Negotiating with Colleagues: Training for Collaborative Human Resources Negotiations

By Lara SanPietroon / Teaching Negotiation

human resources negotiations

Human resources representatives are often involved in a wide array of internal company negotiations, including one-on-one disputes between colleagues as well as inter-department budgeting and overall staffing plans. To deftly handle this wide array of negotiations, human resources representatives must balance the various stakeholder concerns, financial assessments, and competing interests with fairness, consideration for relationships, and sustainable internal company dynamics. Collaborative negotiation approaches help human resources representatives to balance all of these considerations to produce better resolutions. To help train human resources representatives in collaborative negotiation skills, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) has a variety of negotiation simulations which teach collaborative problem solving for human resources professionals.

Multimode, Inc. – Featured Human Resources Simulation 

Multimode, Inc. is a two-party, one-hour, intra-organization negotiation between a company’s financial and human resources officers regarding the amount of a budget increase. T. Boyd, a Vice President of Budget and Finance at Multimode, Inc., (a manufacturing firm) is about to meet J. Arnold, a Vice President of the Human Resource Development Office at Multimode. T. Boyd has formally met with other departments to discuss the upcoming year’s budget as well as expected productivity increases. The maximum allowable budget increase has been set at 5%. In order to implement a new reorganization plan, J. Arnold is requesting an 8% increase. The two are set to meet to negotiate the amount of the increase. Major lessons of this simulation include:

  • The advantages and disadvantages of truthfully revealing bottom lines.
  • The parties presume there is a gap between what one can offer and what the other can accept. In fact, there is an overlap. Their initial perceptions shape their subsequent efforts to probe for information.
  • The degree to which issues other than the percentage increase or cut should come into play is a useful focus for a discussion of good “outcomes”.

Preview a sample Multimode Teacher’s Package to learn more about this simulation.

Trademore Personnel – Featured Human Resources Simulation

Trademore Personnel is a three-person, one-hour, integrative, facilitated negotiation with two department heads and a human resources observer/facilitator regarding the possible transfer of an employee from one department to the other. Major lessons of this simulation include:

  • The importance of strategy in negotiations.
  • The human resources intervenor may or may not choose to play a mediating role, or advocate the interests of the employee. Attempts to mix these two roles however, are likely to fail.
  • The impact of negotiating style and decision making processes.

Preview a sample Trademore Personnel Teacher’s Package to learn more about this simulation.

Designing an Integrated Account System – Featured Human Resources Simulation 

Designing an Integrated Account System is a five-person, four-hour, multi-issue, facilitated negotiation among four managers and a Human Resources facilitator over the design of the company’s new account system. Although the company had grown steadily for 30 years, it began reporting yearly losses five years ago. Unable at first to track its over-spending problems, the company finally discovered major information management deficiencies while re-establishing its Indonesian office. Top officials proposed an integrated account system (IAS) to centralize worldwide information management services. Knowing this company-wide coordination effort would be difficult, the company asked J. Coles to lead the team development effort. The cross-functional team Coles put together includes H. Chung from Manufacturing, M. McKenzie from the Sales Division, and P. Rossi from Finance. Coles asked R. Diaz, human resources development specialist, to act as a facilitator throughout the project, and more specifically, to assist in the first meeting of the group at which some of the operating issues are to be resolved. Major lessons of this simulation include:

  • gathering information about interests and options;
  • packaging agreements across interests that are valued differently;
  • managing a process of agreement through coalition building;
  • practicing the functions and responsibilities of human resource facilitators.

Preview a sample Designing an Integrated Account System Teacher’s Package to learn more about this simulation.

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Take your training to the next level with the TNRC

The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center offers a wide range of effective teaching materials, including

TNRC negotiation exercises and teaching materials are designed for educational purposes. They are used in college classroom settings or corporate training settings; used by mediators and facilitators seeking to introduce their clients to a process or issue; and used by individuals who want to enhance their negotiation skills and knowledge.

Negotiation exercises and role-play simulations introduce participants to new negotiation and dispute resolution tools, techniques and strategies. Our videos, books, case studies, and periodicals are also a helpful way of introducing students to key concepts while addressing the theory and practice of negotiation.

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