by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Agrimarketing : Career Supplement USA
31 better group rate than what you would receive if you went out on your own and purchased the same coverage. Also, keep in mind that while a benefit is offered it may require potential withholdings from your base pay for your portion of the coverage, such as health insurance and 401k. Ask a mentor, parent or your career services professional on cam- pus for insight about potential with- holdings. They should be able to take you through an exercise to see what all of your deductions are and what you would be left with for disposable income. Also, while it isn't good practice to talk about salaries with your peers, talking about benefits is OK and can provide some good insight as to what is out there and available. How you evaluate what is going to provide the most value to you is the next step. Keep in mind that trading a great health insurance ben- efit isn't always worth the instant gratification of an extra vacation day or new car. And, an 8% employer match to your 401(k) plan could definitely outweigh a competing offer that includes no employer match but a cell phone. Two suggestions to consider when evaluating your benefit options are to assign dollar amounts to the benefits and then also have a list of your priorities and what is important to you. A critical point of consideration in the process is to not only evaluate what is there, but also what is not! Remember how the definition of an employee benefit referred to benefits as a form of compensation. Looking at the dollar value of bene- fits offered in a package is a good way to start your evaluation process. If you can assign what the cost would be to you if you were to have to cover that cost yourself can provide helpful insight. For example, if you plan to go back to school and the employer is offering a tuition reimbursement program, there is a cost associated with what you would have to pay out of your own pocket if that benefit was not available. For this example let's say the company offers up to $5,000 tuition reimbursement per semester. If you went for two semesters and met the policy requirements that would be an additional $10,000 you technically are making because you don't have to pay that out-of-pocket expense. Do this with each benefit on the com- pany's list of benefits and then add up the total dollar amount that you'll be saving yourself. Melinda Hood, Human Resources Manager for AgCareers.com says, "If you do receive a competing offer, I wouldn't hesitate to compare the two carefully and itemize your monthly earnings from a total package standpoint. This allows you a direct comparison to potentially negotiate and leverage the competing offer with the employer. However, in the end, you may need to select the best com- pany fit for you and sometimes paying the extra percentage for health insur- ance or having one less day of vacation outweighs the competing company as a whole. Just be smart about your options and measure the bottom line." Not all benefits can be assigned a dollar figure; things like company celebrations or informal training don't necessarily have monetary value but might be important to you from a personal development or cultural fit standpoint. Another way to assess benefit packages is to make a list of those things that you (and your family) value. While you can actually assign a dollar value to paid time-off, maybe one organization is offering five days and the other ten days. Vacation is one of those benefits that mean a lot to some people and having additional vacation outweighs other benefits and their monetary value. We've provided a list of frequently offered benefits offered by organizations for you to use, but do some exploring on your own as well for other company offerings. Who has more of what you want and how do your out-of-pocket savings compare. Just like salary, benefits may be negotiated too, but it is a little more difficult. And, certain benefits are easier to negotiate than others. According to Hood, "As an HR professional, I will be honest in that sometimes it is harder to negotiate the benefits package particularly depend- ing upon the size of the organization. "For example, it is very unlikely that you are able to negotiate your health insurance premium rate as well, it is unlikely that you would even be able to negotiate a waiting period for benefits to start." Those two aspects of that particular benefit may be set by company policy and cannot be changed. Now, vacation or paid time- off may be an area you are able to negotiate on. However, as a first-time full-time employee, you most likely will not have a lot of leverage, but it never hurts to ask and if you have multiple offers that can make the negotiation process easier. Employers are typically very thoughtful in putting together their benefit packages, as they would like the best for their employees as well as they are trying to create consistency across their workforce. Benefits may not be the sole decision factor in taking a job offer, but they definitely need to be considered. Knowing what the employer 's benefit package consists of (with details), understanding the value of the benefits being offered, and knowing what is most important to you are the things you'll need to make an informed decision. BEYOND COMPETITIVE COMPENSATION BENEFITS EVALUATION • 401(k) or retirement planning • Vacation, Sick and Personal time or, Paid Time Off (PTO) • Paid holidays • Health insurance offerings • Long term and Short term dis- ability • Life insurance coverage • Family medical leave • Bereavement policy • Maternity leave • Wellness program • Gym membership benefit • Cell phone and computer policies • Advanced education reimbursement • Remote office location policy • Additional perks