Ammunition. Power plays. Bluffing. Tactical moves: sometimes workplace negotiations have all the hallmarks of out-and-out warfare.
In planning your next career move, or designing sweeping workplace changes, HR professionals cannot stage a battle by using ultimatums or half-hearted attempts, an HR professional turned author has said.
“Whether we are fighting for additional resources, fighting for a salary increase, a higher bonus, fighting a decision or fighting to save your job, planning a battle at work requires level-headed precision,” Anna Sarelas, HR exec and author of Paint Stop Boom said. According to Sarelas, any HR leader looking to secure victory can take some tips from her battle plan.
Your team are your soldiers. Be good to them. Many a leader has come undone by a knife in their back. And that knife, at such close proximity, can only be at the hand of a trusted soldier. Do not allow grudges to fester. Ensure that you do not foster an environment of grumbling discontent thereby creating a team ready for mutiny. Treat them with respect; with courtesy. Give them the tools for success. Bind them to you with loyalty, not fear.
Rally your troops
The preparation for battle must include a phase in which you rally the troops around you to begin their own preparations; almost ‘psyching’ them up. “For the number of billable hours we are charging, we should be getting a higher package” ;“If they expect us to deliver this project in this timeframe then we need at least two more support staff.” This is an important step because the battle may turn on its head and you will need more people to step up and start shooting ammunition by your side.
Be prepared to lose some
You cannot fight for the sake of fighting, that’s just unprofessional. You have to be prepared to let some battles slide. Lose some of them, and lose some high profile ones if need be. If you are fighting to gain additional resources, then be prepared to accept a lower bonus. Next year you will recoup your losses if the additional headcount increases your profitability margins.
The ground you walk on in the workplace must be as solid as possible. Many directors of companies come crashing down because they were placed in an executive position based on their contacts rather than their employment history. They have’t worked their way up the ladder and as soon as they were up against the wall, their ground collapsed. Earn your way. Stand proud knowing that you have earned your stripes. When you are waging your battle, they will face the task of moving the unmovable.
Bullets of knowledge
Spend as much time as you can on understanding everything there is to know about the company. Understand the relationship between National Admin and the Accounts Team, the software systems that the technicians use, the immigration lawyers’ turnaround times, the server requests made by IT, the scope of the HR department, the trading hours of the call centre, the preferred methodology of the project managers, everything! Not only will you understand the sweet spot to push, but in the middle of the battle, if everything is going against you, you can pull out this knowledge and start firing bullets of information.
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