During this challenging economic time, many companies have instituted hiring and salary freezes and many more have cut salaries and staff. As you approach a benefits-in-lieu-of-compensation discussion, approach the conversation with thoughtfulness and flexibility.
There are many perks or benefits that your employer may be able to offer in lieu of salary that may be valuable to you from a quality of life standpoint. For example, you may be able to get comp time, a flexible work schedule, or a telecommuting option.
A good first step is opening the lines of communication with your employer. If comp time or telecommuting is motivating to you, your manager will want to know. Opportunities will vary from company to company, so it's important to have a good sense of what you perceive as valuable and be flexible in reaching that benefit (e.g. more personal time could be comp days or alternately a few hours here and there during the work week).
Don't overlook this conversation as a great opportunity to communicate your commitment to your company and show that you are thinking proactively and creatively about how you will stay engaged and motivated as you collectively work through a difficult period.
The bottom line is benefits can take various forms and it's important for you to be communicative, creative, and flexible. As a valued team member, your employer will appreciate your understanding of these tough times and reward it when the money becomes available for salary increases.
Lisa Throckmorton, EVP, SpeakerBox Communications