September 2019: Managing the menopause

Mandy Baughurst from the Learning and Development team at Leicestershire County Council tells us about attending a menopause event and introducing guidance on it into their organisation.

Leicestershire County Council logo

After attending the menopause event, I thought this should be something that we looked at more closely because in our council we have a high percentage of female employees who are over 45 years old. And although many of these women may go through the menopause without any problems, CIPD figures show that six out of ten women experiencing menopause symptoms say it has a negative impact on their work, to the point where some women will give up work. Yet despite how serious this is it remains a taboo subject.

I got in touch with the organisation Menopause in the Workplace who offered really helpful advice and guidance. Following this, the first thing we did was to run an event for managers and people affected by the menopause, which had fantastic feedback. This encouraged us to do more events but with a slightly different format to include time for individuals to speak confidentially to specialist trainers on a one-to-one basis. And we’re really proud of a video we published called Menopause in Minutes which has been very popular, especially with managers because it provides lots of information in a short time.

To go with the video we’ve developed and launched our own guidance document on the menopause to explain more about it to our managers who may be unsure what is involved and to signpost staff to what support is available from the council and other organisations. 

We’ve also been encouraging colleagues to share information about their experiences through a closed menopause support group using Yammer on our intranet. And we’ve started facilitating drop-in group sessions and on-to-one appointments with our Health and Wellbeing Advisers. 

It has been great to see how all of this is helping people. We are starting to see the benefits of this work – I’ve certainly overheard more conversations about menopause at work than before and I’ve had more emails and enquiries about our guidance. Starting the conversation was one of the most important parts of this work because often this is the biggest hurdle to overcome. 

There are lots of relatively straightforward things we can do to help support women who are struggling to manage the symptoms of the menopause but many women keep this to themselves, maybe because they or their manager are embarrassed, they are not sure what is happening to them, or because they don’t know what can be done. So we’re going to continue to train our managers to be more confident about offering support at work and to add more resources for staff to our intranet to make sure that we keep that conversation going.

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