Know Your Options - More Than Just Salary

Updated: Aug 2, 2021

That Purple Book negotiation salary options

Prior to negotiating, it is vital to know what options you have available so that you can create a strategy to go after exactly what you want! Below is a guide to some of the most common benefits for employees and tips on how to include these items in your career negotiation! Know your options!

Career negotiation is so much more than just your wage or salary...although that typically is the top priority. And speaking of money, how do you know what $$ range or amount to apply to your experience? What are you worth? What is the value that you bring to the prospective company? Additional information about this is included in a previous blog post "Know Your Value".

The following is a list of some of the most common options available to employees and applicants as benefits from their company. Which ones are most important to you for negotiating?

Salary & Overall Compensation

* Salary - annual

* Wage - hourly

* Tips

* Signing bonus

* Annual bonus - percent or dollar amount

* Commission - percent or dollar amount

They type of compensation offered can make a big difference so it is vital you understand HOW you will be compensated. Will you be paid on an hourly basis or provided a monthly salary no matter how many hours you work? A regular full-time work schedule is 40hours per week and 2,080 hours per year. Factor those numbers into your salary calculations. Know this up front so you can negotiate effectively. Are there options for a signing bonus? Does your company offer a commission and if so, what percentage and how is it paid out? Commissions can be paid out after a sale or on a more regular schedule such as monthly or annually.

Paid/Unpaid Time Off

* Vacation

* Sick

* Holidays

* PTO (paid time off)

* Comp time

* Parental leave

* Parental leave - unpaid

* Volunteer time

Beyond salary, paid time off is the 2nd most common item that people negotiate for their jobs. Make note whether PTO is offered rather than separate hours/days for vacation and sick time. Research when you can begin taking paid time off as often times, companies have a probationary period (typically 6-12mos) when new employees cannot take any paid time off. Comp time is sometimes offered in lieu of overtime pay. Companies will allow employees to work more than 40hours per week and any time over that 40hours will be converted to Comp time that can be used like vacation time.

Investment Options

* Profit sharing

* Retirement contribution match by employer

* Vesting period for investment options

* Stock options - many publicly-traded companies will offer their salary and hourly employees discounted stock options to invest in the company!

Did you know that many companies offer investment options for retirement? This is a GREAT option for all employees but especially those who are young and have many working years ahead. Getting started now with investments can yield even bigger results down the road due to time and compound interest. Profit sharing is FREE MONEY from your employer that is added to your retirement or investment account. Research what percent of profit sharing is offered and the vesting period (how long you have to work at the company before you get to keep the employer-provided profit sharing monies). Contributions from your employer to your retirement account is also FREE MONEY that you shouldn't pass up! Stock options can be a great way to invest in your company and are a good benefit to keep in mind if it is offered.


* Health insurance coverage

* Dental insurance coverage

* Vision insurance coverage

* Life insurance coverage

* Disability insurance coverage (either short or long-term)

What does your company offer for health and other insurance benefits? It's not just enough to know whether they offer benefits BUT to research the actual coverage options. Do you have any health situations where specific coverage is needed? If you're young and healthy, it probably seems weird to think about disability insurance BUT it is a very important resource. If your job includes a lot of computer work and you have an accident where your hands and/or arms are injured, that could essentially disable you from performing your regular job duties. With disability insurance, you would have resources available to provide income while your injuries heal.

Professional Development

* Tuition reimbursement

* Leadership or Management courses

* Training options

As you work for your company and invest your time and skills, it is appropriate that your company invests additional time and resources into your professional development. Many companies offer education or training classes for ongoing professional development. If you're interested in a leadership or management track, ask about opportunities to take courses or any internal resources that would be available to you. Many companies also offer tuition reimbursement so that employees can finish or continue their higher education or certification programs.


* Shift options - morning, mid-day, evening, overnight

* Shift options - opening, closing

* Uniform reimbursement or discounts

* Discounts at company - meal discounts if a restaurant, clothing discounts if a retail store, other discounts on specific products or services

* Relocation reimbursement

* Parking pass or reimbursement

* Gym pass or reimbursement

* Commuter pass or commuter reimbursement

* Work schedule - strict schedule or flexible

* Work location - remote work location or in person? Amount of time needed to work in-person versus remote?

There are so many other options that can benefit you but you need to know whether they are provided or available! If you have to move in order to work for your company, ask about relocation reimbursement! If you work in a large metro area, many companies provide discounted or free transportation passes. Whichever additional benefits are provided, calculate the monetary value of those and include them in your overall compensation package. From there, you can better determine whether the package is what you want.

As you can see from the list above, there are MANY options available to you! Another important question you should be asking yourself is whether your company offers some or all of these options. Knowing more about your prospective employer will greatly help you during your job hiring process and during negotiation! More information and tips about researching your prospective company is included in another blog post "Know Your Company".

Next Steps:

* Start researching your prospective employer to learn their existing options

* Make a list of the benefits that matter most to you.

* Next to each item on your benefits list, write down the goal amount for each.

* Use this list to craft your negotiation strategy and conversation with your prospective employer.

Check out the other blog posts for even more tips and advice and connect with us on social media at @ThatPurpleBook.

#KnowYourOptions #Negotiation #Salary

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