Persuasion Techniques and Employment Relations

Rintu BasuBusiness2 Comments

This article is based around an email I have received about motivating employees to at least discuss and ideally sign their new employee agreements.

How To Motivate Employees With Persuasive Techniques

It gives me the opportunity to unpack some really powerful things about how to motivate people in a commercial setting. So first, here is the email.

From: John

Sent: Tue 06/04/2010 22:59

Hi Rintu,Having read your posts recently and seeing how you use different aspects of persuasion to guide people into performing certain ways, I was wondering how you would tackle the following issue I currently face.

Here in Australia, industrial relations law have recently changed and we have taken the opportunity to update our employment agreements. We have already discussed various areas we would be covering in the agreements and have now given them to staff, asked them to read them and if they don’t understand anything or wish to clarify anything, then to please come to us and we can go through it so they feel comfortable with what the agreement is about.

To date, half have signed and half are yet to return them. I would like to talk to this half that have not yet signed them to see if they have any issues but would also like to talk in such a way that they want to sign them and feel comfortable to sign them. Therefore, I am thinking “What would make them want to sign the agreement and feel comfortable with it”.

As an example, one of the staff members considers himself on par with CFOs of big corporations so one of the things I was going to impress was that “you know, we all sign employment agreements, even in the big corporations and all successful CFOs have had to sign one at some stage and they all recognise that it is simply a step they take to get them higher up the ladder.” This is just one example however if you have any other thoughts or ideas, Rintu, I would love to hear them.



NLP Techniques and Perceptual Positions

John really has got the right idea here because he is looking through the eyes of the employees and finding out what motivates them. The idea he is using with this one employee is a big step towards getting this employee to want to sign. My assumption is that a CFO is still an employee of the company and therefore has to sign an employee agreement as well. If this is the case I would beef up the conversation telling the employee that the CFO has already signed theirs (obviously making sure the CFO has signed already).

For you NLP Jargon Junkies out there what John is using is a technique called perceptual positions and in this form is just about looking at the situation from the employees eyes. The key to motivation in this sort of context is about the quality of the questions you ask.

 NLP Questioning

In this example John has started with a great question. He has looked at this from the employee’s perspective and asked the question, “What is important to the employee?”

The answer he has got back is about being on par with the CFO. John has then linked what he wants the employee to do to what the employee wants i.e. signing the agreement is just like what all successful CFOs have had to do. John could continue doing this for all his employees that have not signed and it will give him some good results. This is the advantage of having a successful Persuasion Process.

Now let’s look at a few other questions and situations that might be worth looking at from the employee’s perspective:

What stops me from signing?

The answer to this might be anything from apathy through to being too busy to read it; they might fear the change or believe that their employment conditions are being eroded. If John senses any of these things might be what is going on with the employee(s) then dealing with some of the issues up front will help them at least discuss the issue. The one that is the most difficult to deal with is apathy, so let’s look at a question that can deal with that.

 What’s in it for me?

People are motivated towards what they want and away from things they don’t want. The pitch that needs to be made to the employees is the positive benefits of signing, or at least discussing it and the negative consequence of not doing these things. The important thing is to look at this from an individual’s perspective and tailor the benefits and consequences to them directly.

For example for one employee they may place some importance on being seen to be efficient and timely with their work. Obviously not dealing with their employee agreement is completely at odds with that self image. Another employee might be worried that their pay and conditions will be eroded with the new agreement, stressing the similarities between the old and new agreements would help them to sign.

Metaprogrammes and Values

Metaprogammes are personality profiling tools used in NLP. They can be used to quickly assess where a subject is coming from in any given context by analysing their language. Combining this with asking a question that elicits values such as, “What’s important to you about (x)?” is a very powerful tool.

John has gone a long way to using these tools without having to resort to NLP Jargon. If you want to explore these personality profiling, motivational and persuasion tools then you might want to consider The Advanced Persuasion Patterns Programme. This course is one of the most comprehensive download course you can get on NLP Persuasion Skills.

2 Comments on “Persuasion Techniques and Employment Relations”

  1. Rintu Basu

    Hi Paul,
    I agree you could just tell them and be consistent in chasing to make sure it gets done. This is sometimes the best approach, particularly with time critical things.

    The issue is that just “forcing” people will quite quickly bread resentment. Often a better approach even when the employee has no choice is to explain, persuade and motivate. This way they sign for their reasons and not just becasue you told them to.

    The benefits of this are that your employees with take more ownership of the task.

    Hope that makes sense to you.


  2. Paul

    Fantastic article! I like all the thorough analysis of employee motivation since I, myself, have staff to manage.

    I agree, the majority that hasn’t signed anything yet, probably just haven’t gotten around to it.

    And the author of the email is projecting scenarios of what the CFO is thinking / will say before even reminding him to sign. “Billy Bob, do you have that signed agreement yet?”

    if you tread lightly and beat around the bush with the signed copy, people will get suspicious.

    And that begs the question, why should I as the owner of the company have to motivate them to sign an updated agreement to which they already signed?

    This is assuming its not asking them for anything more or to get more productivity out of them.

    They are employees and need to sign it, punto e basta – no motivation necessary

    Why can’t this company just say “hey, laws are changed, so we have to update the agreements. Please sign and hand it in.”

    Then chase down and bug the later comers to sign it…you don’t have to be rude, but just gently persistent.

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