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Things to Negotiate for….Besides More Money

Smartly dressed young women shaking hands in a business meeting at office deskYou’re no stranger to the idea of salary negotiation when it comes to career advancement, but that’s just one of the fringe benefits up for discussion at the bargaining table on your road to the C-suite. You can’t go in assuming that certain perks like maternity leave or promotions are a given. Be prepared. One of the most effective tools at your disposal is your bargaining power.

Be Bold

Sheryl Sandberg discusses many of these points in her book, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.” Don’t be afraid to go to the table knowing what you want for the future of your career. Take charge, as Sheryl writes:

“Taking initiative pays off. It is hard to visualize someone as a leader if she is always waiting to be told what to do.”

That doesn’t mean you should storm through the office door and make outrageous demands, expecting them to be met instantly. Approach the situation with the right information and engage in tactful and professional discussion. Not sure exactly what that means or what those negotiations should entail? Here are six topics to keep in mind, and how you should approach them.

1. Flex Time

In the modern workplace, there are actually more people than you think working outside of the office with more flexible, nontraditional schedules. In a 2013 survey by the research group Catalyst, four out of every five respondents holding graduate-level degrees said they had some kind of work flexibility with their employer – that’s a whopping 81 percent.

In order to secure that type of perk at your next position, you’ve got to go in knowing exactly what you want from the flex time – both the when and the why. Your employer is going to be more keen to accept this stipulation if you have a detailed plan heading into negotiations. Be sure that you’ve cross-referenced any existing flex-time policy with the HR department to cover all your bases.

2. Professional and Personal Development

Make sure your future employer knows about your interest in professional and personal development. Continuing to learn and grow in your chosen profession keeps your skills innovative and creative, which will enrich the working environment for those around you as well. In fact, this type of incentive is among one of the most sought-after additions to an employment package by millennials. Consider asking about family friendly programs that encourage a work/life-balance, one of the most important points for Gen Xers.

3. Promotions

If you find yourself facing your annual review, consider your promotion options. Don’t be afraid to demonstrate how you’ve added value to the company, and why you should be considered for compensation.
Of course this doesn’t just magically happen one day by telling your boss you’re a rock star and should be paid accordingly. You need to work on cultivating a relationship and proving you are a valuable member of the company – these real bosses will give it to you straight.

In fact, a study done by Accenture in 2011 found that 85 percent of employees out of the 3,400 companies it surveyed got something – whether a large increase in salary to some kind of other incentive – simply by asking for a raise.

4. Maternity/Paternity Leave

Unfortunately, this is still an issue. In all the developed nations of the world, the U.S. is currently the only one that does not offer federally mandated parent leave. In OECD’s 2014 family database document, America literally has 0s across the board. You are not guaranteed anything.

Luckily most companies that want to retain talented staff recognize the importance of maternity/paternity leave. You could piggy-back your discussion concerning flex-time as well, and increase your chances of extending time at home with your new addition.

5. Vacation Time

Other than maternity leave, vacation time is also extremely important. Again in the U.S., the average employee has less vacation time than most other advanced economies in the world. Typically, a worker is only entitled to 10 days of paid vacation and six holidays, but even these are not guaranteed – quite different than the 30 days in France or 20 in New Zealand.

As you well know, this is where your bargaining power and value to the company can come in handy to secure more than the 10 days. Use tact, and also offer solutions for the time you are requesting to be away For example, tell your boss “I’ll be out of the office, but regularly checking my emails.

It’s important that you take advantage of complete time away from the office for a recharge. You’ll be more of an asset to your company when you return re-energized and refreshed.

6. Big Project Participation

If you really want to put yourself out there and be bold, ask to swim in the deep water, rub shoulders with the executives and request to work on the interesting projects that are happening in your company. This will help you get noticed, and you can also take the opportunity to cultivate mentoring relationships at the leadership and management level.

By Sarah Landrum

Sarah Landrum is a Penn State graduate, marketing specialist, freelance writer and the career expert behind Punched Clocks.