Alzheimer’s Society has become the first organisation of 2023 – and only the second charity so far – to be awarded The Menopause Friendly Accreditation in recognition of its standards and practices that embrace menopause in the workplace.
The award follows an assessment of its practices by the Menopause Friendly Independent Panel.
The Menopause Friendly Accreditation is industry-recognised and sets out clear standards that must be met in order to gain it. Employers seeking accreditation must show evidence of their effectiveness in six key areas:
Policies & practices
Corinne Mills, Director of People at Alzheimer’s Society, commented:
“With one in four people experiencing serious menopause symptoms across society, it’s so important that our workplace is a friendly, supportive and understanding environment. Our Menopause Matters network is a safe space for staff to share resources, talk openly about their experiences and host guest speakers. In the 14 months since we established this network, we’ve seen 170 new members – that’s 10% of our workforce. We are so proud to have gained The Menopause Friendly Accreditation and to have our efforts recognised by the Menopause Friendly Independent Panel.”
As well as its own workforce, the charity holds in mind the fact that many of its partners, consumers and the wider community may be affected by menopause. Its understanding not just of the demographic of its workforce but the knock-on benefits to customers by being menopause friendly, was praised by the Independent Panel.
Other features of its application included:
A clear commitment to being menopause friendly at all levels of the senior management team, notably the CEO and HR Director
A culture of embedding menopause into its overall wellbeing, equality and diversity communications and initiatives
How its policies are brought to life and openly discussed
Its training plan
How it weaves menopause into other long term conditions that rely on open and trusting conversation
The success of its strategy to use its menopause friendly status to attract and recruit new employees who perceive this as a real asset to the organisation
In more detail, its initiatives include:
Perimenopause/menopause support guide: helps those experiencing menopauses, signposts to places to help and how to speak to their manager. It also has guidance for managers on how to support those experiencing menopause
Menopause Passport: this is to promote a discussion with their manager, it highlights the support needed and how they’re currently affected. This can be used to lead on to discussions of reasonable adjustments
Personal Wellness Plan: this is for anyone experiencing a shorter temporary change in their life circumstances which may affect their wellbeing. It’s also used to promote a discussion with their manager
A Menopause Matters Network, which has a dedicated Teams channel and Yammer group for members to share advice and support
Helen Normoyle, Independent Panel member, Menopause Friendly Accreditation said:
“We’re delighted to see Alzheimer’s Society achieve The Menopause Friendly Accreditation. Theirs was an excellent application and clearly demonstrated the difference they’ve made for their colleagues. There is a culture of being open and inclusive and it’s great to see menopause embedded within their workplace – both for colleagues and volunteers. Their menopause policy gives excellent suggestions for realistic workplace adjustments and support and they use a range of training and engagement methods to keep the education and awareness flowing. Quite simply, Alzheimer’s Society is an excellent example of a menopause friendly employer. Well done to all involved!”
Abbeyfield was the first charitable organisation to officially achieve the accreditation, back in September last year. It set up a cross-functional menopause taskforce and put a number of initiatives in place to demonstrate its commitment to being menopause friendly. These included creating a menopause policy and a dedicated section on the company intranet with a host of resources to tap into. Abbeyfield also ran online quizzes in all staff meetings and conducted surveys with staff to gauge levels of awareness.
To encourage open conversations about menopause, Abbeyfield also hosts regular ‘sofa sessions’ where staff can come together to talk about menopause, either face-to-face or virtually. The sessions are friendly and relaxed and open to everyone, from those experiencing menopause themselves, to those who want to find out more, perhaps to support a family member.
At the time, Paul Tennant, Abbeyfield CEO, said:
“As a sheltered housing and care provider, upwards of 80% of our workforce are female and over 40% of our female employees are over the age of 50. Alongside this, our residents can be as young as 55, so we see the wider benefit of promoting menopause awareness in terms of customer service provision. We recognise that menopause affects women in a variety of ways, and providing support around these issues is an ongoing priority for Abbeyfield.”