Whether you are negotiating a new job or vying for a promotion at work, understanding how to make the most of compensation and benefits is one of the keys to success. This guide will offer tips and further reading to help you navigate pay and benefits during the course of your career.
Gain a Better Understanding of Compensation Packages
One of the first things workers should do when it comes to compensation is to understand the various ways compensation can be calculated as well as how to accurately compare them. Terms such as wage, salary, base pay, annual pay, gross and net earnings all refer to different ways of defining compensation.
In order to make the best choices for your career, it is critical to know the difference between these types of compensation.
In addition, the expectations of the job can impact your compensation as well. For example, salaried employees are often asked to work longer hours, often without additional compensation. This can change the actual pay per hour worked, in some cases, below the typical hourly earnings of wage employees doing similar work.
Compensation can be further complicated by unpredictable factors. Examples include commissions, stock options, or profit sharing which are dependent on sales or other metrics of job success that are dependent on your performance, and in some cases, company wide performance.
Identify Which Benefits Are Most Valuable to You
Benefits include all of the non-salary or wage benefits that an employer offers their staff. Benefits can include a wide range of services such as:
- Discounted or partially paid health insurance
- Vacation and sick days
- On-site childcare
- Education benefits such as reimbursement for continuing education courses
- Relocation costs
- Special discounts on third party services or products
- Use of company vehicles
- Retirement and investment options
Benefits give employers an opportunity to offer valuable services to boost their employee retention and hold on to top talent. However, it is important to assign your own value to benefits in order to evaluate how they will improve your lifestyle. For example, if you do not have children, on-site childcare does not offer you any benefit.
When evaluating a job offer or negotiating a raise, understanding the benefits package and how it will add value to your life is important.
Get Your Thumb on the Pulse of Your Employment Sector
In order to really understand your value to employers in your specific role, it is critical to understand the salary trends in your sector. Doing your research before negotiating a raise or accepting a job offer, for example, will give you a stronger leg to stand on.
In addition to learning more about appropriate compensation for your current position, staying on top of trends in your field will help you stay ahead of the curve on skills, experience, and education leading the way in your sector. This gives you the leverage you need to stand out in a job interview or when talking with your supervisor about your compensation.
In addition, do a little research on the cost of living and other factors for your geographical region. They can have a significant impact on the compensation that is reasonable to ask for in a given area.
Brush Up on Negotiating Tactics
Whether you are vying for a raise or negotiating offers on the job market, getting up to speed on modern negotiating tactics is key to obtaining the most out of pay and benefits available to you.
Negotiating strategies are rarely a one-size-fits all formula. Instead your personal style, the personality of your supervisor, the amount of leverage you have at the table, the strength of your skillset, past accomplishments, and many other factors impact the best tack to take during negotiations.
Research different negotiation tactics and determine which style fits your situation the best. Then, consider mixing and matching different strategies as the situation demands for best results.
Track Your Accomplishments by the Number
Whether you are new to the workforce or experienced, tracking your professional accomplishments along the way is critical to documenting your success. This is especially true when you keep track of your quantifiable accomplishments in terms and figures that are important to your employer’s bottom line.
Keep a document or folder where you keep track of accomplishments in detail. This gives you the advantage of being able to pull your most relevant accomplishments for an updated resume, a job interview, or a raise negotiation.
Numbers make your accomplishments more real to a potential employer or supervisor. That is why expressing your value in terms of quantifiable accomplishments is a powerful way to demonstrate your worth.
Examples of quantifiable accomplishments include:
- Impressive sale conversions
- Positive feedback rates from customer surveys
- Cost savings from a specific initiative
- Engagement rates for a social media campaign
- Exceeding quotas
Learn to Write Your Own Story
“Control the narrative” is a saying in marketing and politics that implies that the person who is able to write a compelling story to make sense of the facts is the one who will be able to influence others.
The same is true of performance reviews, promotions, raises, interviews, and resumes. It should be your goal to frame your work experience and accomplishments in such a way that you craft a compelling narrative about your value and potential worth to the company.
You always need to present truthful facts. That being said, incorporating the facts of your career journey into a narrative that showcases your value is key to making the most of your leverage when it comes to negotiating salary and benefits.