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Five Tips to Help Negotiate More Than Salary with Your Employer

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There’s more to consider with your job than the paycheck nowadays, and to retain good employees, companies must be willing to listen to requests for non-pay benefits, from the ability to work from home, to company matches of employees’ charitable donations, to paid leave for new parents of both genders. In fact, according to employment-focused website Glassdoor, 57 percent of job seekers say they consider job perks just as important as pay.

Companies are taking note. Tech firm Cisco now allows employees five paid days off each year for volunteerism. Scripps Health offers health insurance for cats and dogs. Video game maker Riot Games doesn’t set a limit on paid time off.

Many companies already have non-pay benefits in place. But what if the company you’re considering—or the one where you already work—doesn’t? Learn more about what other employees are asking for and how to negotiate more than salary with your employer.

From Telecommuting to Tuition: What Employees Desire

Surveys done by SCORE, a network of volunteer business mentors, and by Glassdoor, provided a glimpse as to what today’s employees value most. The traditional benefits—health insurance, vacation/paid time and retirement plans—were among the top items on the list, but it also included things that likely weren’t sought a generation ago:

  • Flexible scheduling, including working from home
  • Employee development programs
  • Performance bonus
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Discounts for things such as cellphone plans
  • Paid gym memberships
  • Paid leave for new parents
  • On-site childcare (or financial assistance for it)
  • Transportation assistance, including a company shuttle
  • Stock options

Many of the benefits listed above are aimed at work/life balance, and employers that don’t offer them could find themselves unable to hire top candidates or to retain current employees. Pentegra Retirement Services, in its 2018 Millennial Benefit Trends Report, said that just 50 percent of millennials (which now represent 38 percent of the American workforce, and by 2025, 75 percent) planned to remain with their company a year from now.

For employers, this can be a troubling and costly statistic, as the cost of recruiting, hiring and training an entry-level employee can amount to 50 percent of the annual salary for the position. It rises to 125 percent for a mid-level staff member and more than 200 percent for a senior executive job.

What does this mean for you? With the proper amount of finesse, you have more negotiating power than ever before.

How to Negotiate with Your Boss and Get Positive Results

What are the tools and techniques future and current employees can use to gain some of these sought-after benefits?

1. Negotiate your request after you receive the job offer.

If the offer doesn’t include everything you want, still thank the employer enthusiastically. It’s your starting point for negotiations. Ask for the offer in writing. Such a letter, as well as a summary plan description that outlines benefits, will help you compare it to other offers you might have received, and start preparing your game plan.

Once you have reviewed the offer closely, make a list of what will spur you to take the job, and arrange an appointment to talk to the boss. Be professional in your tone and don’t make it sound as if you have a list of demands. Instead, tell the boss what will make the job the perfect fit for you, and why, such as, “My daughter only has a half-day of school on Friday, so I’d like Fridays as a work-at-home day.”

2. Know your value.

Present your case by outlining your accomplishments. Whether you are applying for a job or negotiating with your current employer, show what you can do in quantifiable terms, such as “Revenues increased by 12 percent over last year in my department” or “My team was No. 1 in the company for customer satisfaction.”

In many workplaces, those results are tied to a bonus or a raise. But instead of asking for money, ask for something more important to you, such as one or two days a week to work at home, plus the ability to work there in the case of a school holiday, snow day or sick child.

3. Do your research.

Prepare an analysis of what other companies in your field offer and show how their benefits differ from your company’s. On your spreadsheet, highlight the difference in benefits, especially the ones most important to you.

If, for example, another company that is recruiting you offers reimbursement for childcare costs and your company (or one you are interviewing with) doesn’t, ask if the company has plans to add such a reimbursement. Since you’re a talented recruit (or a valued employee), the boss could be inclined to go to the executive suite and lobby on your behalf.

4. Explain how your request can help the company.

If you are seeking reimbursement for tuition, or permission to attend a seminar, discuss how your previous education or what you learn will benefit your employer.

What if you want to work from home? That might sound like it benefits only you (not having to face traffic or put on professional attire does sound great) but point out the benefits to the employer. According to research and consulting services firm Global Workplace Analytics, stay-at-home workers can be more productive and help the company save money. They went on to cite companies like American Express, where home-based workers were 43 percent more productive that their in-office colleagues. Use statistics like these to help you build a work-from-home argument.

5. Ask the boss to help your productivity.

This strategy is especially effective if you are asking for an intangible that won’t necessarily cost the company any money but could benefit the business.

For example, as part of your job, you make some very important calls to clients, and the noise surrounding your desk in an open-concept office sounds as if you’re in a call center and not a Fortune 500 company. Explain to the boss that you don’t feel you are representing the company well in your conversations by asking, “Would it be possible to move me into an office? I believe the client would feel much more comfortable with no distractions and no fear of someone overhearing sensitive information.”

Or, you might ask the boss for a change in job title to better reflect your position. Your title is “assistant account manager,” but you find that clients seem hesitant to deal with someone whom they perceive is not in charge or is a junior associate, and that’s keeping you from closing some deals. A good strategy would be to state your concerns this way: “What if we changed my title to senior account manager or account manager? I believe the clients would feel more comfortable.”

Whether you are a promising new graduate, an employee with a few years of experience, or a seasoned veteran, you want to work in a place that values your accomplishments and strives to accommodate your requests. Use these tips to help you to negotiate benefits that will keep you happy for years to come in your workplace.

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CUNA 2023 diamond award trophy icon

CUNA 2023 Diamond Award Winner

Financial Education

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