When you’re looking for a new job in a market of so many choices, it can be tough to weigh the pros and cons when evaluating multiple offers. The amount of government contractors in the Department of Defense seems to be growing, so what is important to you as a candidate in the job search?

Location? Salary? Benefits that make every day Veterans Day at work?

What do you use as negotiating factors when selling a job / company to candidates?

With millennials becoming the bulk of the workforce these days, it seems that flexibility and other creative benefits are the biggest factors when negotiating offers. One element of a great company or workplace is the tangible benefits architecture. If a company doesn’t offer a strong benefits package, they will find it exceptionally difficult to retain staff, much less keep the customer happy and fulfill mission requirements. However, basic benefits are not enough. To set yourself above the mark, a company needs to go beyond the basics and offer some truly extraordinary benefits to employees.

PAID LEAVE – not the usual pto

Private companies and some contractors offer an unlimited time off policy. You’re free to take as much time off as you choose, as long as you get the job done. It’s a focus on producing great results, rather than just putting in the hours. Employees are thrilled by the flexibility of this policy and some use it to take regular short vacations or long weekends; others use it for extended multi-week travel or sabbaticals. This type of policy also helps employees gain an ownership mentality, cultivating an employee/company relationship based on respect. From a company point of view, research shows that workers who are offered unlimited vacation rarely take off more than the average employee.

FLAT MANAGEMENT – less of a HIERARCHICAL nightmare

This doesn’t seem like a company benefit that recruiters would negotiate with candidates, but if you are a small company, you absolutely should. Without middle management or multiple hierarchical layers, employees can discuss their career goals with their executive teams directly. It also allows employees lead individual projects, gaining hands on project management skills. This approach provides opportunities for employees to grow their own careers, builds camaraderie among teammates, and gives each employee an appreciation for the work.

Employee discounts – free stuff!

We’re not talking 5% off at the local coffee chain that has a mutually beneficial relationship with your company. But employees tend to love getting company-exclusive discounts on big-ticket purchases, from concert tickets and homes to smartphones and vacation getaways. Employee discount programs like Working Advantage really resonate with prospective candidates/employees. Everyone loves to save money when they shop, so the best discount programs let them do just that.

VOLUNTEER TIME OFF – community

This is paid time, generally 8-16 hours per year, that allows employees inclined to donate their time to help others the opportunity to do so without dipping into PTO. This offering reflects highly on culture, which helps to retain and recruit staff and job seekers who want to work with companies whose values align with their own.

WELLNESS BENEFITS – health

Does your company give you a stipend hit the gym on a regular basis? Wellness programs are gaining in popularity and some companies may offer to lower medical premiums if you agree to take a health-risk evaluation. Others may offer rewards for completing healthy tasks. This type of benefits really allows companies to be creative, or may receive guidance and stipulations from their provider.

COMMUTER BENEFITS

It’s 4:30 PM on a Friday, and you are anxious to get out of the SCIF and start your weekend. Oh wait, hello 3-hour commute. You can try to find ways to cope yourself, or see if your company offers commuter benefits. The average commute costs Americans about $83 a week and chances are, a prospective employer might be willing to alleviate some of the cost. So ask about that pre-paid metro card or negotiate a stipend for parking.

Flexibility in scheduling can also help to combat commuter problems. Ask your employer or the customer you’re supporting if they are willing to allow for a compressed work schedule. This allows employees to work a traditional 40-hour workweek in less than the traditional number of workdays. For example, a full-time employee scheduled for 40 hours per week could work four 10-hour days.

When you go through the process of either selecting which benefits to offer or which benefits to ask for, planning is of the utmost importance. Make sure to have the details in writing, so no one is confused as to what is being offered or asked for.

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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 7+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