Our Relationship Capital - Stakeholder Engagement

Meeting the needs, interests and expectations of all of our stakeholders and applying new energy to our engagement approach after a difficult period dominated by lockdowns and remote working, is intended to strengthen the foundation of our relationships.

Strong relationships and ongoing engagement with all our key stakeholders are paramount to the ongoing sustainability of our operations and value creation. Stakeholder management has therefore been elevated to a strategic level to manage stakeholder relations and oversee this area more holistically, ensuring we meet expectations and strengthen the quality of our relationships.

Stakeholder engagement is monitored by the Governance, Social and Ethics Committee. We have applied new energy behind the engagement with donor structures to ensure that they remain engaged after a difficult period dominated by lockdowns and remote working.

Stakeholder surveys are undertaken from time to time. Emphasis on these will increase going forward. We initiated the process of revising the stakeholder map using the Power Interest approach (see graphic) to identify, assess and prioritise stakeholders.

  • The recommended approach focuses on two dimensions:
    • the stakeholder’s influence/power on the organisation; and
    • the stakeholder’s interest in the organisation.
  • These two dimensions are plotted using a simple rating scale, resulting in the grouping of stakeholders in four quadrants as set out below
  • The strategy for the stakeholders in each of the quadrants will be different, with the key focus area being the top right quadrant (high influence/power and high interest)
  • Stakeholder engagement plans and concrete communication strategies will be developed and led by business process owners

Categorisation of the stakeholders and key issues

Influence/Power of stakeholder High Power, Low interest [Meet their needs,Keep satisfied] High Power, High Interest [Key player, Engage closely]
  • nDoH – Sufficient, quality blood products; Improved patient outcomes
  • SAHPRA – SANBS commitment to achieving and maintaining appropriate transfusion medicine-related quality standards
  • SANAS – SANBS commitment to achieving and maintaining appropriate transfusion medicine-related quality accreditation
  • Media – Education and awareness; Accurate and effective communication
  • Blood donors – Excellent donor experience
  • National council – Election of the Board; Appropriate governance
  • Medical aids – Sufficient, quality blood products; Accurate and timely billing
  • Doctors – Sufficient, quality blood products
  • The Board – Meeting strategic objectives; Improved governance and ethics
  • Employees – Reward and recognition; Safe working environment; Growth and development; Job security
  • Unions – Fair and equitable remuneration and working conditions; Employee safety
  • Suppliers – Payment for goods and services; Fair and transparent procurement practices
Low Power, Low interest [Least important, Minimal effort] Low Power, High Interest [Show Consideration,Keep informed]
  • ISBT, AfSBT, WHO, AABB – National and international collaboration
  • Patients – Sufficient, quality blood products
  • Branch and Zone Donor Committees – Donor interests and wellness; Donor recruitment
  • WCBS – Collaboration in national blood product and service delivery; Ensuring blood product availability
  • Nurses – Sufficient, quality blood products
Interest of stakeholders

We group our stakeholders as follows:

  • Employees – Include the people we employ, our Board and the unions that represent our people. Given the important role of each of these stakeholders – details are provided below
  • Donors – These comprise anyone who donates blood, the donor structures including National Council, Zone Donor Committees and branch donor committees. We describe the relationship with blood donors separately below
  • Regulators – Comprises of the National Department of Health, SANAS, SAHPRA and the ISO Standards
  • Medical fraternity – Includes anyone who accesses our products or services including doctors, nurses and patients
  • Funders/Payers – Medical aid schemes, Treasury, Regional DoH
  • Suppliers Procuring sources
  • SA and international blood partners – Local and international health and transfusion medicine

The information that follows describes our frequency of engagement with our stakeholders, their needs, interests and expectations, risks and opportunities and how we respond to these. We also provide our assessment of the current relationship against a desired relationship and give details of the status of current engagements with our various stakeholders.


SANBS Employees, Ongoing engagement

Metrics used to measure quality of relationships: DNA culture score, Employee surveys, 360° feedback & THREAD value alignment

Current Relationahip: Good | Desired Relationship: Trusted | Responsible: Executive Management

