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When it comes to HIV does size count?
Tuesday, April 6, 2010

We have just completed totally redesigning the SABCOHA HIV and TB Workplace toolkit.  SABCOHA are the premier collective organisation of business in South Africa fighting HIV in the workplace.  While membership is open to any business that subscribes to their objectives, the bulk of their membership fees, based on a sliding scale, probably comes from the larger corporates.


Through no fault of the organisation, it is often also these corporates that make the greatest advancements in fighting against HIV at the workplace.  But surprisingly, the business, cash flow and credit of these companies are not necessarily the most vulnerable to this scourge.  Think about it.  If a percentage of your employees will succumb to HIV in the next five years, and you employ several thousand people, your business will need to replace these individuals.  But if you are going to lose the same percentage of your staff, and you employ ten or twenty people, the impact of losing these staff members is likely to be a lot greater in the smaller business. 


So when it came to redesigning the toolkit, we recognised that this might be an issue that the toolkit needed to address.  How can a smaller company, with limited resources, limited finance and limited time, commit to implementing a programme that can help their employees? 


After several attempts of varying designs, we came up with a phased or a ladder approach.  An effective HIV workplace programme is made up of several components.  We took each separate component and broke it into parts that complemented one another and needed a similar level of investment in terms of time and money.  We then regrouped these into programmatic steps that businesses of any level can choose to implement in a step-by-step process of building a programme that is designed specifically around the unique needs of the individual workplace. 


So does size matter? 


Does it mean that only the bigger companies can do something worthwhile? 

Definitely not!