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Managing Menopause: Is it time to formalise your workplace policy?

Managing Menopause: Is it time to formalise your workplace policy?

Many of us are becoming much happier talking about health and wellbeing, even in the workplace. We’re starting to realise that opening up about our problems gives others the opportunity to offer help and support.

This has probably been accelerated by the pandemic, but it’s far wider than that. When we tell our managers that we’re experiencing backache, we can be given chairs with better lumbar support. Talking about our experiences isn’t “complaining” — it helps us to do our jobs.

Menopause used to be considered profoundly private. Women struggled through as best they could and waited to feel better. As we start to talk about “The Change” more openly, it’s becoming clear that it’s something that impacts our working lives, not just our personal lives.

Women make up more than half of the population and 85% of us experience menopause symptoms. That’s a lot of people.

It’s not just that it’s such a common experience, it can have a big impact on our ability to work. 59% of women have taken time off work as a result of menopause. A quarter of women consider leaving their job as a result of their menopause symptoms, and one in ten actually do.

Let’s look at how the situation is improving and what we can do to help.

Awareness is growing

Women are becoming much more comfortable talking about their menopause symptoms, but it hasn’t been easy. It’s taken a long time for it to be normal to discuss any women’s problems, but younger women have led the charge on normalising conversations about periods.

Now we’re seeing the same process taking place for menopause and perimenopause.

Menopause awareness is growing faster than many of us could have anticipated. A big part of this is due to the “Davina Effect”. Davina McCall’s 2021 documentary “The Menopause Brain Drain” really helped to bring these discussions out into the open.

This, along with other educators such as Dr Nighat Arif, has put a spotlight on menopause for the first time. Importantly, it highlighted that this isn’t just a “women’s issue”. It’s a health issue. It’s a social issue. It’s a business issue. It’s a human issue.

I’m playing my part by making space for the people around me to talk about their experiences. Sometimes, this will mean dealing with my own and others’ discomfort.

As a woman and an employer, I want to know that I’m doing everything I can to make life easier for any employees experiencing menopause symptoms. I want them to feel safe and comfortable at work, and I definitely don’t want to lose my fantastic staff.

Here are the things I’m looking at to make sure that my company is doing its part. 

What can you do to support employees during menopause?

Awareness and training

Awareness is improving already, but we still have a part to play. We have years of misinformation and misunderstandings to overcome.

The first step is to make sure that our employees have accurate information about what menopause is, and what it can mean. Look for authoritative resources, such as the CIPD to ensure your staff are fully informed.

This isn’t always a comfortable topic of conversation, so we need to think carefully about how to destigmatise the issue. It’s important that people feel comfortable and not pressured. Offer a safe space for people to talk about their symptoms.

Don’t underestimate how uncomfortable these conversations can make some male members of staff (especially older ones) too, but don’t allow their discomfort to shut down the discussion. Providing online information and training can help them to acclimatise to a more open culture in the workplace.

Prioritise open communication

We don’t always know what is going to help our employees to feel most comfortable. I might feel confident talking in front of a large group, but my staff might prefer to approach me in private.

This is where a corporate culture based on psychological safety and mutual respect can really pay dividends. When your employees know that they will be treated with courtesy and compassion, they’re more likely to open up.

Focus on building a culture of mutual trust. This makes it easier for your team members to come to you as soon as they need support. The sooner you know there’s a problem, the easier it is for you to step in, and the better your chances of retaining great workers.

Promote health & wellbeing in the office

There’s nothing unique about menopause. Incorporating your menopause management approach into your overall health and wellbeing strategy is a meaningful step you can take to help further normalise the issue.

Menopause has implications for both mental and physical health, so make sure you address the full range of symptoms your staff are experiencing. 

Many of the steps that can help with menopause symptoms are universally good for us and sometimes far too easy to overlook. Advice on healthy eating, exercise, sleep and stress management can all be helpful.

This is a great opportunity to show real leadership and avoid mixed messages. Don’t just tell your staff to reduce their stress — take ownership of the issue by not replying to emails outside of office hours and expecting your employees to do the same.

Put a formal framework in place

Putting a formal framework in place to address how you will deal with issues related to menopause is one of the cornerstones in creating a supportive environment around the subject. Formalising a framework now allows you to be proactive and strategic, rather than reactive and rushed.

Having a policy already in place can reduce the anxiety for employees just starting menopause and provide comfort to those already experiencing symptoms. It offers tangible evidence that you take the issue seriously.

I’ve been lucky enough to mostly work in relatively small teams with a strong culture of trust and mutual respect. I’ve never had to deal with colleagues discriminating or belittling their female coworkers but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a policy in place for what I would do if that did happen.

