Managers’ guide: Negotiation during performance reviews


A performance review is a systematic and periodic process that allows employers to evaluate employees’ job performance, position and productivity in order to make sure that each member of staff is following the organisational objectives, does its job properly, feels motivated and integrated into the company. At the same time, performance reviews are extremely useful for employees, as they get the chance to negotiate their salary and a possible promotion, supported by evidence of their work and progress.

 As there are times when the interests of the employer and the employee do not coincide, conflict arises during performance reviews. Hence, tactful communication is essential and managers need to be able to handle sensitive situations successfully.

 So, which is the best approach?

performance-review-1The unitarist frame sees conflict as harmful and destructive to interpersonal relationships. In different words, the dimension I’ve discussed about in the previous article, AVOIDING CONFLICT, applies to this case. Could it work? I don’t think so. From a manager’s perspective, avoiding conflict means leaving an issue unsolved, fact that inside a company, can have severe repercussions upon all staff. This scenario could work only in circumstances where management and employee interests coincide.

 The pluralist approach suggests that conflict is inevitable and it totally discards the idea that managers could have the same interests with staff. I find this conflict frame a bit too radical, as during a negotiation flexibility should be essential, but at the same time, theorists claim that two dimensions, “collaboration” and “compromise” work at this stage, as the aim is to reach a mutually convenient outcome, fact that makes it a positive approach for managers.

 The interactionist frame of reference is the one I would recommend during performance imagesreviews. It sees conflict as positive and necessary. In such a context, it should be clear to both sides that conflict and negotiation will be part of the discussion, so acknowledging that is the first step in succeeding. Then, this approach encourages self-criticism, change and innovation, areas that should be explored in any performance review as they generate further development.

At the end of the day, the aim of this discussions, should be to find the best possible to solution in order to keep both the employer and the employee happy, fact that can only be gained by accepting conflict and using it as a tool to achieve progress.

If you want to find out more on this topic, here’s a really useful video :

 What do you think? 


How do you handle conflict?

images (2)Conflict is part of our daily routine.  We live in a highly individualistic society, where strong personalities share views and opinions that often collide and generate debates, as each individual pursues to get the best possible outcome from any situation. The right to freedom of speech and expression allows us to complain, discuss, negotiate, and sometimes fight, in order to carry our point and to alter other behaviours and perspectives.

But how do people react to conflict?  Which are the most common conflict resolution approaches?

There are five dimensions that I am going to focus on and shortly describe to help you identify yourself with one or another:

  • Competing/forcing: At some point, we all come across individuals who tend to imagesimpose their points of view and always get their way, allowing no room for negotiation. This dimension is mostly common among men as it involves a sense of authority and rigidity, and it is quite difficult to handle or work with, especially at the workplace, where flexibility is essential.
  • images (1)Avoiding: Some people tend to avoid conflict, and theorists often link this dimension to women, as they are stereotyped as weaker, less opinionated and diplomatic, but  in my view, this is not an issue of genre; it depends more on cultural background, education and personality. Avoiding confrontation can become as harmful as forcing a point of view, as lack of communication does not solve a conflict: on the contrary, it aggravates it.
  • Compromising: This is a flexible approach where conflict_resolution250Wboth parties reach an agreement quickly and it can be extremely effective at the workplace, when there is no time to negotiate and debate, so finding the middle way is the most appropriate strategy.
  • Accommodating: Trying not to upset the other person. This approach is often encountered among individuals who dislike conflict and would rather give up their own opinions and beliefs in order to avoid confrontation and a possible fight. At the workplace, they enjoy a peaceful atmosphere and they like building close relationships with their co-workers, but in the long term, this approach could lead to internal conflict.
  • resolving_conflictCollaborating: Solving the problem together it’s the most appropriate, but at the same time, challenging dimension. In my view, it requires a great deal of positivity from both sides, which is often hard to find in stressful situations. The “let’s sit down and see how we can solve this issue” approach is an ideal as it often leads to progress, and this is the reason why conflict should exist: to identify, discuss, fix problems and move on.

Which dimension do you belong to? Do you switch styles depending on the situation?