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Employee perks: How to get your employer to add new perks to the benefits plan

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We've all heard about the company that offers on-site massages, free lunch Fridays and tickets to all the hot sporting events and concerts to its employees.

Those are nice ways for employers to try and keep employees happy and feel wanted. They are also a method some companies use in place of higher salaries or to offset rising health care costs. Regardless of what type of company you work for, you should always try to learn about and take advantage to any company perks offered by your employer.

How can one do that? Kyle O'Keefe, Regional Vice President of specialized staffing firm Robert Half (roberthalf.com), discusses how to take advantage of existing employee perks and how to develop a plan to get your company to add more perks to the plan:

How can employees find out which perks their employer offers and use them to their benefit?

  • Companies typically outline their benefits and perks on their intranet or employee handbook. If you’re unaware of where this information is located, ask your manager or HR representative.
  • Don’t delay in using the benefits and perks provided. The faster you can take advantage of these helpful perks, the more likely you’ll achieve your goals.

How can you ask for a perk that your company doesn’t currently offer?

  • Do your research. Research a variety of print and online publications to see what kind of perks are common in your industry.
  • Emphasize the business aspect. Rather than focusing on your personal life, adopt your manager’s point of view and explain how the perk would benefit the company.
  • Anticipate possible objections. Be prepared to respond to comments such as “we’ve never done this before” or “this will cost too much money.”
  • Rehearse. Ask a trusted friend to play the part of your manager and role play the discussion a few times to build your confidence and polish your delivery.
  • Choose the right time. Obviously, you don’t want to approach your manager when she’s on deadline, handling a crisis or about to dash out the door. Request a meeting time then keep it brief. Be prepared for a conditional response — your manager may need to get clearance from her supervisor before she can give you an answer.

"While there’s no guarantee that your request will be approved, by doing your homework, taking a professional approach and highlighting the benefits for the business, you just might turn the odds in your favor," says O'Keefe.

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