Having a formal menopause policy isn’t just about valuing your older female workers. It’s yet another strand in a successful DEI strategy where all of your staff feel respected, safe and empowered to succeed.

Hopefully, this has given you a few ideas for supporting your employees through menopause. Check out the rest of our blogs for more tips and advice on creating a safe and supportive workplace for everyone!

Drop us a line via hello@thehrhub.co.uk, give us a call on 0203 6277048 or pop in a diary meeting in here

Three Ways to Rocket Your Team’s Performance in 2022

So when you take a look back at how your business performed in 2021, are you satisfied with what was achieved? A little reflection is always useful, but now’s the time to start thinking about the future. You no doubt have big plans for the next 12 months. You’ve got targets to meet and goals to smash, and if you want to ensure that your plans become a reality, then you’re going to have to give some serious consideration to how you’ll make sure that you get the most out of your staff.

Sometimes though, this can be much easier said than done. Every business owner knows that improving performance could be key to overall growth, but you’ll need some solid strategies to make this happen.

You’ll be pleased to hear then that we can help. Let’s take a look at three ways to rocket your team’s performance for the year ahead

1. Provide Challenges That Are Stretching But Achievable

No one ever achieved great things by just coasting along without a challenge. Your staff should be stretched, but there’s a fine balance to strike. Give them too much to handle, and you’re not going to get the desired outcome. It might be time to assess your staff’s performance objectives, and consider whether they’re really fit for purpose.

Your managers will play a big part in making this a success. They’ll know their team members best, and so you need to make sure that they’re capable of helping them to set goals, and just as importantly, ensuring that they believe that they can achieve them.

2. Outline The Value Of The Work Outside The Context Of The Business

If you’ve done any reading or research into best practice when it comes to managing a team, then you’ll know that it makes sense to encourage everyone to realise how their work helps the business to grow and meet its objectives. In other words, your staff should understand how what they’re doing fits into the bigger picture.

You can take things a step further than this though. Are your staff aware of how their work makes a worthwhile contribution, profits and growth aside? Most businesses have some kind of social impact, and this can often be a great motivator for staff. Does your organisation make a positive contribution to the community? Are you changing the lives of your customers and clients?

3. Recognise Achievements As Part Of Day-To-Day Business

Most of us can take huge amounts of personal satisfaction away from simply knowing that we’ve done a good job. Often, this alone can encourage us to strive to be even better. But let’s be completely honest here. Most of us also enjoy being suitably rewarded for our efforts.

It’s easy to think that this is all about financial incentives, but this isn’t necessarily the case. It’s about rewards that are proportionate to the achievement. It’s about applying the same principles across the board. It’s about considering your reward processes as a whole, rather than just worrying about budget restraints. And ultimately, it’s about getting to the stage where ‘end-of-year performance reviews’ aren’t a one-off activity, but part of an ongoing dialogue.

Performance is important, and this is your chance to make sure that you’ve laid the right foundations for the year ahead. Are you ready, or are you lagging behind?

If you just want to make sure that you’re firing on all cylinders, drop us a line via hello@thehrhub.co.uk or give us a call on 0203 6277048.

Photo Credit: the gymnast from Team GB by julochka

 

It’s not you, it’s me: How to handle it when your employees say goodbye

It’s not you, it’s me: How to handle it when your employees say goodbye

A resignation – like being dumped – can often feel very personal. Particularly if the person in question has been with you for some time. Particularly if you think they are critical to your business. And particularly if you let it.

I mean, it’s sod’s law isn’t it? Just when you think everything is teed up to have a great 2018: Goals in place? Tick. Marketing lined up? Tick. Sales Pipeline trending the right way? Tick. – when someone pops their head around the door clutching an envelope and utters a few words in ‘that’ tone …”er, can we have a quick chat?’. And it’s the ones who are the most valuable to you which always hit you hardest.

Of course, not every resignation is bad news. If you are planning on going through a restructure or making redundancies and the person in question was going to be affected, then you may have just saved yourself a bit of heartache ( not to mention a few quid). But most are not wanted, downright annoying and expensive too.

