Are you a millennial/Gen Z-er and you’re realizing that adulting sucks? Well, you’re here now, and amongst friends. Did you also realize that once you hit 30, everything hurts? Plus, if the pandemic has taught us anything is the importance of self care. You need to work to live and benefits are important. Whether you want to audit your current employer’s benefits package or looking for a new job; these are 15 benefits to negotiate besides salary you should look for your employer to have.
Now before we start, please be aware that there’s a difference between benefits and perks. Benefits are likely to be outlined in your offer letter and contract, where as perks are just nice to haves. Think of benefits like the things you really need, and perks are the things you want, but would be just fine without. So those chips and free lunches every week in office... that would fall into the perk category. That dental insurance and sign on bonus... definite benefits baby!
Rule of thumb, you should focus on benefits because those will impact you for the long term and way more than dress down jean Fridays. Perks are less costly for the company and what sets them apart. They can enhance company culture and employee engagement but should be looked at as optional and not a selling point of why you should work there. With this knowledge, lets jump right into the 15 benefits you should negotiate besides salary.
Whether you plan on building tenure at this company or want the experience in the role to beef up your resume, talking about what your actual job title is relevant. Going over what your day to day looks like and modifying based on your place in the company lets others know the type of work that you do. Words like “junior” and “senior” denote the level of experience you have too.
I know, believe me, I do. We have it ingrained to not take breaks; breaks are for retirement! But if your savings allows it, don’t be afraid to take a week or two between switching companies. Also, give yourself enough time at your current employer to find a replacement and/or to train them. Talking about a date that is mutually beneficial to you and your new company is a must. Starting ASAP is a choice, not an obligation.
It’s all the rage, unlimited PTO! There are some caveats with it, depending on department size, there has to be coverage. But if the company you’re eyeing doesn’t have it, don’t be deterred. First, what is the vibe of the company’s culture? Do they value a good work/life balance? Now, this shouldn’t be the first question out the gate and you don’t want the question to come off as demanding. You can pose the question “is there any flexibility with the personal day policy? Do you offer any mental health days?”
If you’re planning on expanding your family, this is a huge consideration to think about. It’s well known that bonding time is needed, not only for mothers but fathers too. Even if the allotted maternity/paternity leave days aren’t what’s expected. It’s not bad to ask what has been some employees’ experience at the company that went on leave. What is their typical time out and how were they able to take more time if they needed? Do your research and overestimate how much time you think you need.
Planning for the future isn’t always in the forefront of our minds. But where do you see yourself in 40 years? Do you picture having a life of ease in retirement or working continuously to live? Hopefully, it’s the former and ask about your 401k options. Most employers match 3-6% of your contribution. There are some that go as high as 10%. Now that’s an investment! For more information about how to plan for retirement, contributions to your 401k, and the other benefits of contributing into various savings accounts here.
Child care is expensive, this is a well known fact. At the start of the pandemic, many employers are asking for workers to come back to the office or at least adopt a hybrid work schedule. Pay attention to employers offering help on child care. Sometimes it's in the form of reimbursement or using a Flexible Spending Account to cover the cost.
Big Money Joe has not come through for some of us. Okay, let’s be real… most of us. And Sallie girl still has our accounts on the books. Some employers do offer help depending on the field of work. And many employers offer tuition reimbursement for continuing your education so you can avoid taking out any more student loans. There are some caveats, so if this is something of interest be sure to ask what degree or classes are covered.
Depending on the company’s field and scope of work, they may not have a strict work schedule. Many are offering 4 day work weeks and there’s definitely more flexibility with remote work. But if you do have to go on site or hybrid, having a schedule that’s not the typical 9-5 can help with rush hour. Again this a point to bring up and how invaluable this is to your work/life balance. Maybe having a later start time due to your children’s schedule, or having an earlier start because you’re more productive when it’s quiet.
This has been a huge incentive for employers as well. Healthier employees means less doctor visits. It’s not just about the physical, but employers have started to realize the importance of mental health.
Depending on your city and where the office is located, employers have offered to cover partial to full transit costs or parking. This is money in your pocket and a huge expense that you don’t have to worry about.
WFH jobs are on the rise and many are offering a stipend for set up. Most are a one time payout to buy the needed items for an office setup at home. Others are to cover a shared space setup. Depends on the company being 100% remote or just having it an option. Many are covering internet and/or personal phone costs.
Way back when, I used to have Verizon and my employer at the time gave me a discount on my phone bill. If you know Verizon, they charge an arm, a leg, and 3 toes nails for their service. This isn’t anything new, most companies offer this. However, when they have some SWEET partnerships that is a great perk!
When you sign that offer letter, you envision it’s for the long haul. Then once you start working and see how the company runs you may start to see yourself in a higher role. A place that offers career development is a huge green flag. That means they promote from within, they have a great employee retention, and they’re taking the time to grow your skills.
If you do a great job, you’d want more than a pat on the back! Go over the company’s annual review and bonus structure. Since that may play a part in your annual salary. Knowing what you’re getting into and how the job’s compensation evolves the longer your tenure is. And again, if an area is lacking in other benefits, negotiating a sign on bonus can help.
Lastly, equity benefits may not have seemed tangible at first. It is a risk if the benefit is reaped from tenure. You get paid on your shares based on the company’s success. A lot of startup fintech’s are offering this. Again, this is something to consider when stacked up against other benefits that mean more to you. But this is food for thought, Microsoft and Amazon were startups at one time. People that got in on the ground floor are getting that coin!
When we go to interviews, we’re so nervous as to whether the employer will like us. Will they see your potential and take a chance on you? But it’s a two way street and we have to rewire our brains to think about that. Looking at what a company has to offer their employees says alot about how much they care. If there’s an area where benefit/perk is lacking, bring up whether they can compensate in another area. When a company takes care of its workers, they're there to stay; retention is a big flag to look for. Interviews are a two way street!