As the tension in the US labor market intensifies, career professionals may believe they are losing leverage with their employer on key issues such as wages, perks, and benefits.
This isn’t really the case for employees who bring talent and perseverance on the job — and to the negotiating table when striking a deal with new employers.
“There’s more available to negotiation than a potential employee or employer realizes,” Kristin Mackay, founder of Venn Negotiation, told TheStreet in an interview. “In my years of negotiating, I’ve seen people negotiating for annual training, 401k matches, charitable donations, and extra vacation time. That’s not to mention negotiating work location and office times.”
New talent also negotiates perks, including transportation, apartments, cars, closing costs on the home, credit cards, blocking travel points, cards, and more.
“Salary is only one part of the compensation equation,” McKay told TheStreet.
Issues to be negotiated by new employees
Getting the news that you won a good job is an employee’s proud moment. But getting the news you’ve won about wages, perks, and benefits is even sweeter.
“The key to finding a good fit is for both sides to feel like they got a fair deal,” said Amy Zimmerman, chief personnel officer at Relay Payments. Job candidates should be aware of their market value when negotiating. If they make sense, there is a greater chance that they will get what they ask for.”
What items should be a priority for new employees? These eight issues should be on the table, according to the managing partner of the Shapiro Negotiations Institute, Andres Lares.
Signature bonus or bonus based on performance during annual reviews
Home office salaries or reimbursement
Budget for professional development courses or education reimbursement
Additional support in the team
Covering child care expenses
Flexible hours or arrangement
Covering moving expenses
Additional days or days off PTO.
As you address these issues in your job negotiation, think about who you’re trying to persuade.
“Think about who you’re negotiating with/trying to influence,” Larres told TheStreet. “Is it HR or your boss? If you have to discuss this with HR, consider discussing it with your boss first. It might help you influence another department or at least establish the reasons for the request.”
Take these tips to the negotiating table, too, when you’re haggling over job payments and perks.
Write your argument early. Oftentimes, negotiating conversations are tied to emotions, especially when you’re arguing about something in your favour, Laris advised.
“Being emotional can make or break his decision,” he noted. “It is critical to think strategically and write different scenarios to see how you will respond if the argument goes for you or against. By scripting early on, you will avoid any impulsive decisions or responses.
Understand the big picture and other aspects. As you write your argument for the added advantage, keep in mind what the employer will say.
“The ability to feel the feelings of others, along with the ability to imagine what another person is thinking, plays a huge role in the negotiation process,” Lares noted. “Keep in mind what your employer is concerned about. Do they worry that others will start asking for similar benefits?”
Also include the benefits of additional perks. “For example, working from home will allow you more time to get things done without the need for long commute, or a home office salary or reimbursement will allow you to have the items you need to do your job to the best of your ability,” he said.
Negotiate a job description. Make sure the job description matches what you want to do and includes activities that fill in the gaps in your experience.
Basically, that’s what the company agrees to do for you,” McKay said. “The employer’s responsibility to you goes beyond giving you wages. Make sure they develop your skill set as well.”
Negotiate on value, not cost or time. Create a spreadsheet for yourself and estimate the total value of the offer.
“Identify the elements that add the most value to you and the hiring company,” MacKay added. “If you figure out the value equation, you will raise your position and position. You’ll want to avoid negotiating one item at a time and losing value in the process. Everything in the offer is quantifiable to some extent. Find out the math and discuss the assumptions from there.”
Above all, enter into any job negotiations knowing that it is a give and take scenario and not all of your demands will be met.
“Know your numbers and determine the dollar value of each item you order,” Next Level Benefits CEO Lauren Winans said. “This makes you more willing to draw the line with your requests as well as when it comes time to accept the final offer.”
It’s also a good idea to sow some of these seeds with any professional recruiter who works with you. That way, the recruiter won’t be surprised by your counter-offer, Winans said.
Additionally, many companies are more willing to budge on salary or login bonuses rather than waiving benefits.
“So if you can negotiate the salary or bonus to a higher amount equal to the value of the other benefit items you were hoping for, that’s definitely a win,” Winans noted.