How to Ensure You’re Not Leaving Job Perks on the Table


Month-after-month, the news is the same; the U.S. economy continues to grow and unemployment remains low, particularly in the executive, managerial and professional labor market, which has hovered around 2 percent for quite some time. As a result of this employment dynamic, employers within many industries are seeing an ever-dwindling pool of qualified candidates to fill key roles. And they’re offering up various incentives to persuade applicants to come aboard.

Among businesses that are actively recruiting, roughly 50 percent are including sign-on perks as a way to make positions more desirable, according to the 2018 Performance Management Study conducted by MRINetwork. Sign-on perks come in a variety of forms, such as company-paid health insurance, sign-on bonuses, moving expenses and tuition reimbursement. Nearly 60 percent of hiring authorities in the poll said company-sponsored health insurance is what they are offering most frequently among sign-on perks. Other top perks being presented include sign-on bonuses, tuition reimbursement and moving expenses. This comes as excellent news for candidates, over 75 percent who said company-paid health insurance, moving expenses, sign-on bonuses and tuition reimbursement were the benefits they most desired.

2019: The Year of Employment Perks? 

These kinds of recruitment strategies don’t appear to be short-lived. To the contrary, in what may signal 2019 as the “Year of Sign-On Perks,” nearly 60 percent of employers in the MRINetwork survey said their top priority in the upcoming year will be attracting and retaining highly skilled workers.

Trent Burner, vice president of research at the Society for Human Resources Management, said companies are using benefits as a strategic tool, designed to keep workers from seeking alternative employment and encourage qualified candidates to accept offers.

“Strategic organizations adjust their benefits year-to-year, depending upon their use by employees, cost and effectiveness in helping an organization stand out in the competition for talent,” Burner explained.

While it’s clear that employers are making the most of the resources available to them to win over applicants, it’s also evident that candidates aren’t always aware businesses go to these lengths, the MRINetwork report said. In other words, they may be leaving perks on the table by accepting an offer as soon as it’s made.

Here are a few tips that can help you land or stay at a job with plenty of perks to go along with it:

Ask for them 

It sounds like an obvious strategy, but perhaps out of fear of offending or coming off as too aggressive, candidates will often avoid mentioning benefits and accept whatever offer is put forward. Bruce Elliott, SHRM compensation and benefits manager, told Fast Company that confidence is key.

“Once you get to the part of the hiring process when you start to discuss compensation, they’ve already made the decision to hire you,” Elliott advised. “So it never hurts to ask for [better perks]. The worst they can do is say no.”

Come with facts 

If more vacation time is what you’re after, it pays to have hard data that corroborates why time-off can lead to better productivity. A number of studies suggest as much and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention devotes a portion of its website to the consequences of long work hours and vacation days left unused. Doing your homework in this regard can help you obtain a better work-life balance.

Know what’s open to discussion 

Some benefits are negotiable, while others aren’t. Generally speaking, according to Fast Company, retirement plan contributions tend to be hard and fast, but vacation time, performance bonuses and wellness perks – like gym membership reimbursement – may be up for debate. You can find out by talking to current or former employees or doing some online research.

As a qualified candidate you have a lot to offer. By understanding your value and what you bring to the company, job seekers and long-standing employees can get the most out of your present or future employer and avoid leaving unclaimed perks on the table.