Negotiating a better working life doesn’t begin and end with money

Negotiating a better working life doesn’t begin and end with money

One of the most common misconceptions made by white collar professionals in Australia is that to negotiate means to review salary. The amount you receive each year as your annual salary looms as a measurement of our contribution to the company. It can aid us with pursuing life goals such as home ownership, additional travel, investment properties and more.

But upping your salary doesn’t have to be the only reason to negotiate with your employer. In fact, it might not be what you need the most.

Let’s look at some of the other reasons why you might need to hit the negotiation table at work

Improving your skills

Never under estimate the value of asking for additional training to assist with your current role and prime you for one in the future. According to the ABS, 80% of Australian businesses offer some kind of formal or informal training. Deloitte estimates this figure at approximately $150 billion dollars worldwide.

Yet how many of us know exactly how much training budget is available and how to apply for it within a given organisation? How many of us dismiss the opportunity because we can’t see the kind of training we wish to undertake fitting into the options available?

Making a case to train in different areas, hone skills and achieve certification can all have lasting effects for you and the organisation. It becomes a matter of making a case for them.

Some of the ways you can apply negotiation skills to gaining the sort of training you want are:

  • Making a case to use budget in ways that might not usually be considered
  • Receiving budget to cover part of a course instead of one in entirety
  • Making arrangements to attend events and classes
  • Gaining sufficient time for study
  • Articulating the return on investment for the company in terms they understand
  • Creating an agreement between you and the organisation that serves you both
  • Applying the successful completion of that further study to opportunities such as promotions

By being able to make a case to invest in your training, you can make better usage of the opportunities available to you.

The benefits to negotiating time and budget for additional study are clear. You can offset personal cost, apply the theory to the practical in the workplace, highlight your skills and positive attitude, improve your visibility in an organisation, increase your chances of future promotion and more.

In terms of the organisation, it increases the skill of their employees, provides an opportunity to expand and/or strengthen services, helps create job satisfaction and longevity with the company, identifies future management, can reduce recruitment costs through upskilling and more.

Workplace flexibility

When we think of workplace flexibility, we assume this may be related to the needs of working parents. However, there are many reasons why you might need to negotiate for more flexibility in the workplace.

Some of the reasons where workplace flexibility can apply include:

  • Physical health and disability management
  • Mental health management
  • Stress reduction and work-life balance programs
  • To offset commuting and travel
  • Managing overtime and on call roles
  • Leave, leave of absence and long service leave usage
  • Carer needs (such as looking after elderly parents, sick spouse or in family injury)
  • Grief and loss such as death, ending of a marriage etc
  • Family violence impacts
  • General life impacts
  • Parenting needs
  • Children with special needs

At any given time, you may face a situation where you are temporarily unable to full your duties to the full extent of your obligations. Your living circumstances may create situations where attention to your personal life may be required beyond the usual allocation of sickness, flexi and bereavement days. You may need to increase time taken off, decrease office contact hours or work remotely if you decide to commute from the Central Coast, Blue Mountains or Illawarra to a Sydney based office. A myriad of situations may make a standard working agreement too rigid for your needs.

Don’t leave a job you love, a company that supports you and a role that engages you without checking your options. Negotiate first!

Here, it’s about being primed with your value and worth to the company, positive about solutions and speaking the company’s language. Understanding how much value you hold, the cost of recruiting and training your replacement, while making a case for alternatives can be incredibly worthwhile.

Reflecting roles and responsibilities

If you find yourself with role creep, here is another place where knowing what you are worth and stating a case well can greatly assist your working life.

With changes in department, headcount and company scope, roles often shift from their original intent to something far more encompassing. Why not negotiate the title that reflects the work product and responsibility?

Your title helps define you within an organisation. The job description and the responsibilities assigned to it also ensure you are working to maximum competency. Plus, if you have outgrown or overgrown your identified role, changing the title can help with credibility on the floor and promotions in the future. It could also improve your chances of pitching new ideas and projects.

Not to mention making a stronger case for a salary bump or a package overhaul during your next performance review.

Improving the package overall

Salary isn’t the only contestant when it comes to bringing happiness in the game of life. Your workplace may not be able to provide you with a salary increase, but that doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate a better package.

Think about your current employment package. Could you do with more options in terms of training? Do your individual flexible working arrangements need an overhaul?

Would you like more superannuation added to your fund? Is there room for insurance provision, healthcare or a better uniform budget? Could you do with a vehicle or an upgrade on the company car you already have? Can you gain greater support for wellness?

Organisations are realising that day spas, morning yoga and a pool table in the break room don’t influence how you feel about a workplace. In fact, many human resources teams are ripe for better, more long-lasting approaches to retention through offering better employee benefits.

Here, the opportunity to negotiate not only for yourself but potentially your team, department or entire organisation could have a lasting impact on your relationship with the entire staff.

Want to make negotiation your ally in the journey to a better career? Uncover what the Salary Coach can do for you – book a 20 minute discovery call now. 


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