Wouldn't it be easier to prioritize the staff you already have rather than hire new staff due to the departures of staff members on trauma-related leave, burnout or premature separation? Wouldn't it be easier to prepare your staff for traumatic incidents, burnout and general stress? Wouldn't it be easier and cheaper to foster an environment where there is a genuine balance between work and personal life?
Building the capacity of staff to respond to the various stresses of field life, including traumatic/critical incidents, renders staff more resilient. Research shows that adequate preparation for the challenges and even horrors of field life results in decreased psychological injury and greater staff retention. It is the role of the employer to ensure that adequate steps are in place to render staff more resilient and, thus, able to enjoy longer, more fulfilling, healthier careers and, in turn, more effective projects for communities in need.
But, it shouldn't stop there. Employees who feel supported and whose personal lives are respected tend to speak positively of their employers (free advertising!) and produce more, better qualified work than those who feel under-supported or who feel that their personal lives are not valued.
- Look around at other organizations, agencies, and even for-profit businesses to see models that you might like to replicate in your workplace.
- Ask your staff members and those you supervise directly what they might like to see change in your workplace.
- Think about what YOU would like in your life and to try to ensure the same in the lives of your colleagues.
- Start making necessary changes and providing office-wide training to ensure positive change happens NOW.
- Offer your staff incentives to encourage work-life balance in your workplace.