispose of issues that get in the way of the major issues. This will lessen the load on both parties. That is not to mean that non wage issues should not be discussed at all. Let the other party explain its proposals in full. But, let’s not kid ourselves-you know your jugular issues.
5. Don’t be inflexible.
Management negotiators are admonished to avoid a “take-it-or-leave-it” stance. Likewise, never say, “It is a management prerogative and therefore non-negotiable”.
Negotiators for employees must also go to the negotiation table with an open mind. Do not expect management to agree to your initial demand for a pay increase.
The essence of negotiation is bargaining, finding a common ground, starting from diverse positions, adapting to the other party-never forcing one to agree with the other.