If you’re not happy with your job responsibilities or the work-life balance it offers, there may be other ways to improve your situation. Depending on the circumstances, you can negotiate better work benefits such as additional vacation days, flexible scheduling or even tuition reimbursement. These requests are easier to make than a higher salary because they’re not as directly tied to your performance, says human-resources expert Johnny Taylor Jr.
When negotiating new work benefits, it’s wise to do some research beforehand. You can learn a lot from looking at employee-satisfaction surveys and reading about the most desirable perks at different companies. While you may not be able to get exactly what other companies offer, it can help you figure out what you want and why, which will give you more leverage in your negotiation.
You should also consider the financial value of your current perks. For example, if you’re not getting enough time off to meet your needs, you can calculate how much a week of vacation is worth to you and ask for that amount or more in your compensation package. You can use this same technique when negotiating upgrades for existing company-wide benefits such as health care coverage or 401(k) matching contributions.
If you already have a position with a company, the best time to request additional work benefits is usually several months in advance of your annual review, Frana says. That gives your manager time to add your request to the compensation budget for next year and makes it more likely that they will say yes. Waiting until after your review can backfire, she notes, because your employer may be able to tell you that the money for your requested raise has already been allocated.
During negotiations, you should approach your manager with a list of specific things you’d like to see changed in the workplace. It’s important to focus on a few key items that are the most critical for you, and you should provide detailed rationale for each of them. Explain how your requests can benefit the company and how they will make you a more productive worker.
During the process of requesting better work benefits, it’s important to keep calm and remain respectful. You don’t want to come across as entitled or demanding, especially if you’re a younger worker. Also, avoid bringing up your past experiences at previous jobs unless you have a strong case that they’re relevant to your current situation. Finally, you should always ask for a written agreement once the discussion is complete. This will help prevent misunderstandings and ensure you have documentation that you agreed to certain terms. This will also help you protect your rights should a dispute arise later on. For instance, if the company is not able to give you more vacation days or other benefits, you will have proof that the conversation took place.