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Negotiating Employee Engagement

Jared Bamford
Negotiating Employee Engagement

Scotwork Partner Jared Bamford recently explored the current issue of ‘Quiet Qutting’, a phenomenon that is likely to, if not already, become a key contributor to internal negotiations in the workplace. This week, we are delving into this topic a little further by looking at how managers can be best prepared to tackle this issue when it comes to workplace negotiations... 

The other day I was in a coffee shop listening to my twenty-five-year-old neighbour raving about her boss.   

“He’s created a mother’s room where women can breastfeed at work. He’s organised a Christmas party where we can go car racing. He lets us work from home when we want to. We don’t have to come in at 9:00AM. He trusts us!” she sighed, as she adjusted her active wear, “He matches my values.” 

It’s pretty unlikely in these conditions that my young neighbour, or any zoomer for that matter, is going to consider ‘quiet quitting’. She works hard because she knows she’s noticed. He meets with her each month and asks about her interests and ambitions. He comes into the office regularly or gives her a call to ask how she’s feeling; and she’s thriving.   

So, with the recent increase of ‘quiet quitting’, we have much to learn as employers and how this will affect internal negotiations with employees. Building a culture in workplaces that fosters quality relationships has never been more important than now as skilled workers are hard to find, and employees are voting with their feet.  

Managers also need to understand that one size does not fit all, and when it comes to negotiating with employees, they are going to have to customise their approach to match the value system of the individual. There are at least four generations currently in the workforce and their values will shape the manager’s approach in tailoring their employment package. 

The following guide illustrates some basic differences between generations: 

     Boomers (1946-64) are approaching retirement and are happy to keep working if they can reduce stress and long hours (heavy lifting). They value flexibility and the opportunity to mentor others. 

     Gen X (1965-80) value personal autonomy and are prepared to question the status quo. They can be a valuable source of innovation and catalyst for change. 

     Gen Y (1981-95) value regular feedback and attention from managers. They want to develop their skills through mentorship from more experienced colleagues. 

     Gen Z (1996-present) are interested in their career development and future growth. They value training and career path planning. 

So, when it comes to negotiating with such a diverse range of employees - how do managers balance the needs of the employee against those of the business? 

A skilled manager will understand these differences and rather than see them as a challenge, will treat them as an opportunity to enhance engagement through suitable packaging of benefits. 

Negotiators understand that single issue negotiations are a zero-sum game – that is, both parties cannot win. Therefore, to create value, additional variables must be introduced to the negotiation. These additional variables allow managers to be flexible in the way they reward and compensate staff.  

If you are looking to achieve better outcomes in your internal negotiations, check out our flagship Advancing Negotiation Skills program here. We can help you develop the negotiation skills and techniques to secure win-win negotiation results and establish stronger relationships going forward. 

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