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Hi everyone. I've been preparing for my performance appraisal since the beginning of the year and now I'm stuck. Can anyone suggest an equation I can use to work out the monthly value of a perk (I know the original value of the item, which was a once-off purchase)?

Late last year I was promoted to a manager. I've been promoted 3 times in less than 3 years, but haven't seen much of an increase. I'm currently handling new responsibilities as well as old ones (my old position has been restructured to allow for 2 people to be hired, but that hasn't happened yet) and I handed over one specific task to someone else at the company. I also handed over the 'perk' to this person. My logic tells me that this perk formed part of my salary (correct me if I'm wrong, doesn't it fall under a cost-to-company)? The thing is, I have to wait until this meeting before I get an increase and discuss these matters.

Now I've learnt valuable lessons from MT regarding salaries and it isn't negotiation, however I've been holding my tongue for a while. Apologies if I sound as if I'm going to let rip in my interview. I won't, MT has taught me better! I am angry though, and thus have decided to prepare down to every *miniscule* detail.

tomw's picture

It depends on what the perk is.

Not everything has a real cash value to the employee and costs the company something. For example, most companies will pay for a health insurance premium, but will not give you the cash instead. It's "use it or lose it." You could also be on the company cell phone plan, using a pool of minutes that they pay for whether you are on the plan or not. It could also be some discount plan for buying computers through the company (that doesn't cost the company but saves you money on a purchase).

To me, a benefit only has a cash value if it costs the company and  saves me money somehow. For example: a tuition reimbursement plan where the company gives me some amount of money for school.

I've never heard of a benefit that a manager could just give to another person (which sounds like you lost it in the process). If that's the case, then you gave it up yourself. What is there to be angry about?

Doorag's picture

I'm assuming that the 'perk' must be something like an upgraded laptop or something that was better than average but was also needed for the lesser role. Now that they are no longer in the role it wouldn't make sense for them to have the item any longer.

That being said, I think there is a perceived loss of a 'perk' that was gained in the past. That feeling of 'loss' is what is causing the issue.

For example, let's say I'm the Managing Consultant for my company and as a perk in lieu of a salary increase I'm given a MacBook Pro instead of the normal PC laptop everyone else uses. Great! I'm happy at the time, and it's worth something to me.

Skip ahead some time and I've been made the Head of Professional Services. Great again! However, due to the new role I won't be able to use the MacBook any longer so I give it to the new manager taking my old position. I'm not given much of a salary increase in the new role - and I've now lost the 'perk' I had from before. DOH!

I don't know, but I think the "salary is not negotiable" relates to the interview process before you have the job. Once you are a known entity to the company, you have a much better position from which to negotiate. In the beginning, they don't have anything so they got nothing. Now that you are working there, they got something so they have something to lose. If you really are that good, then you may have an argument.

Now, back to the original question - I don't know how best to attribute value to the item. I would think about 'opportunity cost' if it's something that also helps productivity and use that as an argument to get a similar 'perk' - or - translate the less efficient option into the extra time it will take you to do your work and calculate value based on time.  

 David

"vultus districtus"

wen_30's picture

Hi guys, thanks for the help! TomW, I'm not angry about loosing the perk, I'm frustrated that something that helped me to do my work efficiently was taken away for no reason (I could explain this further...but I won't, since it's political). It is, by the way, a computer that was bought for $8000 (including software). Also, I think I'm a little angry at the fact that I get promoted but my salary doesn't increase in line with the responsibilities. It's a tough one, since everything else about the company is really great. As great as it is though, I really would prefer more cash in my back pocket at the end of the day.

Doorag, I think you hit the nail on the head there... to summarise, Doh! I'm going to calculate out how much extra time I used the machine to work with, and get to a value from there. I suppose it's either that or a replacement machine. The one thing that has changed is that when I go home I now have a life, so in the case of "opportunity lost," I think that's one for the company.

Thanks for the advise guys, I didn't mean to come across as sounding arrogant in a "I'm that good," kind of way, I just REALLY don't earn much, and I'm busting my balls here. Next step: work on my negotiation skills.

jhack's picture

Sounds like you're unhappy because your responsibilities have grown faster than your compensation.  The perk is just a symbol you can latch onto.  Perks are definitely not "salary."  They only have value if you value them.  They may or may not cost your employer; your chair and desk cost the employer, but few would consider them "perks." 

You passed it on (good for you!) and so forget about it.  It's irrelevant now. 

Find out what you're worth in the market.  Go to salary.com and the job boards, look for pay scales that match your responsibilities. That's what you're worth in the market.  If you're grossly underpaid, you may have to consider changing employers.  If you're at or above market value, you can pat yourself on the back and relax. 

A lot of folks have seen their wages stagnate over the last two years (bad economy and all that).  You're not alone.  If you plan to ask for more, you have to make a good case for it, and you absolutely cannot use ultimatums, counter-offers and the like.  You have to prove your performance, show your value, and know what the market will bear.  How (or whether) you can talk about these with your boss depends on your boss and the relationship between the two of you.  

Don't forget to make sure your review is well-prepared: 

http://www.manager-tools.com/2006/07/preparing-for-your-review-part-1-of-2

John Hack

wen_30's picture

Thanks Jhack, that's solid advice. On the American market I'm worth about over 5 x my annual salary (at the absolute lowest comparison). Wow. Of course, this information can only be applied within reason, and I'm investigating locally. As a high C, you can bet on me having a well-prepared review, and as it turns out, I now have a lot more preparation to do (which is great)! Thanks again, everyone.

tomw's picture

A computer is definitely not a perk that's part of your salary. I was thinking maybe a car or something, but I can't think of any way that a computer would count.

5X your salary? That sounds really extreme, like you're making minimum wage for a middle- to upper-manager job... or by "On the American market", do you mean that you're in another country and you could make that much more in the US?

Even with an awesome pile of data, that's going to be hard to sell to management. Like a fine collector's item, your position is only worth what someone will actually pay for it. What's in the book and what you could actually get are two different things. If there are no job openings in the field, it's really hard to say "I could get paid this somewhere else" when there are no job openings that would actually allow you to do so.

kingdave's picture

If you are given additional responsibilities without an increase in benefits, is it really a promotion or are you just getting dumped on?  I agree that the fancy computer wasn't actually a perk, as nice as it must have been.

I don't know if this is kosher according to MT experts, but depending on how long it's been since you were promoted, how well you've performed since then, and if it's going to be a long time before your review, I might consider approaching my superior about a raise. I would not mention the computer situation in the scenario. That is a completely separate issue about having the tools to do your job effectively.  But before you have this preemptive strike with a salary increase, be absolutely sure you are right on target (if not ahead) on your annual goals and that everything is caught up so that there is virtually nothing that you can to do hold yourself back. Now, you may still get a "no", but at least it won't be your own fault.  I'd also ask for feedback on what you can do better in your new role.

You might take my advice with a grain of salt, I'm not that experienced, but I have asked for raises (outside of a review) at 2 different jobs, and I get them both times.  Good luck!