How to Negotiate Job Benefits When a Raise Isn’t Happening
There was a time when raises were a regular part of staying at a job. Employees didn’t even have to ask for them. Companies simply gave out regular raises to keep up with inflation. Today, it can feel like one has to fight tooth and nail to get even the smallest of raises. Doing a good job and being loyal to a company isn’t enough. Research has found that, while inflation has increased tremendously over the decades, wages have barely budged. How are employees supposed to keep up with the ever-rising cost of living when employers won’t provide salaries that reflect it?
If you’ve approached your current employer about a raise and received a firm, “No,” or you’re negotiating a new job offer where your desired salary isn’t on the table, you do have options. There are many benefits that are just as good as a higher salary — if not better. You just have to know what they are and how to present the possibility of these to an employer.
Here are the most rewarding job benefits to ask for if you can’t get a raise, along with how to ask for them.
Research has found that employees are increasingly enjoying working from home, and many have chosen to do so even after offices re-opened following the pandemic.
Working from home can allow for more time with your family. It eliminates the need for a tiresome and lengthy commute. It also allows full access to your kitchen and other comforts throughout the workday.
How to Ask for Work-From-Home Days
Some employers fret that productivity goes down when employees work from home. Tell your employer that systems will be in place to ensure productivity. Think regular check-in calls and remaining active on communication platforms like Slack or Google Hangouts.
This can be done on a trial basis, during which time you can prove that you’re capable of working efficiently from home.
The 9-to-5 schedule is rather arbitrary and going extinct in many industries. For many jobs, all that matters is that you finish your work on time — not the exact hours that the work occurred.
Perhaps you could experience better work-life balance if you had flexible hours that would allow you to leave early to pick up your kids from school or beat traffic on a Friday afternoon.
How to Ask for Flexible Hours
Show your boss that you have a history of meeting deadlines, so you can be trusted with flexible hours. Create a spreadsheet of every deadline you have met, highlighting the times you finished work ahead of time.
You could also suggest doing this on a trial basis to see how it goes.
If your company will not give you a raise, it could possibly contribute to your education, so you can learn skills that would qualify you for higher-paying positions.
This could come in the form of an education stipend, or your company might get discounts at certain educational institutions.
How to Ask for Paid Training
Explain to your employer that the entire company will benefit from you having more skills. The more certifications and knowledge you have, the less the company has to hire outside freelancers for smaller projects.
Keeping work within the current employee base of individuals who know the company well is the most efficient way to do things. Having highly skilled employees allows for that to happen.
Studies have found that the majority of families state that childcare is more expensive and more difficult to find since the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are a two-income household with both parents working, childcare is a necessary expense.
Should your employer fail to provide you with higher pay, they might offer you a childcare stipend. Some companies have childcare facilities on site and could provide you discounted or complimentary childcare.
How to Ask for a Childcare Stipend
Inform your employer that, when quality childcare is squared away, you can be available for more projects and take on a more proactive role at work.
You could also get other parents in the office to petition to have company-wide childcare stipends.
While your job might not be able to pay your desired salary for your current position, they could consider you for higher positions down the line. And they should.
Research shows that only 29 percent of employees are happy with the career advancement opportunities offered by their workplace.
How to Ask for Career-Development Opportunities
Ask your employer to guarantee semi-regular meetings, during which you can discuss possible career advancements. Decide on a schedule — for example, twice a year — when your boss will explore opportunities for promoting you.
Explain to them that this arrangement will motivate you to thrive in your current role and encourage company loyalty.
Extra Paid Time Off
Companies should come around to the importance of vacation days for their employees. While they might believe it cuts productivity, it actually boosts it in the long term. In fact, studies show that employee productivity and morale go up after a vacation.
If your boss cannot give you higher pay, negotiating for additional paid time off is an inverted way of getting more pay. Why? Because you’re working less time for the same pay.
How to Ask for Extra Paid Time Off
Be prepared to share research with your employer on the overall ways a company benefits from having well-rested employees.
Assure them that you will finish necessary tasks before leaving for vacation, and you will work with the company schedule to make sure vacations do not interfere with important projects.
A Mentorship Program
Mentors can be incredible assets. They can give you a well-rounded look at how to move ahead in your industry, with real, actionable steps to take and valuable feedback on how you're doing.
However, identifying a good mentor who actually wants a mentee can be tough.
