What is a Menopause Trainer?
Up until a few years ago, I didn’t even know that a Menopause Trainer was a thing. I certainly never in my wildest dreams thought I’d ever become one!
It wasn’t until after I’d resigned my long and happy career with the MoD in March 2018 that I realised just how much of an impact peri-menopause (the time leading up to the actual menopause) had had on my ability to cope with work.
Having struggled with stress, anxiety, brain fog and raging emotions for over 2 years, I had absolutely no idea that these were all symptoms of menopause. I knew I was getting hot flushes so put those down to ‘reaching that age’ but as for the other symptoms, I had no idea.
When I received a phone call from the HR Manager at RAF Air Command a few months after I’d resigned my job, asking if I would put together some menopause training to help educate some of their managers and female colleagues, I embarked on a journey that I never expected to travel.
I am now firmly convinced that had I received education about the menopause; what it is, when and why it happens, the vast range of symptoms and the impact they can have, and probably most importantly, what I and my employer could do to help deal with it, I probably would not have felt the need to leave my job.
With research suggesting that anywhere up to 25% of women going through peri-menopause and post menopause have considered leaving their career as a result of not coping with their symptoms, or feeling that they couldn’t talk to anyone at work about them, it would appear that my situation is not unique. The need for better education can’t be ignored.
What Do We Teach?
Firstly and in its most simple form, we share information about exactly what menopause is. Far from being simply hot flushes and mood swings, there is a whole range of changes going on in a woman’s body as a result of hormonal fluctuations as she enters peri-menopause.
These changes lead to a broad range of symptoms, some physical such as joint aches, headaches, heart palpitations and hot flushes, some psychological and emotional such as anxiety, poor concentration, memory loss and low mood.
We also break down a few misconceptions around who could experience menopause. Whilst I refer to women in this article, it could equally apply to some non-binary employees.
We look at when menopause happens including why some women may experience menopause at a much younger age than many people realise and break down some of the stereotypes attached to menopause.
Depending on the audience we may also discuss treatment options, discussing medical, non-medical and lifestyle related methods of coping with symptoms
A good trainer will ensure that they share evidence based, up-to-date and factual information from reputable sources such as The British Menopause Society. Beware, some may profess to be a menopause trainer when in reality they’re simply sharing their own personal experience.
Menopause is unique to each individual and what is true for one person may well not be true for another. A good trainer will share facts, backed up by research, without any personal bias. Where they may use personal anecdotes, they should make clear where it is their personal opinion or preference they are stating and balance that against facts.
As well as the health and wellbeing aspects of menopause discussed above, a menopause trainer may also share information relating to the business impact of menopause within the workplace.
This might include working with the HR Manager or HR team to discuss the legal implications of menopause in the workplace in relation to employment law.
It might also include learning what best practice looks like in terms of the need for policy or guidance, wider training for employees, equality and diversity or uniform policies for example. Training should reflect current thinking and guidance from recognised bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, ACAS and the Faculty of Occupational Medicine among others.
Training may also include information specifically for managers on how they can best support their staff with things like reasonable adjustment, signposting or simply feeling confident to have a supportive conversation.
At a more in-depth level we work with smaller groups of managers and colleagues to dig a bit deeper into the issues that affect women in the workplace. Using case studies, exercises and activities, our workshops help to challenge thinking, to challenge some potentially damaging beliefs and develop action plans and set goals moving forward.
Workshops are less about pure information sharing and much more about facilitation. The trainer uses coaching and facilitation to engage the group and help them to develop their own thoughts around the issue of menopause in the workplace.
How is Training Delivered?
Before the 2020 Covid pandemic, most of the training delivered by Floresco Training, and probably by most other menopause training companies, was through face to face, classroom or seminar type sessions.
Thankfully, awareness sessions are beautifully suited to virtual training where information can be shared easily via platforms such as Zoom, MS Team or other video conferencing tools to much greater numbers than most physical locations would allow.
This is a great benefit to businesses who have their employees working from remote locations and it also reduces the cost, since no travel expenses are incurred.
Indeed, here at Floresco Training we’ve found that uptake onto our virtual training has been greater than our face to face sessions and that engagement during the sessions has not dropped off at all. Perhaps one of the few good things to come out of 2020 has been a greater acceptance by many businesses of the virtual world of training.
Even our smaller group workshops have proved just as effective online as offline. I’ve certainly found that the quieter members of the group are often more likely to share their thoughts, via the chat function or a private message, than they may have been willing to do in a classroom environment.
Why Should a Business Invest in Menopause Training?
There are any number of reasons why menopause training is a sound investment, from increased morale and better productivity, to lower absence rates and improved retention.
The statistics speak for themselves. Women over 45 are the fastest growing sector of the workplace and 80% of menopausal women are in work.
When women are given information about what is happening they are far better able to cope and therefore more likely to remain in their job and continue to perform well.
When co-workers understand the impact menopause can have, they are more likely to be supportive of their colleagues, leading to better relationships, fewer disputes and greater levels of productivity.
When managers feel confident to have more supportive conversations they create a space where their people feel comfortable to open up about what is going on and are therefore in a much better position to offer support in the form of reassurance or reasonable adjustments.
When HR Teams and managers understand their obligations with regard to employment law, they are far less likely to end up in an employment tribunal.
Did I mention that we also explore previous cases where businesses have been taken to tribunal and it’s cost them dearly, in both money and reputation!
Well, if this has got you thinking that maybe menopause training would be the right thing for your business let’s grab a cup of tea and a virtual chat and see how Floresco Training and Coaching can help.
Our training can be customised to your particular needs or you can choose one of our existing packages with prices starting from £500.
You can book a call that suits your timetable quickly and easily by using our online scheduler. Simply click on the link below to book a 15 minute Zoom call.
BEFORE YOU GO…
How menopause friendly do you consider your business to be right now? I’ve put together a quick workplace checklist to help you to identify where to focus your menopause efforts as you work towards creating that all important open and inclusive menopause culture. You can get the Checklist simply by dropping your email address below and the Checklist will be sent directly to you.