How To Negotiate With Millennials

Why does it seems as though millennials are so different from everyone else?
Why does it seems as though millennials are so different from everyone else?
Image Credit: CommScope

In the world of negotiating, there are a lot of different challenges that we all face. What many of us are discovering is that one of the biggest challenges that we are having to face happens when we have to negotiate with millennials. In comparison to the baby boomers or the Generation Xers who followed, many members of the Millennial Generation – people born after 1981 who have been entering the workforce since 2000 — seem to approach work life with a sense of entitlement, a craving for praise, and an expectation that they will ascend the organizational ladder quickly. How are we supposed to deal with these people?

We Need To Educate Ourselves About Generational Differences And Trends

More-seasoned negotiators are sometimes taken off-guard by millennials. For example, efforts by some firms to slow the attrition rates of young workers by raising base pay and increasing bonuses have had little impact. In response, some firms have unveiled new plans for keeping Millennials satisfied. These range from things like “happiness committees” that offer candy apples and milkshakes to concerted efforts by senior managers to thank and commend team members for their hard work.

What all of us need to keep in mind is that negotiating with Millennials can be challenging; however, keep in mind that this generation of workers is a highly motivated, creative, and fast-thinking group. We need to understand that the key to dealing with them is to understand that they’ve been raised to expect a workplace that is worker-focused, transparent, and collaborative.

We can assume that most employees would prefer more money and benefits rather than less; however, many Millennials prioritize their interests differently. For example, millennials may be more likely to value autonomy and flexibility in the workplace than their predecessors. While they may be inwardly respectful of experience, Millennials may not defer immediately to authority and may respond more favorably to a less-formal workplace. Before you make assumptions about their interests, take time to inquire about what matters most to the younger staffers.

Find Ways To Increase Transparency

In line with research extolling the value of individual participation in decision-making processes, Millennials will be more inclined to respond cooperatively to decisions, even unfavorable ones, if they’ve been consulted as part of a transparent decision making process. Since they’ve been raised to believe that their views matter, they respond negatively to decisions made without broad consultation. When you are negotiating with them, focus on being open and clear in your communications. In order to bolster the legitimacy of your decisions and convey the respect that Millennials require, take time to describe the reasoning behind your thinking.

Work To Address Problems Jointly

When you are negotiating with Millennials, stress the value of working together to find solutions to tough problems. In addition to appealing to the Millennials’ desire for inclusion and autonomy, this approach can generate options you wouldn’t have come up with on your own.

By taking the time to learn what the Millennials’ interests are, increasing transparency, and including them in the problem-solving process, you will increase productivity, prolong job satisfaction, and create better intergenerational business relationships.

What All Of This Means For You

As though negotiators didn’t already have enough on their plate, now we have to learn how to deal with millennials. The reason that this is so important is that it turns out that millennials are different from the generations that have come before them. What this means for us is that we need how to negotiate with this new generation.

The first thing that we need to realize is that the millennials are different from us. Firms are trying to introduce new programs to deal with millennials needs. The good news is that millennials are creative and fast-thinking. Millennials have different priorities: they value autonomy and flexibility above many other things. Transparency in how decisions are being made is critical to millennials. The key to successfully negotiating with millennials is to work together with them to jointly address problems.

The millennial generation represents the next wave. We don’t really have a choice – we need to learn how best to negotiate with them. They view the world differently than we do and it’s our responsibility to change our views in order to make them line up with those of the millennials. The good news is that it is clear what we need to do. Now all we have to do it make these changes and then we’ll both be speaking the same language.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that including millennials on your negotiating team would be important when negotiating with millennials?

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For most of us, negotiating is all about winning. That’s the goal. When we are negotiating we have a set of goals that we are trying to use our negotiation styles and negotiating techniques to achieve and if we are able to achieve them, then we believe that we will feel as though we have been successful. Where things can get a bit strange is if we are successful in a negotiation, but we end up feeling as though we actually were not successful. What’s going on here?

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