How to Ask for a Mentorship Program
Ask your company to implement a mentorship program, through which higher-ups at the company mentor employees at your level, guiding them toward career advancement.
Should they need convincing, tell your employer that research shows companies with good employee engagement are 21 percent more profitable. A mentorship program would greatly boost employee engagement.
Depending on the size and reputation of your company, they could receive significant benefits at major retailers around the country. From mattress companies to internet service providers to car manufacturers, there are a variety of products and services your company might receive discounts for.
If they can’t give you your desired pay, they can supplement that lost income by offering you their employee discounts. Those savings can add up — perhaps to the amount of money you were hoping for in a raise.
How to Ask for Company Discounts
Explain to your employer that this is a no-cost way for them to help you bridge the gap in your finances.
You can also tell them that having a good corporate culture can result in a more than 600 percent increase in revenue, and creating employee discount opportunities helps create a good corporate culture.
Student Loan Repayment
The average monthly student loan payment in the U.S. is $460, according to research. Having an employer offer a student loan repayment plan can be tremendously beneficial.
There are many ways to do this. Your employer can pay your lender directly, or they can pay you. Some employers will match what you pay each month. Others offer a swap program, in which you swap out one benefit for student loan repayment. For example, if you don’t need the supplied childcare stipend, you can ask to swap that out in exchange for a student loan repayment.
How to Ask for Student Loan Repayment
Discuss with your employer what would be the best way for them to aid you in your student loan payments.
Be open to collaboration and determining the way that creates the least burden on your employer, while still helping you reach your desired bottom line.
Commuting to and from work really adds up. Even before the crisis in Ukraine, gas costs were on the rise, with AAA reporting a $3.30 to $3.50 per-gallon average in America and over $5 for some regions.
While you can write off some of your commuter expenses in your taxes, those savings are not significant.
How to Ask for Commuter Stipend
Ask your employer for a commuter stipend in the form of a monthly addition to your wages, a gas card, a parking pass or a combination of these.
If they do not want to give you one, then that is the perfect time to discuss more work-from-home days.
Does it look like your company is going places? Ask for stock options.
This is another no-cost way for a company to pay you more in the long run.
How to Ask for Stock Options
You can tell your employer that you will feel highly incentivized to make this a successful company if you have stock options.
Explain that stock options also make for more employee loyalty, as you’ll want to stick around to see how the company you’ve invested in grows and develops.
Access to Facilities
Your company might have several facilities, including a gym, a community workspace or even a parking garage in an area that’s notoriously hard to park in.
Not having to pay for a gym membership, rented office space or parking can result in tremendous savings.
How to Ask for Access to Facilities
If your company is already paying for these facilities, then tell them that simply giving you access is a cost-free way for them to make up for a less-than-desirable salary. You could run some calculations and present them with the dollar amount you already pay out of pocket for such services.
This is a good way to show them the savings they could offer you, which could make up for the lower salary.
The average paid maternity leave time in the U.S. is 12 weeks. However, the U.S. is notoriously behind on paid parental time off, with other countries taking substantially longer leave to be with the new additions to their families.
If you do plan on having a child or expanding your existing family, negotiating for extended parental leave is something you’ll thank yourself for later.
How to Ask for Parental Leave
Explain to your employer that, if you can have extra time with your newborn, you will feel more at ease about their wellbeing when you return to work.
This, in turn, will make you more focused.
While your employer might not be able to commit to a raise, perhaps they can commit to regular bonuses.
There might be milestones that make you eligible, like working a certain number of overtime hours or attending a certain number of conventions on behalf of the company. These bonuses create a nice guaranteed bump to your pay.
How to Ask for Regular Bonuses
You can tell your employer that the benefit of a bonus is that it doesn’t require them to commit to any given salary.
Bonuses can also be evaluated and re-negotiated regularly to land on a number that is comfortable for all parties.
Depending on your field of work, you might spend a lot of money on equipment. Perhaps you need a special computer, software or other products to do your job. Ask that your company provide those so that you do not need to put extra wear and tear on your own equipment to do your work.
You might also ask for things like extended warranties on products or access to a complimentary or discounted repairs program.
How to Ask for Work Equipment
Remind your employer that having up-to-date and smooth-running equipment helps you be a more productive employee.
Faulty or slow equipment causes holdups in your work, which can immobilize the workflow of your colleagues or anyone who relies on you.