Changing demographics, globalisation, generational gaps and inclusion of more women in the workforce have made diversity management a strategic business imperative. The benefits of diversity management include; increased ability to attract and retain best talent; a more engaged work force; enhanced creativity; enhanced productivity; and better appeal to a more global market. All contributing to sustainable growth.
Over the last two years, SWHAP, in collaboration with the University of South Africa (UNISA), has been working on a strategy for mainstreaming gender and social diversity into existing HIV, health and wellness programmes. During workplace dialogues held in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe almost all companies participating agreed that this strategic direction was key towards the sustainability of their HIV, health and wellness interventions, and important in helping them to address sustainability priorities at workplace and community levels.
Building on the mainstreaming efforts and in preparation for the next phase of the SWHAP, a pilot Diversity Programme was launched in South Africa on 5 April. The aim of the Programme is to help partners ensure consistency of implementation of diversity policies and strategies using existing HIV and wellness programmes. Using social dialogue, the pilot will provide a baseline assessment identifying the risks and diversity environments within select organisations after which a strategy for sustainable economic development will be created. The Programme will encompass three phases; awareness and sensitisation on diversity within HIV, health and wellness; alignment and review to map and profile diversity elements of each organisation; and finally, implementation (including mobilisation for stakeholder participation) and monitoring and evaluation.
Five organisations including the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) will participate in the pilot. Already, NUMSA, Volvo and Quant have held their launch activities.