In the past few decades corporations have started to include unique benefits in order to attract (and keep) the best employees. This can vary from luxury perks such as free video gaming at Facebook to something simple simple like a free gym membership. Hey at Googleplex you can get a free haircut, workout, or even a medical checkup.
In any case we see that businesses are competing for the best talent out there and as a result are conscientiously caring for the welfare of their employees. This effect is transcending the corporate setting to smaller businesses of all shapes and sizes across the world.
In Africa one of the most difficult problems to cope with as a continent has been the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Though many steps have been taken to bring cheaper medicine and safe sex practices to each critical area, many businesses just cannot cope with losing valuable employees to the disease.
Enter Anglo American mining, the corporation which offers to keep you AIDS free and alive longer. Coal mining is one of the few industries where the employee turnover is very little (about 2.4% for Anglo). That is because coal miners have a sense for the structure of the mine and some must know how to operate complicated and essential machinery. This makes miners of any kind hard to replace. Consequently many miners in African countries are migrant and often experience harsher conditions, like living in hostels surrounded by prostitutes. Miners therefore have a greater propensity to contract HIV/AIDS, something which Anglo cannot afford.
Anglo offers free voluntary testing every year and offers free medicine for those who turn positive for the virus. Falling drug prices and greater marketing of free testing has led to a drop in positive tests for Anglo by over 60%.
There is proof that big business wants what’s best for their employees! Hallelujah, but is this type of welfare sustainable?
Can businesses really help eradicate other diseases if they just cared a bit more?