HR Strategy

Preparing for a recession: Tips for employers 

April 18, 2023

It’s hard to ignore the potential of a recession growing across Canada. While it can be a tough topic to discuss, it’s one that businesses can’t afford to sweep aside. Recessions are unpredictable, but when they do hit, they can be devastating for both employers and employees. Now is the time to start thinking about how your business might navigate a recession and taking the next steps to prepare.

This potential recession is somewhat unique because it’s coming during a time of tight labour markets. Many organizations are already struggling with key HR initiatives, which makes preparation even more crucial. This is one of those situations where you can hope for the best, but you want to make sure you plan for the worst. Being proactive means you will be prepared if or when a recession arrives and be able to bounce back stronger afterwards. So what does recession preparation involve? At its core, it’s about understanding, planning, and communicating.


To prepare for a potential recession, it’s best to start by developing an accurate understanding of your company’s position. Gather a full understanding of your organizational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. From there, you can begin to develop strategic plans that are tailored to your organization’s needs.


A recession will affect every business differently, so consider your unique needs in every step of your planning. To prevent the situation from reaching a breaking point, plan for the worst, which includes the unfortunate potential for layoffs. Plans should include an HR strategy that reduces or postpones layoffs whenever possible.


Recessions are a stressful and tense time for everyone. Open and honest communication is key to ensuring your organization can survive the hardships of a recession. Employees may be uncertain about their future and their financial wellbeing, so empathy is also crucial. Even when it’s tough, being transparent with your employees will ultimately help you build trust that can last well after the recession is over.

Five recession planning tips for employers

To help you further prepare, our experts have put together five tips on how to plan for a potential recession. In this guide, we discuss SWOT analyses, change management strategies, managing layoffs, and much more. Download our FREE Recession Planning Guide to get started!