Negotiating Benefits Later in Your Career

One of the first things you should do when you accept a new job offer is negotiate the benefits that come along with your salary. Even if your salary is substantial, poor benefits can have a big impact. Fast forward to a couple years later in your career. Do you find yourself wishing you had asked for more or better benefits when you started? It’s not too late to ask! 

As you spend more time at your job, you might begin to realize there are other benefits that are important to you. While asking for salary raises is important to do as you spend more and more time at a company, it’s also important to make sure you have adequate benefits.

Here are a few benefits you may want to negotiate:

Additional PTO / Vacation

With work/life balance shifting in recent years due to technology and the ease of connectivity, it’s not uncommon for hard workers to get burnt out. This is why negotiating more vacation time is important. Self-care is often neglected and it really shouldn’t be! Taking a few extra days for yourself can be refreshing and leave you coming back to work with a renewed outlook and energy to hit the ground running.

401(K) Match

It’s never too early to begin thinking about retirement! Since many companies have stopped offering pension plans, a 401(K) match can be a very valuable way for business to contribute to an employee’s retirement. According to SHRM, dollar-for-dollar is the most common match. As of 2015, 42 percent of companies were matching dollar-for-dollar. When negotiating a higher 401(K) match from your employer, do your research first. Coming into a meeting with recommendations after doing research on your own 401(K) will make it easier on your boss.

Wellness Programs

Even if your company has top healthcare insurance offerings, there still might be more you can negotiate in regard to your health. Wellness programs are becoming more popular. Have you ever thought of asking your company to pay for your gym membership, or at least a portion of it? Some companies will do so as long as you go to the gym a certain number of times a month. Another option is that your company might be able to lower your health insurance premium if you agree to take a health assessment. If you have some unhealthy habits, consider asking your employer if they will help finance for a program that would help you: for example, a program to help you quit smoking, or a weight loss program.  

Schedule Flexibility

Flexibility in your work schedule might be something that your employer would be willing to compromise on. Are there certain reasons why working from home part-time or adjusting your hours here and there would be helpful for you? Decide what those reasons are. Are you needed at home? Would you save time by not commuting every day? If you wish to work from home, assure your boss that you can be productive while telecommuting. Do you need to leave early to pick up a child from school? Make sure you come to your boss with a developed plan of how you will adjust your hours to fit your schedule but be working all the necessary hours.

Commuter Perks

Do you have a long commute to the office? Record your mileage and ask your boss if they would consider any compensation for your travel. This could be gas money, toll reimbursement, or a parking stipend if your office doesn’t offer free parking. If you live in a bigger city, your employer might be able to offset public transit costs.  

Professional Development Programs

Building your skillset for your career can be costly, depending on what route you’re trying to take. There are companies that work professional development into their budgets. Take a look at what is available for your industry. It could be a class, conference, training or even tuition reimbursement for grad school. If you find something that relates to what you do and would help you do your job better, outline the reasons why it would be beneficial, not only for you, but for your company as well. This is especially true if you are taking on more responsibility or building a team. Leadership training and personal development are reasonable requests as you progress in your career.

If your boss decides to go for one or more of your proposals, make sure you get your agreement in writing. You don’t want what you negotiate with your boss to be forgotten over time or miscommunicated. If any adjustments are made, state them in a letter or contract. Access to sufficient benefits is important to long-term job satisfaction. Keep these negotiable benefits when evaluating your options.