When we first enter the workforce, we are just happy to have an offer. But as we continue to gain responsibility and experience, we realize there’s much more we can ask for upfront. Outlining what those needs are before you start can create a more balanced work dynamic (or least tip the compensation scale in our favor). Make this list part of your negotiation process. Ask for the sky; you may just get it.
Let’s start with the most important but possibly career-altering ask, negotiating for a more senior-level title. It’s not always possible, but it’s an obvious way to create non-monetary value for yourself. You may not get a salary increase, but this title may be valuable later at this or another company.
Make sure to outline what you have done in your previous job experiences to deserve a change in title. Research what you have to offer consistent with the company’s future plans. If you get rejected, ask about the process for getting to the title you want down the road.
BONUS, INCENTIVES, AND OPTIONS FOR EXECUTIVES AND START-UPS
Performance Incentives - Incentives are reward systems that tie pay to performance. There are many incentives used by companies, some tying pay to individual performance, and some to companywide performance. Don’t assume that the quantity and timing of payouts of the Incentives are set in stone. Review each part of the reward system and tweak them to your advantage.
If your compensation offer is less than you were looking for, consider requesting quarterly performance incentives followed by an early salary review to get your compensation level to where you want it to be.
Signing on and Exiting – Make sure you review your signing bonus and exit package line by line. Consider using our Negotiation Services and work with our compensation legal experts to make sure you get the best offer and severance package NOW before you sign on. Recently a client was told after 12 years with a company that his position was being eliminated. “I wish I had looked more closely at the details of my severance. The package will only pay me six months of my base salary but does not include my bonus. My bonus is the majority of my paycheck.”
Long-Term Options – Know what the stock, shares, and equity options are in the company and the vesting schedule for those shares. Can you get additional equity grants after you start work or a cash delivery that invests as stock options do? If the offer comes with equity, find out what it is worth and what percentage of that value the company is equating to. Here’s a good reference site for more information https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/how-companys-stock-price-and-market-cap-determined/ or speak to one of our experts to help you navigate the nuances of your offer.
Annual Bonus – Don’t just accept that you will receive a bonus; negotiate how much and the terms. You can also ask the potential employer to pay out the bonus you are leaving on the table at your current position. Often, companies are willing to make you whole and will pay your upcoming bonus if it means you can start immediately.
LEAVE, VACATION, AND OTHER DAYS OUT OF THE OFFICE
Most companies offer a basic vacation package but don’t be afraid to ask for more if the amount does not seem adequate. Before you sign the dotted line, think through any upcoming holidays, or special days that are important to you. Companies often support summer Fridays, so go ahead and ask if it’s important to you.
Religious Observance: I learned from my friends of faith that they always outline religious days that are not negotiable. These should not be included in total vacation days.
Family Leave: A very important and much-talked-about topic is how a company approaches paid maternity/paternity leave. Know their policy in advance and do not be afraid to ask. Glassdoor released a list of the top 15 companies with Best Parent Leave. Fairy Godboss has an ongoing list of 180 companies that offer at least 16 weeks of leave.
As the US population ages, more workers are bearing responsibilities for family members with a serious illness or disability. FMLA may apply when your work demands collide with family responsibilities. This is not just for a spouse’s illness but caring for an elder parent, too. Ask about “caregiver-friendly” policies like access to paid family leave and paid sick days.
Childcare – Executives may be expected to accommodate a heavy travel schedule. It’s possible to request benefits to cover expenses for a Nanny to travel with you.
Flexible Schedule – The future of the workforce is flexibility. Companies will want a nimble talent pool with contracted employees making up the bulk of their staff. Employees can regain some power balance by adapting their work hours to fit a demanding work schedule. Ask about your company’s ability to accommodate school or daycare drop off, important family commitments, and space for healthy and creative endeavors.
Side Hustles – Part of creating a work/life balance is our ability to integrate outside activities in our day. Ask about permission to commit to extracurricular activities like board roles, volunteer work, or a personal business venture not related to your industry or that does not compete with your work.
Social Membership Fees – If you enjoy membership to private social clubs like Soho House and Chief, you can request that this is covered too. Ask about fitness and health benefits, like FoundersCard Plus gym memberships and wellness programs.
Professional Membership Sponsorship – If you hold professional memberships, ask the potential employer to pay the annual membership or conference fees for your professional associations, like PRSA, WICT, WITI, etc.
Patronage - If you’re a keen supporter of the arts, you can ask for your patronage to be part of your package. We have a WAGER supporter that receives $10,000 a year to the charity of his choice. He gets to support a cause he cares about, and the company gets the tax benefit and the positive media around their giving policy.
Working Remotely – For many, this request can make or break a job offer. An ability to work a day or two remotely, or be completely remote is a MUST ask. One way to approach this topic is by first doing your homework thoroughly. Is someone in your network familiar with the office culture at the prospective employer? Is this not advertised but is generally understood as an option? Some companies state this policy upfront, other companies like employees to work for a few months before the new employee works from home. Most importantly, if it’s a “must-have,” do your diligence and then ask. Just ASK!
Tech Support – If you are working remotely or are often out of the office, you can ask for a phone and its contract to be covered by your employer. Also, you can and should ask for a computer and its accessories, headset, extra chargers, etc.
Education Support – Ask about tuition reimbursement or student loan matching to attend graduate school classes in your job function. If it’s possible, see if you can get a graduate degree! This includes your ability to take days off for career development. If the company is small and doesn’t offer much for education, it’s okay to ask if you can seek it externally.
Support for further education is essential as it helps you continue growth and development at the company. Certifications like PHR and SHRM certificates only cost a few hundred dollars but add value to the business and confidence to the role you may be taking on. This may also include a budget to attend conferences or continuing education training as part of the job.
For start-ups and smaller companies, budgets may not be as robust as those in larger organizations, but educational support can still be feasible. It adds great value for both the business and the candidate. This ties in nicely with requesting sponsorship for professional memberships.
Relocation Expenses – The most significant expense to you and your family in the job process will be to relocate. Find out what the employer includes in a relocation package. Ask about movers’ fees, assistance with selling and buying a house, and help with finding or paying for new schools for your family. Yes, some companies will help you find and pay for your child’s new school if the changes are due to a major relocation.
Travel – As you move up the executive chain, travel will become part of your responsibilities. There are many aspects you should consider. Always remember, if you are doing work and you are away, your company needs to pay.
Business Class – If you will fly often and internationally, stipulate your preference for upgraded flight accommodations.
Car Payments or Upkeep – If you will use your car for work, you can request maintenance and upkeep to be covered. Companies will also purchase or lease a car if it is necessary to perform your work duties.
Accommodation – If you will often travel to specific cities or your headquarters is in a different city, ask for an annual sum for renting an apartment and general transportation fees.
Visa – If you require a work visa to work in the US, your employer can cover costs. This includes immigration lawyers and travel expenses to renew visas with a time frame in place. We have many clients who have languished in this process. Outline what they are doing and when. See what types of incentives are on your side to keep the company moving forward on your behalf.
Parking – Covered parking spots are at a premium in cities like New York City. You can ask for this to be included in your package.
Spousal Employment Guarantee / Support - This is an important topic for family members on a visa. Sometimes one family member can work, and the other may have to put their career on hold. Understand all aspects of the visa process and what that means for your family. Ask what the company offers adult working family members and what support systems they may have available especially if it’s a larger company.