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How To Offer Company Benefits That Are Recession-Proof

2020 was an unprecedented year. We all know that. The year prior, in 2019, the economy and the job market were on the rise. Things looked promising. Before a pandemic changed the game, the country was seeing impressive growth and low unemployment rates. Despite this growth, economists and financial advisors were all predicting another recession. 

Even when a global pandemic doesn’t shake the world’s economy, recessions happen cyclically. While they’re impossible to exactly predict, economists know that a recession is always likely to happen, regardless of the cause. 

The Great Recession of 2008 was a lesson learned for many companies. Cutting back on wages and benefits is a surefire way to lose your top talent. And these folks are crucial in retaining during a recession. Because of this, it’s important to make sound investments in your employees and offer recession-proof benefits that will retain top performers -- even when the economy is in a lull. 

Benefits often become one of the first things to cut back on when a company is faced with economic hardships. Bonuses are reduced. Wages become stagnant. And crucial company benefits like healthcare and retirement are revisited by the organization’s leadership. 

So what do we mean by recession-proof? Offering efficient and low-cost benefits to your workforce can ensure that you’ll be able to keep benefits intact even when the economy takes an expected (but often forecasted) turn for the worst. Even if you’re not operating one of the recession-proof businesses, you can still set your company up for success when the market is low. 

So let’s dive into some ways in which you can recession-proof the benefits you offer to your employees. 

Invest in Technology to Manage Benefits 

SaaS companies (software as a service) have many options for employers. For example, by investing in employee benefits technology like Helpr, you’re able to gain resources for a suite of care benefits for your employees, while also saving money. Tools like Helpr allow a third party to manage the care benefit you offer without the large costs associated with managing such a robust benefit. 

There are also similar technologies in other benefits outside of the care benefit, that will likely save you money in the long term, and keep the benefits low-cost. Some of the best company benefits to offer can be managed with third-party technology.

Separate Benefits From Culture-Adds 

Employee benefits are things that employees can utilize to improve and maintain their lives. This includes basic needs like healthcare, vision, and dental, retirement savings, childcare benefits, and other subsidies you offer your employees. 

This differs greatly from offering perks like a company happy hours, fair-trade coffee, and whether the office is dog-friendly. When you’re in a recession, it’s important for employees to understand that their benefits won’t be affected by sudden economic situations. 

When you separate the benefits from the company culture add-ons, employees know which are HR-approved and which may fluctuate based on cash flow. While it’s best to keep everything you’ve offered your employees, sometimes it’s not always possible, especially in extreme situations like the recession of 2020. 

Create Workplace Belonging

Employers are being challenged to confront diversity and equity issues within their organizations. Whether an employee feels they belong in the company is a huge indicator of their retention and overall happiness in the company. Companies that neglect team member’s unique and distinct needs often suffer in retaining and recruiting top talent. 

This leaves companies in a cycle of turnover whether they’re in a recession or not. But creating a workplace in which everyone feels they belong is possible when you set the intention and put in the work. 

One way to foster belonging in the workplace is to start and promote Employee Resource Groups or ERGs. These can be support and resource groups for employees of different backgrounds. For example, you can have a parent ERG, a black ERG, Latinx ERG, or women ERG. 

ERGs are a great way for employees to feel connected with others at work and feel seen in a shared lived experience both within the company and outside of work. Employees who feel connected to the company and other team members are more likely to stay even when a recession hits profits and overall performance. 


Preparing your employee benefits to be recession-proof will help you recruit and retain a team that both cares about your mission, vision, and values, and the team members they’re working alongside. 

Investing in technology to ease the cost burden of cumbersome benefits, distinguishing between company culture perks and employee benefits, and fostering a sense of belonging among your staff are all ways you can create recession-proof benefits at your organization.