Employee Perspective: HIV/AIDS Education at LS&Co.

Levi Strauss & Co.
February 11, 2015

For the past 3 years, HR Generalist Celia Baverel from our Brussels office has led the implementation of our LS&Co. employee HIV/AIDS education activities in our stores across Europe. Here’s her take on the experience:

While the HIV/AIDS epidemic has stabilized in recent years in many European countries, unfortunately, in Belgium as in many other countries, there are new HIV infections every day. STIs are also on the rise, meaning that less attention may be given to prevention and protection. Therefore it is critical to keep on tackling these questions. But addressing HIV/AIDS is not just an issue of knowledge and prevention. It is our corporate responsibility to foster a supportive work environment, fight stigma and discrimination, and remind employees that HIV/AIDS is not over.

Educating our employees about HIV is one of the pillars of our Employee HIV/AIDS Program. Every Fall, our challenge is to put in place a new fun, interesting and interactive activity to engage and educate our employees in stores, regardless of what country they are working in.

In 2014, we rolled out a brand new activity to encourage dialogue around HIV/AIDS in our stores. This year’s activities were based on customized HIV-related scenarios illustrating situations encountered in different LS&Co. settings and locations. Specifically, we focused on: improving HIV/AIDS-related workplace support, improving HIV/AIDS knowledge and access, reducing HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination, and improving confidentiality of health status at work.

As an HR professional, working with our retail employees has always been an amazing experience. Working together on HIV/AIDS adds a totally new perspective to this partnership. It gives us the chance to take a step back from the daily business and shine a light on our company’s core values, at the heart of our response to HIV/AIDS.

Collaborating with my colleagues in each country across Europe has been a very rewarding experience. Our goal is to ensure the best program roll-out possible, while juggling other business priorities and managing cultural differences. What I love most is to hear feedback from the field. There is nothing more valuable!

I strongly believe changing times should never affect our commitment to this cause. Our company is well-known for its longtime leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS and I am truly honored to be part of it. I’ve been learning a lot within this role, about HIV/AIDS itself of course but also about humans, perceptions, empathy and respect. It really helps me become more humble.

Levi's store in Prague, Czech Republic

Levi’s store in Prague, Czech Republic

Levi's store in Rosendall, Netherlands

Levi’s store in Rosendall, Netherlands