Finding success as an employee is about more than just a number on a paycheck. It’s about feeling valued for what you are worth and secure enough to devote your time to your position day after day. This means that you will need to take a few different areas into consideration when making sure you feel satisfied at work, from having the right job perks to negotiating a fair salary.
It also means having the right employment benefits in place to meet your needs and situation. Understanding why, how and what to ask for from your employer can help you build a solid foundation for leaving any negotiation feeling successful.
Negotiating Better Benefits in the Workplace
Many people do not know where to start when it comes to negotiating with their employers to improve their benefits. Some may not even understand why it’s important to do so in the first place. Others want to negotiate better benefits but are either not sure what to ask for or are worried about offending management or human resources.
However, taking the initiative to negotiate your benefits means you could end up with more resources at your disposal, and it can have a significant impact on where you end up in the future. For example, if you’re able to get a raise in your salary now, it’s far more likely that your increased salary will follow you into your next job position when it is time to leave the company. Negotiating for what you want early on can help to shape the lifestyle you truly want to live, both in the workplace and at home.
1. Figure Out What You Need
Negotiating better benefits begins by understanding what you truly want most, from a more flexible work schedule that allows you to do some work from home, to additional paid time off or opportunities to further your training and education.
Take some time to lay out your priorities to make sure you have a solid footing beneath you before taking the idea to a supervisor or human resources manager. Job benefits are largely related to lifestyle and quality of living, so if you would like to take a long vacation or make more time for the family, these could be motivating factors for making specific requests at the negotiating table.
Once you know what you need, you can focus on requesting a one-on-one meeting or appointment with your supervisor(s). Be prepared to present your case by supporting your position and how any absence or involved costs can be made up elsewhere. You’ll have to tailor your approach and pitch based on your job and the benefits you are hoping to get.
2. Negotiate Severance and Relocation Packages
Upon being let go, you may be offered a severance package in exchange for certain terms that your former employer will expect you to abide by.
However, simply because you’ve been offered an initial package, it does not mean you need to agree to it. In fact, you may feel like the severance package is not good enough and want to make a case for why you think you should receive better terms.
You do not have to accept a severance package right away. Tell your supervisor or HR that you’ll be taking the severance offer home to review it, and after you’ve come to terms with your termination on a personal level, prepare to make a counter offer.
Highlight the value of the contributions you have made to the company, including the duration of your tenure and any main accomplishments you can highlight to convince the company to make you a better severance package. Consider any additional benefits as well, such as extending your company health insurance plan or available stock options, with a balanced and reasonable approach.
3. Don’t Forget About Relocation Benefits
If your company wants you to relocate and you are willing to do so, it could open a door for requesting additional benefits or income to handle your needs or the changes involved with relocating.
Since there are costs associated with relocating, it is reasonable to ask for more funds to handle expenses such as renting a storage unit, getting a subsidy for housing or higher costs of living, or travel expenses to visit the new location prior to moving in.
You can also ask for help for your loved ones in your household if they will be forced to spend time and money finding a new job once you arrive at your new destination.
By laying out the benefits the company can gain by helping the transition to go more smoothly, you are more likely to get a positive outcome from negotiations.
4. Negotiate When Starting a New Job
If you are in the process of entering into a new job opportunity or have been given an offer, it is a good time to be direct about what you would like as fair compensation from your future employer.
Prioritizing and asking for your most important conditions before you accept the job is important, as you will lose a lot or most of your leverage once you have already accepted the position. Writing your desired salary and any additional benefits you would like on your application is a great way to make sure your intentions are clearly stated on paper early on.
When negotiating with a future employer, try framing requests as questions (“Are you able to come closer to …?”) rather than making demands in order to include your prospective employer in the process, and work toward a mutual solution that will benefit you both.
Confidence plays an important role, so project your self-worth and make sure you decide ahead of time whether or not you are prepared to walk away from the job offer if certain needs are not met.
5. Keep a Positive Attitude
Do your best to stay positive and professional at all times during negotiations. Be objective and do not allow your emotions to get in the way of having a productive discussion.
With correct planning and preparation, there is a solid chance you can take an attractive or decent job offer and make it even better.
Always spend plenty of time researching and preparing, only taking professional and deliberate action once you are truly serious about negotiating. By doing so, you will place yourself in a better position to act honestly and professionally.
Remaining focused, strategic and direct while also coming across as positive is a great way to discover just how much you can gain through the practice of strong negotiation.