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10 Things to Ask HR for Today

Marcia Hudgel
Oct. 1, 2016

Here are 10 things you should ask your company to provide to make your job -- and life -- easier.

What's on your benefits wish list? That inventory of things you keep in your head of all the ways your life could be easier -- and how your company could help. It's time to share that list with HR.

We talked to Dr. Bob Nelson, author of "1501 Ways to Reward Employees," and Raymond Noe, author of "Human Resource Management," to find out what to ask for, when to ask for it and how to get it.

Noe says that the best time to discuss your benefits with your human resources department is: "At career switch points which naturally occur, such as deciding to join the company, promotions or job moves within the company or if you have an outside offer." During these times, workers have "the most leverage to negotiate benefits that best suit their individual needs and interests."

And you need a plan before you go in. "A non-confrontational approach is best," suggests Noe. "HR should be viewed as an employee advocate, not as an adversary. Come into the meeting prepared to explain your needs, why you are proposing the benefit and how it will help you better perform and contribute to the company goals and objectives."

Here's a list of ten important things you should ask HR about today.

  1. A Flexible Schedule
    Dr. Nelson says this is the No. 1 thing to ask for, as it gives the employee "the ability to shift working hours around a bad commute or take time off as needed for personal matters, care of a child or parent, etc."

  2. Additional Personal Days
    It can be tough to accomplish everything over the weekend. More personal days can help you achieve the mystical "work-life balance," according to Noe. Or at least you'll have time to walk Fido, book a doctor's appointment and make a dent in that scary mountain of laundry.

  3. Salary Raise
    Everyone wants to make more money -- that's a given. But before you negotiate a salary, research how much people get paid to perform your job in your area, so you have a realistic number in mind. Looking for a raise? Show what you did during the last year to deserve one.

  4. Child Care Options
    Many companies now offer child care options for working parents. That could be something like helping with hiring a nanny or finding a day care facility. Some companies have even started providing backup child care as a work benefit, such as through Care.com’s Care@Work program. This program offers employees of participating companies access to child care either at home or at a nearby child care facility. If your company doesn't offer this benefit, ask Human Resources to consider it. You'll be much more productive at work if you don't have to worry about your child.

  5. The Option to Telecommute
    Working from home is getting a lot of press lately thanks to Marissa Mayer and Yahoo. But with the help of technology, we can work from just about anywhere. "Fewer employees in today's economy 'make things;' rather jobs emphasize serving others or working to develop new ideas and services," Noe says. "Many people don't work just from one place, whether it be the shop floor or the office. They travel regionally and globally and often work from their car, coffee shops and Internet cafes."

    If you can't telecommute every day, ask about part-time options. If you vary your schedule so you're telecommuting for part of the week and coming into the office on other days, you'll have more time for personal matters.

  6. Better Health Benefits
    A company that has greater health benefits has healthier employees. And those benefits can go beyond your typical medical and dental. See if your company would be willing to provide options like on-site doctors or even something simple like paying all or some of your health insurance premiums.

  7. Continuing Education
    Yes, you would love to take a class or go back to school to improve your skills. But who can afford it or find time in a busy schedule? "To attract and keep talent, employers have to offer development opportunities, or the best employees, who have the most options, will take their skills to competitors or other companies," says Noe. Show your employer how you would use a tuition reimbursement option and how it would benefit the company.

  8. Retirement Benefits
    This option is becoming less and less common lately, as people jump to new jobs more regularly. But if you've spent many of your working years with the same company, it would be nice to be taken care with salary matching once you retire. Having some protection in case you or a family member becomes very ill is a huge plus.

  9. Opportunity to Advance
    When discussing benefits with HR, ask what possibilities for advancement exist within the organization. By laying out your desire to build your career with the company, you can get an idea of the steps expected for you to move up in title and position.

  10. Wellness Programs and Activities
    Perhaps your office offers gym memberships, yoga classes or other health-related activities. These are things that will keep you healthy and able to work, so HR and your boss may be willing to spring for these perks.


Which of these options would make your life easier? Point out your contributions to the company and ask for what you want. But keep in mind that even with the best-laid plans and examples of your contributions to the company you're unlikely to get everything you want. If you ask for six of the above items, you might walk away with one victory, but stay the course and prove your worth and more may come back to you in the long run.

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