The words “compensation” and “salary” are often used interchangeably, as if they are synonyms, but that isn’t the case at all. It’s important to remember (particularly during negotiations) that salary is just one aspect, one part, of the compensation you’ll receive from your employer.
(Photo Credit: Mike (Dakinewavamon) Kline/Flickr)
In fact, when it comes time to negotiate with a prospective employer, honing in on things other than your future salary could really pay off. Direct monetary compensation (in the form of salaries) tend to be more fixed than other aspects of your employment package, and could be tougher to negotiate. You might have more luck focusing in on something else. And in the end, you might be really glad that you did.
Here are a few things to consider focusing on, other than salary, during your next negotiation.
1. Consider an i-deal.
Idiosyncratic deals, or i-deals, are informal arrangements worked out between employers and employees that give workers certain perks (often related to increased flexibility) that are custom built for them. You might be more successful at securing this kind of arrangement once you’ve worked for a company for awhile, but it could be worth mentioning the specific things you’re looking for right off the bat.
On the topic of i-deals, the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology declares, “Job crafting and i-deal negotiation provides workers with ways to make their jobs more intrinsically motivating and satisfying – with potentially positive effects on job performance.”
Victoria Pychon, co-founder of SheNegotiates, recommends asking for an earlier performance review, after 90 days or six months, in order to have the chance to revisit your package. When salary negotiations reach a standstill, this strategy gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your value to the company – in essence, the time to prove yourself – and then talk salary.
3. Consider vacation time.
Vacations make you happier, healthier, and even more productive at work upon your return. Still, too many Americans don’t take their vacation time. Buck the trend. Negotiating for more time off, and actually using it, will be a perk you’ll profoundly enjoy and appreciate down the road.
4. Don’t forget bonuses, stock options, and reimbursement for expenses.
Salary is just one aspect of the monetary compensation you receive from your employer. Bonuses, stock options, and reimbursements for expenses can go a long way toward sweetening the deal. In fact, these variables can impact your compensation so significantly that a lower salary, with these compensations included, might be a better option than a higher salary without them. Remember to negotiate the factors and conditions of these compensations just as carefully as you would your salary.
5. Work on the option to (at least sometimes) telecommute.
Working from home comes with its own set of challenges, but the flexibility it offers is tough to beat. Studies show that spending more time with family not only makes you happier, but it can also make you more successful. Spending a couple of days a week, or even just a few each month, working from home should help you spend at least a little more time with friends and family. Chances are, you’ll be glad you spent some time during negotiations on this piece as time goes on.
Tell Us What You Think
When negotiating a new job, what aspects of compensation do you focus on other than salary? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.