Carnival UK hosts menopause awareness sessions as part of women’s health month

Carnival UK

A cruise holiday organisation held line manager and employee menopause awareness sessions as part of its women’s health month in May.

Carnival UK has 1,400 employees based at its UK head office and around 15,000 working across its fleet of 10 ships. The company designed its women’s health month to form part of a 12-month wellbeing strategy, as well as to align with one of Carnival UK’s key organisational values: to be a hero of safe and well.

Menopause education providers Henpicked delivered line manager training and employee awareness sessions. Some 61 female staff attended two sessions about what they could expect as they aged, when the menopause can start, what the possible medical and natural treatment options are and how to get the most from a GP appointment. The hour-long sessions also signposted further information and official medical guidelines.

Claire Buckingham, senior manager, occupational health and wellbeing at Carnival UK, says: “[Employees] were really engaged with the sessions. It must have been a comfortable environment because everyone was talking about their own experiences, which helped other ladies who are also having [menopause symptoms].”

A total of 97 line managers took part in four hourly sessions which focused on their responsibilities, the importance of good team communications, what reasonable adjustments could be considered for women with severe menopausal symptoms, and how to liaise with the organisation’s in-house occupational health service, set up in April 2017.

Examples of possible reasonable adjustments included flexible working, access to desk fans and the organisation’s employee support line, as well as to the organisation’s quiet room.

For staff aboard Carnival UK’s ships, line managers and employees still had access to the toolkits, presentations and guides used in the sessions at head office. A video was also played  on the crew’s television channel and on the staff intranet to ensure that both shore and sea-based employees could access the information. “It was quite a complex campaign, which meant we had to think about lots of different ways of getting our message across,” explains Buckingham.

HR managers aboard Carnival UK’s ships had some creative freedom around how they delivered women’s health month. One ship, for example, hosted a menopause party for female employees. This included the onboard spas providing treatments, and employees talking about menopausal symptoms and women’s health.

The women’s health month also featured sessions on breast cancer, ovarian cancer and how to increase physical activity.

As part of its 12-month wellbeing strategy, Carnival UK attempts to hold a large, month-long event every quarter. Previously, the organisation has held a mental health awareness month and a Clear Desk, Clear Mind event. This included ergonomic assessments, physio appointments and information on musculoskeletal conditions. The company is now planning a men’s health month in November.

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