We are lucky to work in a time when work benefits equate to more than a retirement plan and some health insurance. While those remain incredibly valuable to your overall compensation at work, you can negotiate all kinds of other unique perks. (Just as you expertly negotiate your salary, of course!) The idea is to think creatively across all of the ways that you add value to the company and that the company can grow you as an employee. These can be incorporated into your existing gig and are especially important to consider before starting out in a new role.
1. Mentorship Opportunities
In the best companies, this conversation will come along naturally as your development progresses. You can, however, jumpstart your learning by asking if your organization would assign you an official mentor, or support your entrance into whatever their formal mentoring program is. This ask shows you’re not only serious about learning, but also gives you the best chance of getting off on the right foot in a new job.
2. Flexible Work Locations
Many offices can accommodate a flexible work location request. Most people hear “flexible location” and think home or a coffee shop, but it can be even easier than that! Sometimes a change of scenery can be as simple as “hot seating” on a different floor or working from another office site. Flexible work locations can benefit you by easing your commute, growing your company network since you’ll meet new people, or just giving you a quiet work space if you’re in an open office.
3. Summer Fridays
A cousin of the flexible work locale, summer Fridays are a treasure. From June through August, most New York offices are ghost towns on this day, staffed only by the skeleton crew who certainly won’t be there next Friday. If you’re not able to more flexibly work from home, ask for a condensed version. A 3pm departure for just a few months of the year can often be easier for bosses to accommodate.
4. Education and Training
As part of your work development, you should always be staying on top of what training or certifications are relevant to your industry. These are the perfect benefits to negotiate for because they are a win-win for you and your company! Strike the right balance on this ask by tying the training to your job. Training that is too unconnected could read like you’re trying to jump ship.
5. Conferences and Industry Events
Bonus points if this includes travel! Again here, research is key. What are the best and brightest in your industry talking about? Go into a benefits discussion with two or three options for industry events or conferences that you could attend, detailed out with cost proposals for your boss’s consideration. Add a few bullets of why your attendance would benefit you and the company, and remind them that you’ll do a polished write-up of the event upon your return.
6. Vacation or a Flexible Schedule
Related to flexing work location, you may find value in switching up your work time. Would a 10am start on Monday make it easier to get your family out the door? Ask for a flex schedule. Also in this category, consider your company’s willingness to let you take vacation days in slightly smaller portions. Sometimes calling it a day at noon is equally refreshing as a full day off!
7. Cross Training In a Dream Job
This benefit can be especially useful if you’re looking to make a career move. If you’ve got room for more on your work plate, query your manager on helping out with a totally different area of the company. Wanting to jump from accounting to journalism? See if you can spend a few hours a week writing an article or two for the communications staff, or putting out a monthly newsletter. You’re adding value as well as adding to your resume.
8. Your Compensation Structure
For jobs that are made up of both a commission and a base rate, you may have some flexibility in that structure. As your expertise in a field grows, you may find that you can get to higher levels of overall compensation if you were willing to take a greater percentage of your pay on the commission side than the guaranteed base. While this can be a little riskier, it’s worth personally considering and negotiating if you are confident in your ability to generate profits for your company.
9. Supplies and Resources
Remote work options mean that you may be able to negotiate a laptop or other tech tools so that you can work from home. Be sure you understand your company’s privacy and media policy so you’re using equipment appropriately in your personal space. Some companies have restrictions around printing at home or logging into your own email on a company computer.
On the less technical front, you may also be able to negotiate a small budget for other start up supplies or job-related resources. Taking on a new leadership role? Ask for a few hundred dollars to build an office-shareable library that pulls together trending books on topics in your industry.