Effective Negotiation Skills Case Study
You have been working at Hospital Z for the past ten years. You’ve enjoyed a successful and productive career there. Colleagues have been great and you love your work. Your supervisor of seven years, Lois Sun, was supportive and well-connected and you were sorry to see her retire a year ago, though you’ve stayed in regular contact with her. Under her tutelage, you received opportunities to further your career, including involvement in hospital-wide projects and time and funding to take relevant courses to expand your skills. She also allowed you to work from home periodically, which you really appreciated. The feedback you’ve received for all of your work been rewarding.
What a change a year has made. Your new supervisor, Bea Grimm, hails from DC. While undeniably skilled in her role, you (and many others) have found her challenging to work with. She’s demanding, gruff and humorless and you’re amazed that she landed the job–especially since she was in competition with two qualified internal candidates. By watching the tussles some of your colleagues have had with her, you’ve learned to keep a relatively low profile and stay out of trouble. Fortunately, Lois was a respected colleague of hers and spoke highly of you to Bea before she left—so much so that Bea invited you to be a member of the newly-formed and prestigious Quality Assurance Committee. You understand that they are still in touch.
For a number of important reasons, you now need to talk with Bea about a possible change to your schedule. You moved out of the city (the site of Hospital Z) six months ago. Initially delighted to be in a quieter spot closer to your aging parents, you’re now struggling with a significant increase to your commute—something you couldn’t have predicted before your move. A multi-year road construction project began two months ago that has completely destroyed your commute and, without other route options, you are now spending an additional ninety minutes in your car each day. Additionally, your mom’s health has begun to deteriorate and you and your two siblings are trying to provide some coverage in order to protect your parents’ finances.
You want to negotiate a change in your schedule from five eight-hour shifts to four ten-hour shifts. Having one day at home would decrease the stress of your commute and give you the time to support your parents one day a week. No one in your department has ever made this request, though you know it’s been granted elsewhere in the hospital.
You need to talk with Bea and have scheduled a meeting for next week. What do you need to do to get ready for this negotiation?
Written by Melissa Brodrick, HMS/HSDM/HSPH Ombudsperson 164 Longwood Avenue 617-432-4041 firstname.lastname@example.org