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While the North American economy might be warming up, many businesses are still braced for the worst. As a result, raises can be hard to come by. If you find yourself in this position – expecting a raise for a job well done, only to hear that wages are frozen – it’s time to get creative. Instead of asking for an increase in your wages, think about asking for some perks.
Perks, you see, are often viewed by employers as a smart alternative to small wage increases. For example: If you have a full-time employee that earns $45,000 a year, offering them a 4% wage increase for the year amounts to $1,800. Yet this is only a $1 per hour increase….and a lot of employees feel like a paltry $80 every two weeks isn’t much of a raise. In fact, some employees feel insulted by such a small sum.
As a result, managers sometimes feel that they’re better off NOT offering a raise because it will be perceived as too small (as counter-intuitive as that may seem).While the North American economy might be warming up, many businesses are still braced for the worst. As a result, raises can be hard to come by. If you find yourself in this position, it's time to get creative. Think about asking for some perks.Click To Tweet
The point? Experienced managers understand the perceived value of a good perk is often higher than the perceived value of a small wage increase. If they offer someone an extra dollar an hour, they might be upset; Offer this same person a company-paid gym membership and a couple of extra vacation days, however, and they might be genuinely grateful.
Therefore, if you can’t talk your boss into a nice wage increase, ask for perks. Here are some ideas:
1. Company-paid cell phones.
Cell phones are ubiquitous, as their value as a productivity tool is incredible. When your boss or a coworker needs something on an evening or weekend, they never hesitate to call your cell phone, do they?
Therefore, ask your employer to provide a phone and/or reimburse your monthly bill as a business expense. Reimbursement for your monthly cell phone bill puts some real money in your pocket, while your employer will likely view it as a small operating expense.
2. Company provided computer equipment.
You can pay out of your own pocket for a shiny new iPad, or you can ask your employer to provide you with an iPad for your exclusive use. Other than the fact that you’ll have to give this iPad back to the company when you leave, you’re basically getting a personal tablet for free.
Your employer, on the other hand, just has to re-allocate some funds that were already designated for computer equipment. It might not even affect your department’s budget, which means your boss is very inclined to say yes.
3. A company car, or the use of a company vehicle on weekdays.
Driving your own car to and from work costs money, sometimes quite a bit of money depending on what you drive and how far you have to commute. Asking for a company-provided vehicle – or the use of an existing company vehicle on weekdays – can save you hundreds of dollars a year in gasoline and maintenance costs, not to mention reduced wear and tear.
In many countries – including Australia – company-provided vehicles are a standard perk. Employers like the fact that they can provide their employees with a nice perk using pre-tax dollars (company vehicles are a pre-tax expense), while employees appreciate the fact that their personal vehicles last much longer without all that traveling to and from the office.
4. Extra vacation days.
Depending on your company, this particular perk can be very easy to negotiate or almost impossible to negotiate (some corporations have very strict policies about vacation). Still, it’s worth asking for an extra week of vacation if you can’t get a decent raise.
When you ask for extra vacation days, it might help to talk about the fact that time off helps you recharge. If you can talk about how productive you were after you came back from your last vacation, (and if your supervisor remembers that time as well), getting extra vacation time might be very easy.
5. Reimbursement for gym and diet expenses.
While this might seem like an odd thing to ask for, corporate healthcare costs are sky-high. If your company can help you get healthier by paying for your gym membership and picking up the tab for your weight loss program, they’ll be money ahead in the long run.
Finally, don’t overlook the fact that you can ask for both perks and a small wage increase. If you can earn an extra dollar per hour and get your cell phone bill paid, you’ll be a couple of hundred dollars a month ahead. Good luck!