Employee Benefits You Can Discuss With Your Employer
Employee benefits aren’t the 14-day leave you get or the reclaimed parking fees you are repaid at the end of the month. Those are necessities employers must provide, and not anything special as that’s the standard. Actual benefits would ideally be programmes, allowances, or incentives given by employers to help you evolve into not just a better employee, but a person as well!
It’s imperative to know though, that employee benefits are highly modular. Major corps usually have a set list of benefits, where new features are a top-down decision. Agencies or other businesses are more flexible, as customizing benefits for a team of 30 people is much easier than a multi-national corporation with hundreds of employees.
However, regardless of your job’s environment, what benefits should or can you ask for, and how? Read on to know!
1. Opening The Topic
Before we dive into the types of benefits that are out there, the more pressing question would be: how do we start the conversation with our employers about adding on more benefits?
The first step is to be aware of our position; we’re an employee asking for something that we aren’t 100% our bosses can offer yet. So, our approach to this should be that we are coming in to negotiate for a deal but to always keep in mind to have zero expectations in case things go south.
Then, try talking to your other colleagues first about additional benefits they would like to. The more people who want the same type of benefit ie. therapy, the more likely it is to get approved! However, if it’s just you who has an oddball suggestion, don’t be discouraged from proposing anyways.
As the next steps are fairly simple to do before and during talking to your employer:
- List down and share the reasons why you want the benefit ie. you want Adobe because you need to assist with design thinking.
- Avoid demanding anything; your approach should be more of calm negotiation so you show that you understand that your request is dependent on the company’s current capability.
- Pass over 1-3 suggestions on where your employers can acquire such benefit ie. if it’s a gym membership, suggest the gyms to be used.
2. Getting Extra Leave Days
I must admit, Malaysia already has a lot of holidays. The 10 official ones recognized by law, the other cultural and religious holidays, and state-level holidays for any King’s birthday. Good news though; there’s more we can get!
Most countries around the world don’t have that many public holidays, solely because they’re usually monoethnic. However, recently companies have started offering extra leave days for specific reasons!
It’s no longer just unpaid, sick, or compassionate leave as those lean more towards emergencies. Now, there are companies allocating 3-4 day leaves for mental health recuperation! This leave can be used to either see your therapist, or practice self-care by yourself.
If your working place doesn’t have this form of leave yet, consider suggesting it! However, it’s understandable if your employer gets worried that more leave days may result in lesser productivity. You can then suggest conducting a 2-3 month trial period to see if the extra leave day has any effect, as logically, the more well-rested employees are, the more energy they have to work!
3. Subscription-based apps
Subscription-based apps are usually what you buy to help aid your work better! It can be any type of app, may it be educational, time-management focus, and more.
When I was working as a writer, I had to read a lot of different news sites and portals. However, more media outlets started charging a fee to read their content (which is good, as that means the journalists are getting paid well.) The standard charge for a monthly newspaper subscription was around RM20. As a result. if I wanted to reference from 5 different media, I’d have spent over RM100 out of my own pocket.
What you can do now, is to change which pocket you’re taking the money out of. In this case, you can enquire to your employers about including subscription-based apps or programs to help your work process. Be sure to prepare the examples too! Such as if you’re a writer, you’d want to subscribe to The Economist, The New York Times, and more. Anything that’s work-related and requires us to spend cash, we can and should always claim it back from the company.
4. Learning & Wellbeing Allowance
The title is quite self-serving, but for those who aren’t familiar with it, learning & wellbeing allowance are more benefits that help with our development.
Things such as mental health aid, meditation, or journalling apps like Notion even, all come under learning and wellbeing. If you believe your company is in a stable position, it’s worth asking if this allowance is possible.
Hobbies are also considered under this umbrella, as what we do in our free time is key to how we wind down after work. If we don’t have a good work-life balance, it will definitely affect our performance at work anyways.
5. Learning Certificates Incentives
A true employer would rather keep their employers instead of firing one. Therefore, the best way to do that is to upskill your employees by offering them learning incentives!
Usable certificates aren’t just about your degree certificate, it can also take the form of digital certificates that can make you just as qualified for the job! Depending on if you want to take a crash course, or a longer course that spans a few months, you could always ensure that the certificates are by accredited and licensed institutions.
Alongside that, if needed, employees should be able to get a few hours off a working day to leave early and attend these courses in order to complete the syllabus. Even if that is a long shot, when employees have finished a particular course, they should ideally get to claim back the money they paid for the course. Maybe even get a salary increment as now they’re more qualified than they were before!
All these benefits may sound extra to you, but it’s truly not the case. These things are actually essential to help create a healthy work culture in the office, regardless of virtual or non-virtual! Again, not all employers would be excited to hear any of these proposals (unless you have a good boss). However, I’d recommend for you to discuss with your colleagues first, your HR manager, and then head to the big boss’s office!
For further reading, check out these articles on 6 Ways To Maintain A Safe & Healthy Friendship With Your Boss and Top 4 Traits of Toxic Employees and How to Respond to Them?