In most companies today, you should know that a salary is negotiable. Even the HR departments are usually allocated a range of salary that they can offer to a candidate in a particular role.
However, it is important to know that salary is only one of the workplace policies and perks up for discussion. Whether it’s explicitly mentioned, things like maternity or paternal leave, flexible working arrangement, and even the projects you get to work on may not be set in stone.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should start making demands during your first week at the company. However, if you’re a valued long-time employee, or starting a senior position, there is probably a lot more leeway for negotiations.
When you are ready to have a chat with your boss or supervisor, here are 10 things to negotiate instead of salary. Just make sure you get these alternatives in writing.
1. More (paid) vacation time
Life is not all about money. If you have been tasked to work long hours for an extended period of time with no overtime salary, the best alternative is to request for some in-lieu vacation time to recharge and rejuvenate.
2. Work flexibility – option to telecommute
Unless you have a job that requires constant face-to-face communication, there is probably a great amount of work that can be done remotely. Have a conversation with your superior and see if you can work from home a day or two every week. Make sure you assure him that on top of saving money and time on commuting to work, your work output and efficiency will double.
3. Flexible working hours
Let’s face it, not everyone effectively works from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Some might work best early in the morning, others later at night. Depending on the nature of your job, you may have a chance to ask for flexible hours. Ultimately, you will spend the same amount of time working, but your new customized schedule will enable you to produce better quality (and quantity) of work.
4. Exclusive membership perks or access
Is there a professional organization that you can join that will benefit your career? (e.g. engineering, accountancy, etc.) Or is there an airline or exclusive golf club membership which your company has exclusive access? You can consider having a conversation with your employer to foot the bill or give you access to discounts and premium perks.
5. Titles and corporate designations
If a raise in salary or promotion is not an option, you can try asking for a better title. That way you can at least revamp your resume and improve your chances of getting to your next step in your career – if you are thinking of switching companies in the coming months of years.
6. Favourable project or work assignment
Depending on the nature of your job scope and industry, you may want to request to be transferred to a more strategic project that will be beneficial to your professional growth and career progression. If your employer is incapable of paying you the amount you requested, it’s only reasonable to ask to work on a project that invigorates you, assuming your current role is not ideal.
7. Bonus structure and format
Instead of waiting each year for an unknown bonus to pop into your bank account, try negotiating a performance- or time-based bonus structure, so you can know exactly how much you will be getting in the coming year. This will of course depend on the enforcement and policies set by the companies – if your supervisor or manager has the authority to approve such requests.
8. Visibility to company management or leadership
Think about your career on a more long-term basis: Isn’t it always a good thing to be noticed by your company’s senior management? If you are a valued team member and are on good terms with your supervisor, try asking for an opportunity to participate in certain management meetings or facilitate regular meetings with high-level company members. Not only will you gain valuable mntorship, but you will also have the opportunity to get in front of top brass who otherwise may not interact with people at your level.
9. Company equity
This is quite an interesting alternative to receive on top of a conventional monetary benefit. However, it may not apply to all companies. If you are working in a startup with an equity pool allocated to employees, you can certainly ask for more than what they initially offered.
10. Maternal or paternal leave
If starting (or continuing) a family is a remote possibility, you should be aware of your company’s parental leave policy from the get-go — assuming your company has one in place. If the existing policies are not to your liking, try negotiating a parental leave policy that is more in line with what you (and your partner) require.