As we get just over halfway through our series focused on Fertility Matters at Work, we’re pleased to be able to share a great example of how beneficial implementing training and support around fertility issues in the workplace can be and how it not only benefits a workplace from a cultural point of view, it impacts productivity, staff retention, and attraction.
During the time Fertility Matters at Work has been developing its e-learning and training and policy package, Kate has very been working directly with a number of organizations, providing training and a clear understanding of what needs to be done to better support employers and one of those organizations is The Bank of England.
In this conversation, we are joined by Anastasia Vinnikova Wellbeing Lead who talked about how the project came about as the bank already had a good foundation within the wellbeing space and a good level of education in core principles in wellbeing and life events, that impacted their workforce.
In the conversations that came up, it was clear that colleagues felt empowered from the support being provided and the culture shift had created openness and honesty amongst colleagues.
Annastasia explained the existing peer support network which shares experiences with others to offer support. It aims to equip peer supporters with the next steps and onward support. The bank had experienced momentum in their journey of infertility and pregnancy loss as a result of conversation and so had set up a community and resources, along with making policy changes surrounding pay and leave. They had also been sharing experiences through blogs and podcasts
Line Manager training:
When talking about the role of Managers, Anastasia talked about the difficulties they can experience and acknowledged the bank still has more work to do on how they educate managers. One measure is to ensure a Manager has supported through other avenues and that employers know that their Manager isn’t the only place they can go to for support, hence the importance of the peer support network.
Whist a lot has already taken place the Bank of England are still keen to gain an understanding of why people haven’t engaged with the topic as yet and are looking into further education to help challenge the stigma and taboo around the topic of infertility as you never know how close you are to those going through these challenges?
What challenges needed to be overcome and advice for other organizations:
When it comes to Well-being challenges, it’s important to understand that they don’t stop the minute you walk into the office. Organizations need to understand that it is important to get past the stigma and put actions in place to get over this. Companies have a moral responsibility and should make it an imperative. Anastasia also talked about how as an organization you don’t get the same out of employees if they don’t feel supported. We also discussed the importance of intersectionality and its impact on mental health. Whilst there might be discomfort initially the fertility conversation inevitably builds momentum.
From what the Bank of England has implemented to date, they have had positive feedback from individuals which will help inform and guide, however, it’s important to remember, that no one size fits all.
To find out more about how your workplace can become fertility-friendly and how you can join our brand new membership visit