From flex hours to stipends and bonuses, experts share some things to negotiate besides salary.
We place a strong emphasis on negotiating salary—which is very important, no doubt—but throughout the hiring process, it’s easy to forget that there are other things you can negotiate when accepting a new job.
These negotiables can either be in addition to talks about a higher salary, or they can improve your offer in a case where there’s not much compensation wiggle room. Inspired by a recent popular Instagram Reel from Tori Dunlap of @HerFirst100K—and with insight from three additional powerhouse women in the personal wealth and career space—we’ve rounded up six things to negotiate besides salary.
1. Work-From-Home Schedule
Since the pandemic started, many companies have realized that work-from-home is just as (if not more) effective than working at an office. Even if the company you’re interviewing with doesn’t have work-from-home policies in place, this is something you can still bring up if it’s important to you.
“Start by requesting to work from home one to two days per week, so your employer can see that this is a situation that really can work,” advises Anna Runyan, founder, and CEO of Classy Career Girl. “Once they become familiar with how the situation will go, they may be more receptive to adding more days to your remote schedule.”
To increase your odds, Runyan says to bring up the decrease in cost and increase in work output in a work-from-home scenario. For example, they won’t have to pay for supplies or an office, and you’ll actually be more focused and productive without a commute or office noise. You can also note that you’ll come to the office for meetings as needed.
2. Flexible Work Hours
In addition — or as an alternative — to negotiating work-from-home, you can bring up flexible work hours. “For example, if you know you need to leave the office one hour early every day to pick up your kid from soccer practice, ask for that specifically,” says Emily Paffhausen, founder of Sometimes Sensible in Phoenix, AZ. “Speak confidently on what you are asking for and don’t get overly emotional. Make the request knowing you deserve it, and [make sure to note that] it will not impact your work.”
Runyan adds that you can get extra creative here and frame this as a benefit for your employer, too. For instance, if you start work earlier, you may be able to get some reports or client requirements completed so the rest of the team is more prepared by the time they begin work. Or, maybe having longer hours on Monday through Thursday (for Fridays off) would help you complete more projects. Bottom line: Really show your company how these hours will improve your production.
3. Tuition or Certification Reimbursement
“Many companies in today’s world like to pride themselves on being advocates of their employees’ personal development,” says Bola Sokunbi, author and founder of Clever Girl Finance. “Negotiating tuition or certification reimbursements is definitely something to pursue if there are certain classes or certifications you’d like to take. Even if your company does not have a formal reimbursement program in place, it’s still worth asking.”
To maximize a favorable outcome, Sokunbi says to highlight how continued education can improve your skillset and therefore your contribution as an employee to the company. It can also make you a more valuable employee in the eyes of your company’s clients. Come prepared with exactly what you want funded, and Paffhausen. She says, “If there is a specific professional certification you are looking to earn, make sure you know the price and all the details, so you can speak confidently as to why it is beneficial to you and the company.”
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4. Clothing Allowance
This one might sound a little odd, but many companies will offer a stipend to support your business wardrobe. Depending on the business and how important your personal presentation is, this could range anywhere between $1000 to $10,000. “If you are meeting clients regularly and needing to dress up, this is definitely a negotiable it doesn’t hurt to ask about,” says Runyan.
“In this case, you need to do your research to show the expense you estimate for the year,” she advises. “Show your documentation and estimated expenses and present how important it is in your industry to dress in stylish, sophisticated attire.” Business attire ultimately cuts into your bottom line, so having that stipend is a way to supplement your total salary.
5. Signing Bonus
If a company isn’t able to increase your salary, a signing bonus can be a great financial middle ground for both parties. “It is usually easier for the company to fund this approach, so it can be a good vehicle to help you reach your income goal within the company’s budget,” explains Paffhausen. “However, do keep in mind that signing bonuses are taxed higher than salary, so this approach should be your backup option.”
6. Annual Bonuses
Another way to bolster your per-year compensation is to negotiate an annual bonus. “Depending on your employer, you can negotiate for a specific amount or a percentage based on your base salary,” says Sokunbi. “There might be clauses around meeting specific individual performance goals and also around the company’s revenue for the time period.” She adds that having this negotiation in writing helps to confirm that you will receive the bonus you negotiated as long as you meet the terms.
There are some basic ground rules to follow when negotiating anything with your company:
First, make all requests about your employer—not you. Explain, in detail, how this negotiation will ultimately improve the company’s revenue, sales, and overall bottom line.
Second, come prepared. Have your financial justifications ready to go and create a presentation or at least have documents printed out ready to present as needed.
And finally, always get the finalized negotiation as a written commitment that’s signed and dated by all parties involved.