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Argument 1: It pays to support people (cost – benefit)

Purely from a business point of view, contrasting costs and benefits, supporting the supporters is a wise investment. The costs of investing in staff supports—creation of systems, monitoring, support personnel, training, team building and reflection opportunities, advice, adequate resourcing—are dwarfed by the benefits, and would be borne out by any cost-benefit analysis. Also bear in mind that there are many non-measurables that are not readily considered using this model, but would serve to tilt the scales even further in favour of the provision of support. In the words of Kate Riddell (Firefoxes) “How do you put a figure on inspiration and support given to others?”

Staff support leads to reduced turnover, reduced training costs, a more efficient organisation, increased job satisfaction, more experienced people in middle management… It is much smarter to train and support your people to be more resilient and understand how to recover from trauma - it is more cost effective. All the indications are that it is a more efficient way of operating… It is a good business model. If you include it then the best work will get done with the best people. Dr James Guy – Headington Institute.

If you have to pay salary for 3-6 months of recovery time, plus recruitment and salary costs of the person replacing, and the costs of psychological care, and if you run down your staff then you are not going to have good results and you are vulnerable to turn over which costs a lot. Versus the costs of establishing a staff care unit and performance goes up, motivation goes up, office team atmosphere improves, staff are healthier, not just the mental health aspects but also physically, you have a happier and healthier office and better quality of work… The numbers stack in favour of staff care. Johara Boukaa – World Vision

Investment in supporting the supporters yields the provision of quality support to those in the community, the ability to be able to sustain this support as needed, achievement toward the mission, integrity of organisational reputation, loyalty, role satisfaction, community trust (a vital asset in the recovery context), happier, healthier and more vibrant people, increased productivity and efficiency, reduced turn over and sick leave costs, reduced ‘treatment’ costs for burnout.... Supporting those with a role in recovery not only leads to the avoidance of costs, but yields additional benefits; longer lived results in terms of community recovery, increased capacity in the community, gaining an employee (or volunteer) for life, greater organisational capacity, discretionary effort, a sense of pride, drive for excellence, innovation, collaborative and consultative practices, the ability to capitalise on new opportunities, the ability to model health for those we support, the building of resilience and of leaders within the affected communities and within organisations which in turn generate benefits, creating a virtuous cycle…

The benefits are not just the flipside (of what happens if we don’t provide support). The difference you can make, the leverage, the increased capacity both for volunteers and for beneficiaries. It makes for a faster recovery, recovery that is long lived and greater longevity means greater resilience. If the workforce is properly supported and enabled they will be more resilient in doing their work and have more opportunities… Sarah Davidson – British Red Cross

Even if resources are scarce, staff support remains a priority and the principles can be creatively applied. So no matter the budget, in the words of Johara Boukaa (World Vision), “Even a small amount of support has a big impact.”