Jackie Williams: What benefits do you offer to support employees through the menopause?

menopauseAt HSBC, First Direct and M&S Bank, we have worked on a number of different areas to ensure that our menopause support reaches all employees. From the start we have had a number of senior and executive leaders, both male and female, actively demonstrate their support by hosting events, sharing their own experiences and speaking about the topic publicly. This has really helped to break the taboo and create awareness.

In order to generate better understanding of what the menopause is and how it impacts us, we provide an online learning module which is suitable for workers at any level. As a group we also deliver live awareness sessions which are often tailored to the needs of the specific business area and team.

Throughout the year, we run a series of events to encourage employee engagement and explore specific topics of interest. These vary from informal lunch-and-learn groups to large scale events where senior leaders have shared their personal experience. More recently we have been working with a qualified medical practitioner in our sessions to provide expert insight to key topics such as HRT and the associated risks.

We have also provided specific support for employees within our existing Bupa healthcare services. It provides a Menohealth Line which is free to all staff and a digital GP service that is also available to everyone who has signed up to the healthcare plan.

During the last 12 months our HSBC branch uniform was redesigned and the range now carries a series of items in menopause-friendly fabrics and styles.

All our menopause guidance and information is available on the UK wellbeing hub intranet. This includes quick reference guides, three-step process, how to order a desk fan, upcoming events and recordings of past events. Our guidance also includes suggestions for reasonable adjustments which can be agreed between staff and their line managers to help manage the impact of menopause symptoms. This could be something as simple as sitting near the window, a change to start and finish times or taking regular breaks to aid concentration. We also issue a monthly newsletter to our menopause community and have a group mailbox that colleagues can use to reach out for support and ask questions.

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Our menopause support is underpinned by a small group of volunteers who secure funding, organise and facilitate events, maintain the information hub and continue to challenge boundaries and normalise menopause conversations at work.

Jackie Williams is menopause co-lead at HSBC UK