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October 2022: How Leicestershire County Council is becoming menopause friendly

Leicestershire County Council tell us what they’ve been doing to become an award-winning menopause friendly employer.

Leicestershire County Council logo

Congratulations to Leicestershire County Council for their recent success at the inaugural Menopause Friendly Employer Awards run by Menopause Friendly and supported by the CIPD.

The council won the Best Trained Workplace award and was a finalist in the Menopause Friendly Employer of the Year award and Best Trained Workforce.

Mandy Baughurst from their Learning and Development Team was the Community Award Winner on the night. Very well done to her!

We interviewed Mandy to hear about the work she’s been doing since she wrote a blog for us a few years ago.

Congratulations Mandy. Why was it important for Leicestershire to become a Menopause Friendly Employer?

Originally, I was inspired to do something after attending a menopause event. It’s easy to think of menopause as a wellbeing issue, but we know that some people consider resigning because of the impact of their menopause symptoms on their ability to work so it’s also a diversity issue.

For the majority of people, menopause happens around the age of 51 and if senior women feel unable to continue working after so many years of experience, it’s not just a loss of talent but it could also affect our diversity at senior levels and impact on our gender pay gap. This got me thinking about our high percentage of female workers and whether this was relevant and important to them.

I was really surprised but encouraged by how enthusiastically staff have welcomed the opportunity to learn and share information about living and working with menopause systems, so we’ve looked at supporting this in lots of different ways. It’s the work I get the most positive feedback from, staff who are really grateful that the support is there.

What does being a menopause friendly employer look like at Leicestershire County Council?

We want everyone to feel comfortable, confident and open about who they are and to be able to talk openly about issues affecting them at work, whether that’s menopause symptoms or juggling caring responsibilities, or managing other long term health conditions or disabilities. 

As a menopause friendly employer, we want to create an environment where those who are experiencing menopause symptoms feel confident to ask for support at work and their managers understand how they can offer support, and together they can work out ways to help staff feel able to keep doing their brilliant work.

To do this we’ve run training courses and published guidance and videos to help people understand more about what the menopause is and its impact at work. We’ve helped staff to support one another through Yammer groups and be able to talk to specially trained Health and Wellbeing Advisers.

It’s great to see the progress we’re making. We’ve had excellent feedback, including:

“After attending the brilliant menopause workshop, I felt equipped with the knowledge to approach my GP for HRT medication.”

“The support received from LCC is fabulous regarding the menopause and it should be as it will affect so many workers. I applaud the Council for being so proactive in this area”

“One of the best events I’ve been to, and I have told lots of friends about it and encouraged them to address this in their workplace.”

Out of those who responded to the last menopause survey:

  • 74 per cent of managers had a conversation with an employee regarding menopause
  • 98 per cent of managers stated that they were more aware of the menopause
  • 92 per cent of staff had attended a menopause awareness workshop.

What are you planning next for this work?

I’m so pleased that we won the Best Trained Workforce award at the recent Menopause Friendly Employer Awards but I’m ambitious to do more. We need to support our staff and managers to keep talking!

We’ll continue our communication around the menopause in recruitment materials and guidance for staff and managers to make sure it is embedded into practice and all staff are aware of it as a resource. 

And we’ll be doing more training. We are just about to launch a Menopause Champion Programme to be the point of contact for staff and managers to get support and guidance. Plus, we’re adding more resources to our learning hub and these will continue to be available.

We’ll also be sharing our learning on our work with other public sector organisations at the Public Services People Managers Association conference in the new year. 

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