Even if you’ve aced your annual review, gone above and beyond or reached a milestone at work, getting a raise might be out of the question. You might be at the mercy of company losses, office politics or pay freezes. If your company can’t offer you the compensation boost you’re expecting, think about what other perks might tide you over until the financial landscape improves.  iStock_000018729585_Small

Getting a raise isn’t the only way to increase compensation

Many people think of compensation as one all-important number — salary. In reality, compensation encompasses so much more. There are the obvious benefits that often come with a job, such as insurance and paid time off. But there are other benefits as well — benefits you can ask for when getting a raise isn’t an option.

Think creatively about what might improve your work life tremendously and cost your company very little. Consider these incentives when you negotiate your benefits:

  1. Education reimbursement  Many companies recognize that to hold on to the best talent, they must offer employees stimulation and the opportunity to continue learning new skills. Asking for reimbursement or a partial allowance per year to take advanced coursework relative to your position or industry is one way to gain value beyond your paycheck.
  2. Time off and reimbursement for conferences — In many industries, conferences are a great way to stay on top of the latest technologies and best practices. Ask for the chance to attend professional conferences or seminars that will make you more valuable to the company. The additional benefit is that you will get the chance to network — which could lead to more lucrative job opportunities in the future.
  3. Additional vacation time — If your company cannot provide a salary increase, ask for additional vacation time. More paid time off can help you re-energize and reduce stress.
  4. The ability to telecommute — Asking for the go-ahead to telecommute should be a win-win for both you and your company. If you get pushback from your boss, mention this recent study from Stanford that found that people who work from home are often more productive than those who go into an office.
  5. Flex time — You’ve heard the phrase “time is money,” right? The ability to carve out personal time during the traditional workday can allow you to enjoy a sense of freedom and do something like go to a school play, take a yoga class or simply grocery shop at off hours.

Prepare to negotiate

iStock_000002661028_SmallNo matter what you are asking for during salary negotiations, you need to be prepared. If there’s a conference you want to attend, come in with the total cost (including travel and attendance fees), as well as an explanation of how the knowledge you gain will benefit the company. If you are asking for something that is a new policy for your company, such as telecommuting, studies will help support your case.

In addition to having research in place, you need to prepare mentally. If getting a raise simply isn’t going to happen, be understanding and don’t dwell on your disappointment. Present your request for alternative compensation as a solution to a problem that will benefit both parties.

You are not asking for anything unreasonable. Make it clear that you are asking for these things because financial compensation isn’t an option; you are looking for a creative way to be compensated for a job well done, not to get special treatment.

In the end, you are offering your boss a way to reach the company’s goal: supporting and retaining its best people.

Not getting a raise? What else have you asked for instead of financial compensation?

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