With an average employee in the professional sector costing up to £30k to replace , the best way to ensure that you handle this well, is to prioritise keeping your team as you would your clients. And plan for it by doing some of the following:

  • At budgeting time, include staff turnover in your forecasting figures and set targets for turnover. The UK average is approximately 15% but this rises to closer to 20% in the digital sectors. You do need to keep new ideas flowing within the business and adapt to your changing model, so not all turnover is bad and it’s likely that you will want to see some movement to avoid becoming complacent, but set targets for this which you can check progress against. It’ll be less of a surprise.
  • Identify your ‘keepers’. The people which, if you lost, you would be stuffed. And then plan how you are going to to show them the love. To support them in what they want out of the business. Too many business leaders don’t take the time to speak to their teams on a 1-2-1 regular basis to uncover what it is that their people want and show support by their actions. Oh, for the times when I’ve seen an account manager hauled over the coals after a devastating client loss. “When did you last meet with them?” is often one of the first things their manager will ask after the bombshell has been dropped.” How did they seem? Were they unhappy? Did they say anything which gave you a clue?….”
  • Take the time to get to know your team. To know what they want out of life on a wider level than just what they are doing at work. I know it’ll come as a shock to many, but most people don’t simply dream of doing better at work! So find out what possibilities lie for people within the confines of the business and how they can help them get to where they want to be.

And I’m not saying it’s easy by any stretch. It’s a hell of a commitment to meet with your team each week/ fortnight/ build a relationship/ keep it going through the good and the tough times. But people are less likely to leave a place where they feel valued and listened to than anywhere else. And even if you can’t keep them, the chances are that they will feel more comfortable giving you a heads up that they may be off, allowing you a bit more time to plan and handover.

But back to that resignation. In practical and immediate terms, you have a few options:

  1. You can take it very personally, considering it a personal slight that someone would not want to work from you and act out in that manner. One boss I know didn’t speak to their team member for their ENTIRE notice period, leaving him to work in an isolated office away from the rest of the business such was the disgust they felt at their team member leaving them. Their maturity wasn’t lost on the entire company…
  2. Or ( a popular option) you can launch into telling them all the reasons why this is all wrong for them and that if they stayed for another £5/ £15k/ £25k then you will be able to fix whatever it is they are concerned about. One business I know spent more money on retention bonuses for those who had resigned in a particular year than they did on the entire bonus pot for existing employees who had delivered for them that year. The‘retained’ employees in this instance lasted on average another 3-6 months before bailing out for real, leaving a red faced boss and disgruntled colleagues who had found out all about the separate arrangement…
  3. Or you can listen to what they are saying. And then really listen. And learn from it. On the odd occasion I have seen someone ‘bought back’ by their business when they’ve resigned, it’s been because the relationship and loyalty was there already, they’d just let things get stale. The drama of resigning was enough to wake both parties up to see that there were other ways for the team member to grow and they’re very happy.

Option 3 doesn’t always mean they stay and you may well still have to say goodbye to someone you would rather not. But at least by taking the time out to find out what is really going on, you will truly understand why your business is not right for the person standing in front of you. But why it may be for another time. Ah yes, Boomerang employees. Now there’s another post….

HR Folks Might Be Highly Skilled But We Can’t Read Your Mind! Here’s How To Get The Most Out Of A Partnership

HR Folks Might Be Highly Skilled But We Can’t Read Your Mind! Here’s How To Get The Most Out Of A Partnership

As your business grows, you might decide that the time is right to start working with HR. It’s certainly true that having a people professional on hand and on your side can bring huge benefits, and it could be exactly what you need to create steady and manageable growth you’re after. But before setting the wheels in motion, it might be useful to take a step back and think about what you can do to ensure that any relationship reaches its full potential. Let’s explore the practical steps you can take.

Be Open And Honest About Absolutely Everything

When you first start to work with any kind of professional services, there’s always a period during which you’re still getting to know each other. You’ll be asked questions about business, and it can be tempting to try to gloss over the less attractive parts, and not be completely honest about your situation and how you’re feeling about it. Here at theHRhub we’ve seen (most of) it all before, and aren’t here to judge. We just need all the information you can give us – the good, the bad, and the ugly – so we can work out an action plan to get you to where you want to be.

Remember To Use Their Services Strategically

Many people first start working with an HR service  because they have a particular problem that they need expert assistance with right away. It could be an issue with a new recruit, or it would be a routine disciplinary matter that’s gone horribly wrong. It’s safe to say though that most business owners’ first contact with their HR service is the result of an operational matter. And that’s fine, of course. Sometimes, there are things that you can’t cope with yourself, that need to be tackled ASAP. If you really want to get the most out of your working relationship though, recognise the strategic value that is there for the taking. Engage in conversations about the future of your business, the big challenges you face, and how HR can help you to get you to where you want to be with less hassle and less fuss.