Stakeholder needs, interests and expectations
  • Appropriate reward and recognition
  • Conducive and safe working environment/ interesting work
  • Job security
  • Growth and development
  • Transformation
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Diversification of work/interesting work
  • Integration
  • Remote and/or Working From Home (WFH) capability
  • Regard for overall personal wellness
  • Workplace free of any harassment
Key risks
  • Loss of key employees
  • Disengaged employees and underperformance
  • Poor labour relations
  • Damage to SANBS reputation by disengaged employees
  • Lack of disclosure or transparency
  • Poor organisational culture to give effect to strategy
  • Inability to attract appropriately qualified employees
  • Empower and engage
  • Skills development
  • Diverse and inclusive workforce
  • Multiskilling – cross functional teamwork
  • Performance management
  • Recognition and reward
  • Building trust
  • Reinforcing a culture of appointing/ promoting from within
  • Appointment of scarce skills externally when necessary
SANBS response
  • Talent management – promotions from within are prioritised
  • Succession planning
  • People transformation programme
  • Effective performance management system
  • Role enhancements
  • SANBS employee engagement through annual DNA measure
  • 360° feedback
  • Remuneration policy updates
  • Heightened disclosure in Integrated Report
  • Remote working policy
  • Virtual training and Learning Cafe
  • Voluntary vaccination policy
  • SANBS Academy supporting all learning and development
  • Ethics and culture programme implementation
  • Purposeful wellness programmes
  • Pipeline workforce planning
  • Improved/accelerated talent acquisition and onboarding
Status of current engagements
  • SANBS’ DNA process – In the 2022/2023 cycle 1 986 employees participated in the process (FY22: 1 997) and in our final score, we achieved 1.25 (FY22: 1.26) 297 leaders and specialists completed a 360° assessment to help ensure sustainable leadership capability (FY22: 488)
  • We continue to embrace the 360° process and feedback is constructive and included in the leader individual development plan and incorporated into the succession planning process
  • Leadership development focus remains on building self-awareness and being results driven


Regular engagement

Metrics used to measure quality of relationships: Board evaluations

Current Relationahip: Good | Desired Relationship: Trusted | Responsible: CEO and Company Secretary

Stakeholder needs, interests and expectations
  • Relevant, accurate and timeous information and reporting
  • Achievement of strategic objectives
  • Improved governance and ethics
  • Sustainability
Key risks
  • Lack of transparency
  • Inaccurate reporting
  • Under performance
  • Poor decision making
  • Potential liability for directors
  • Integrated business planning
  • Digitalisation
  • Organisational alignment and transformation
  • Creation of blood committee
  • Performance management
SANBS response
  • Improved planning and communication
  • Performance reviews
  • Business scorecard reporting
  • Revised and improved committee and Board Terms of Reference and Work Plans
  • Ethics and Culture Programme a prioritised business project
  • Governance framework reviewed
  • Board evaluations
  • Joint strategy and planning sessions
Status of current engagements
  • Board/Exco strategy and risk workshops held with good discussion resulting in revised strategic risk register
  • Regular feedback on corporate scorecard and SANBS progress on strategic projects provided by CEO at Board meetings
  • Board and committee packs submitted in good time prior to meetings


Unions,Ongoing engagement

Metrics used to measure quality of relationships: No strikes, Number of grievances and disciplinaries & Time taken for wage negotiations

Current Relationahip: Good | Desired Relationship: Trusted | Responsible: Chief Human Capital Officer

Stakeholder needs, interests and expectations
  • Fair and equitable working conditions
  • Employee safety and security
  • Annual wage negotiations
  • Transparency
  • Consultation
  • Fair and equitable remuneration
Key risks
  • Misaligned expectations
  • Poor labour relations
  • Negative publicity
  • Reputation damage
  • Improved working conditions
  • Improved trust relationship
  • Improved engagement and planned meetings
  • Greater understanding of SANBS’ environment
  • Further transparency in Integrated Report to build trust
SANBS response
  • Dedicated and intentional time for labour partners
  • Bargaining forum meetings
  • Long-term agreements
  • Communication improvement through structured engagements
  • DNA formula
  • 360° assessment
  • Remuneration policy
  • Disclosure of remuneration in Integrated Report
Status of current engagements
  • Healthy relationship between business and the unions
  • Annual salary negotiations and process salary increases, without the dispute being referred to the CCMA for mediation
  • Involved the unions in one of our biggest Digi projects, BECS to be our champions of change


Blood donors, Ongoing engagement

Metrics used to measure quality of relationships: Donor feedback/surveys

Current Relationahip: Good | Desired Relationship: Trusted | Responsible: Executive management

Stakeholder needs, interests and expectations
  • Adequate donor health and education
  • Donor satisfaction levels
  • Consultation
  • Fair and equitable treatment
Key risks
  • Shrinking national potential donor pool
  • Donation-related adverse events/ outcomes
  • Dissatisfied donors
  • Donor retention
  • Reputation of SANBS
  • Sustainability
  • Diversified donor pool
  • Pathogen inactivation
  • Increased conversion of first-time donors
  • Digitalisation
  • Donor education and experience (SANBS Journey of Blood)
SANBS response
  • Digitalisation
  • Donor-focused research
  • Donor satisfaction surveys
  • Donor rewards programme
  • Increased awareness regarding platelet donation
  • Donor wellness programme
Status of current engagements
  • The donor pool increased by 14% (FY22: 13%), a gain of 68 226 donors year-on-year. Of particular significance is the 39 665 gain in young donors, aged 16 to 25 years, impacting on sustainability of the donor pool
  • Donation frequency reduced from 1.9 donations in FY22 to 1.7 in FY23, impacted by the increased donor pool, thus also reducing our reliance on repeat donors and addressing the potential negative impact on donor health
  • The further impact on sustainability and potentially donor health was the additional 29 567 (increase of 28.7%) collections from new donors in FY23 when compared with FY22