There are many approaches to business negotiation training, but few which seemed to hit the mark and meet the unique needs of the practitioners in the H&S field. As a result, we developed a curriculum for H&S professionals to learn the skills to conduct effective Negotiations. The curriculum focuses on a negotiation process that is both scientific and quantifiable. There is also a strong emphasis on organizational relationship building as well as techniques for using "power" during the various negotiation steps. This paper presents the highlights of what we have learned in developing these H&S Negotiation seminars.

Why Should H&S Professional Learn to Negotiate?

We all negotiate and we do it quite often! Whenever there is a conflict then two or more parties must find ways to resolve that conflict to find resolution. The goal is to find satisfying resolutions to meet the needs of all parties involved. Without mutual agreement the negotiation process gets stalled or just plain stops.

There are no shortage of disputes in managing the practice of health and safety. Disputes range across a broad spectrum. H&S managers face conflicts trying to gain support and resources from senior management; trying to get other managers to change operational priorities; striving to get workers to use safety equipment; meeting with regulators to influence regulation or reduce penalties; and working with vendors and consultants to provide goods and services. Every one of these scenarios presents opportunities to negotiate.

You must have a belief that a successful career in H&S requires one to successfully negotiate. Successful negotiation requires effort to learn the skills of the negotiation process so success is not left up to chance or good luck.

Current Academic Negotiation Training

There are a number of university programs dedicated to the "science" of the negotiation process. Oneof the better-known strategies and approaches was developed and refined at the Harvard Negotiation Roundtable. This approach focuses on the premise that negotiations should never be zero-sum exercises where one party claims value at the expense of the other. They are instead opportunities for both or all parties to create value so the combined outcome (the sum of everything each party gained at the end of the negotiation process) is greater than if just one party or the other got everything that they wanted. Creating value not only increases the total value of the combined outcomes but also gives each party more options to evaluate and value which will increase the chance for getting satisfying resolutions for all.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.