Speak Up When You Need Help

The world of HR, just like any industry out there, is full of jargon and terminology that you might not be familiar with. The good news here though is that we at theHRhub will break down everything you need to know, so it’s easy to understand and digest and so that you get to know your TUPE from your EAP. If there’s anything at all that you feel unsure about, don’t be afraid to speak up. As skilled as we are, we can’t read your mind! And we’re always more than happy to go that extra mile so you’re really reaping the benefits of having your own on-demand HR point of contact.

It’s normal to feel slightly overwhelmed at the thought of working with an HR service or consultant. You probably felt the same when you first called upon the services of your accountant. If you follow these steps though, teething problems can be avoided, and you’re likely to quickly discover that taking the plunge was the best decision that you’ve ever made.

Want to have a discussion about how all of this could work for you, in really practical terms? Drop us a line at hello@thehrhub.co.uk to book in a free consultation.

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Photocredit: Kenny Louie Ahhhhhhhh

How To Deal With The Influx Of Bank Holiday Weekends

Everyone loves a good old bank holiday weekend. More time with the family, an opportunity to unwind, and weather permitting, maybe even a barbecue or two. As a business owner though, long weekends bring some key challenges. With four bank holidays appearing in the springtime calendar in the UK, it makes sense to be prepared, so you can prevent the common issues from knocking your business off track.

Here are a few things that you should consider, sooner rather than later…

Make sure you have a policy that’s clearly communicated to all staff

Many problems can be avoided by simply making sure that your staff know what’s expected from them. Dropping the bombshell that you’re cancelling the long weekend at the last minute isn’t likely to do you any favours when it comes to getting your workforce onside.

Sometimes, depending on the nature of your business, it’s just not possible to allow everyone to take the day off. If that’s the case, make your stance clear in advance, and ensure that everyone knows what you’re working towards.

Carefully plan out operational requirements in advance

Your business no doubt has deadlines and priorities that need to be handled. If your staff will be out of the office, then you need to understand how this might have a knock-on effect, and how you’ll manage that.

Some forward planning here can go a long way. Make sure that you get your team involved, and everyone understands how their workload for the week will be managed.

Know the relevant legislation

Your employees don’t have a legal right to receive extra pay for working bank holidays, unless this is something that you have promised in the contract of employment – or if it is implied because of historical practices within your business.

In terms of asking your staff to take annual leave to cover the holiday, this is an option, providing that you give notice that’s twice the length of the holiday period that you are asking them to take.

Remember that your staff should receive a written statement within 2 months of starting their employment that covers their entitlement to holiday, including provisions for public holidays, and pay.

If you know that your policies and procedures could do with a refresh, then let’s talk. Give us a call today to arrange your no-obligation consultation. Call us now on 0203 627 7048 or drop us a line at hello@thehrhub.co.uk

Image: Canva

Bosses Aren’t Immune To The January Blues

January can be a thoroughly dull and dismal month, and if you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps, then you’re definitely not alone. The festivities are over, the weather is miserable, and there’s pretty much a full six months to wait before your summer holidays will come round.

Right about now, you’re probably considering your strategy for relighting a little spark in the workplace, and ensuring that your employees have some solid goals to work towards. You don’t want the January blues to take over.

This time of the year presents a great opportunity for assessing priorities, setting goals, and ensuring that all the right boxes are being ticked in terms of your HR practices.

We don’t have to remind you about the importance of those performance discussions again, do we?

Today though, let’s shift the focus away from your staff for just a second or two, and think about YOU, and how you’re getting on with your day-to-day tasks and responsibilities.

You might be crying ‘But I thought you were an HR consultant! Shouldn’t we talking about my workforce?’

And yes, we should, and we do, and we can support you when you have problems to fix, initiatives to roll out, or big goals to smash.

But the reality here is that running a business can be really hard work. There are a ton of plates to spin. Your to-do list can seem never-ending. You’re the leader of your business and you’re expected to perform at a high level and demonstrate outstanding leadership.

For you to be able to do all of this to the best of your ability?

You need support.

You need time out.

You need to protect your mental wellbeing.

Sure, you no doubt have big things that you want to achieve this year. But you need to make sure that you’re creating a plan that is sustainable, that won’t run you into the ground, and will enable you to hit your business goals without making unnecessary sacrifices.

At the moment, you might be feeling energised and ready to take on a new year. Or you might be feeling overwhelmed and a little stressed out.

What’s really vital is that you know where you’re going, and you have a way to get there.

Right now, we have a few spaces left for consultancy work in the early part of 2017. If you would like to have a chat about how we might be able to work together to drive your business forward, ensure you’re compliant with upcoming legislative changes, and get your business fighting fit for the challenges ahead, then get in touch today via hello@thehrhub.co.uk or call 0203 627 7048 to chat about your HR needs.

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