Getting everyone talking about menopause is an important part of Sainsbury’s diversity and inclusion strategy.
Sainsbury’s vision is to be the most trusted retailer where people love to work and shop.
Why was it important that we got people talking about menopause?
We know from listening to our colleagues that they didn’t always feel confident talking about menopause in the workplace. We have around 184,000 colleagues, and we know that around 34,000 are of menopausal age. It is therefore really important to provide great guidance for our Line Managers, so that they could have open and helpful conversations now and in the future.
Our goal was to encourage a more transparent environment, so colleagues felt supported and Line Managers knew where to go for information. We know that menopause isn’t just an issue for women.
We bought together a group of colleagues from across the business who were passionate about this and really wanted to make a difference. They were able to listen and to provide us feedback on what we were doing and quickly became our biggest advocates.
A three-phase approach
Our first phase was in August 2019. We began preparing to get conversations started, making sure we had support in place, raising awareness and bringing together our project team to agree what we wanted to achieve.
Phase two was the launch. It was important to us that we launched on a specific date, to create a line in the sand. We chose World Menopause Day on 18 October 2019, sharing an article on our intranet where colleagues shared their stories around the menopause and what it meant to them. We alsoheld menopause awareness sessions and launched all of our materials and held a Q and A session.
Phase three is all about our ongoing communication, keeping the conversation going and reviewing our materials. We are always looking at what’s next and what more can we do. All communications around menopause are weaved into other conversations we’re having to keep the conversation alive.
We knew it was important that we gave Line Managers the facts around menopause, working with Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace, we created a fact sheet that was really up to date and busted some of the myths around Menopause. We talked to our Line Managers about how they could best support their colleagues. We also created guidance documents and training for Line Managers
We launched a Yammer group which was helpful, for Line Managers and colleagues to share stories and ask questions.
Best-practice top tips
- Listen to your colleagues and create champions. Colleagues have answers and know what you need to do. If you’re large business, you can’t do it all by yourself. Find ambassadors, whatever age and gender, to start spreading your message.
- Involve senior leadership. This can raise the bar in terms of helping your project gain traction.
- Don’t underestimate the power of stories. Sharing stories and experiences is a great way to keep conversations going.
- Remember, it’s not just for women. Everyone needs to know about menopause, so think how to communicate to men and get them involved. We made sure men could share their experiences, too.
- Work with experts. We worked with Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace, and couldn’t recommend them enough. They know what they’re talking about and make it as easy as possible to make a difference.
- Start today. There’s no better time. Some colleagues will feel alone and it’s reassuring to them to know that they’re not. Have a plan and get started. Once you do, you’ll see what a huge difference it can make.
Have you got everyone talking about menopause?
Author: Sarah Beisly is a Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Sainsbury’s