How did you start the menopause conversation?
We began talking about menopause at Sellafield in 2018 as a result of the personal experiences of members of our workforce highlighting the lack of awareness, guidance and support we offered. We hosted our first workshop the same year. The feedback was so good that we ran a second workshop in early 2019 targeting women working in the community aged 40 plus.
We followed up with a workplace survey to make sure we were delivering the appropriate support and answering the right questions.
Our next step was to appoint an executive sponsor for menopause to demonstrate that this was a critical business initiative that would help us to foster an enduring fair and equitable environment for all our people rather than a one off ‘nice to have’ wellbeing project.
Later in 2019 The Sellafield Menopause Action & Support Group was founded. Their vision is to support women managing the impact of menopause in the workplace by ensuring fair and equitable treatment by leaders, managers and colleagues so they continue to thrive at work, home and play. We now have 72 members both male and female.
What training and awareness have you offered to open up the menopause conversation to all your people at Sellafield?
To mark World Menopause Day in 2020 we hosted a virtual online event including a question panel, fun quiz, live Pilates lesson and advice on good nutrition for menopause. We invited Julie to deliver the key note talk for the event and colleagues joined us online from different parts of the company.
In partnership with Julie we’ve also launched a menopause online awareness briefing so all staff can get an understanding of what menopause is, typical symptoms and choices for managing those symptoms. There’s also advice for supporting colleagues and partners. This means that staff and managers can openly communicate about a topic that can affect any of us at work or home.
It was important to us that the briefing was tailored to Sellafield’s mission and manifesto and was inclusive of employees across all our locations, in all types of work, including those working over the barrier.
We are now the proud host of a brilliant online training that is creating positive behaviours and conversations about menopause through Sellafield.
How did your employees respond?
The response from employees has been overwhelmingly positive right from the start. The early workshops were full to capacity and nearly 100 employees joined our online celebrations for World Menopause Day in 2020.
The feedback has been amazing with over 80% of attendees from our World Menopause Day celebrations saying they’d recommend the event to a colleague or manager.
In 2021 we’ll be delivering menopause training for managers and team leaders to help them understand the topic in the context of work and to ensure they are well placed to support their team and promote a positive and supportive culture.
Ultimately what we’re trying to do is normalize menopause and the quickest way to do that is to get people comfortable talking about it.
What would you say to other organisations who are considering how to introduce menopause as an inclusive topic?
If you believe like we do that all employees deserve the opportunity to realise their full potential that has to include promoting an environment of openness and transparency where it’s ok to talk about menopause.
When you work with an expert like Julie who takes the time to understand what’s important to your organisation you quickly define a clear purpose that we can all work towards together.