Negotiations with a boss or supervisor can be a daunting task for employees; nonetheless it is sometimes a necessary means for improvement under unsatisfactory working conditions. The aim of a negotiation can vary from typical requests such as higher wages, more responsibilities and better working hours to improvements in the working environment such as a bigger office, newer equipment or safer working conditions. In any case, negotiating is usually the better option to improve a situation instead of pursuing a better job elsewhere.
In addition to knowing what you wish to get out of a negotiation, making use of suitable tactics and knowing your minimum requirements of a trade union’s collective agreement is crucial when it comes to making it a success. A good negotiation requires some careful planning and knowing what type of negotiation style works best with your boss; if your boss uses an aggressive method of negotiating then it may be best to diffuse the situation by using a passive but firm style to counter their arguments. Being aggressive against an aggressive boss could turn a negotiation messy, and being too lenient against them could give them room to bully you into accepting an undesirable agreement. In the end it can come down to a boss’s personality to determine how best to approach them.
However, while the actual approach of a negotiation can vary, the planning stage is more concrete. Not only should you prepare arguments and counter-arguments, but it is essential to look at facts and figures, such as wages paid for similar jobs and skills across the market if you are asking for a raise; in other words, it helps to research your own competitive market value because it helps to strengthen your argument with facts and figures. Also, showing the other party that you understand what they want and appealing to their self-interests further helps to reach an agreement by showing that you are looking out for what they want in addition to your own requests. If a negotiation does not turn out as desired then some persistence can pay off by showing an employer that you will not step down from your demands.
One more issue to keep in mind when negotiating is when you demand more than a collective agreement’s minimal requirements set by an employer and trade union. When it comes to negotiating a better wage this becomes a greater obstacle; Dr Brigham Frandsen found that average wages fell by 2% to 4% in unionised companies compared to their non-unionised counterparts. The reason for this was that union agreements set a wage ceiling that employees could not exceed. This also led to top-paid employees leaving when they failed to negotiate higher wages. This does not mean every employee should leave their job if they cannot negotiate a deal, but it is important to look at options and alternatives. If a company can offer higher wages, better working conditions, benefits or perks, then it may be worth looking into. The problem with negotiating beyond a collective agreement is that it means arguing to show why you deserve more than your peers and the agreed standards.
Overall, any employee ought to be self-aware of what they deserve in a job, and how best to negotiate with their boss to appeal to their negotiating style and self-interests. Again, a good negotiation needs good planning, clear demands and consideration for the other party’s needs. Only in certain cases should leaving a job be considered as a solution, but it helps to look at all the available options an employee has to improve or make their job life easier. Edward Mah