While it’s not new for HR to be asked to do more with less, the task is especially challenging right now—and especially widespread. According to a recent Gartner report, 25% of HR budgets shrunk for 2023, compared to 12% in 2022. At the same time, the need to cut costs is in direct conflict with both employees’ heightened expectations and the rise of more non-traditional benefit offerings, like family-forming allowances and mental-health services, as tools to drive engagement and retention.

So what happens when economic uncertainty is pushing some offerings out of reach, despite the fact that their value to employers—and the demand for them—remains strong? Here are three decision-making strategies and frameworks to help guide your thinking:

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