Championing endometriosis in the workplace
Endometriosis Friendly Employers will appoint Endometriosis Champions – one or more depending on the organisation. This role aims to provide employees with a visible member of staff within the organisation to whom they can turn to for support and information in relation to endometriosis. Endometriosis Champions do not need to be experts in endometriosis and don’t need to be patients themselves; a willingness to learn about the condition and ability to talk openly about endometriosis, menstrual wellbeing and associated issues are central to the role. Endometriosis Champions aren’t medical professionals and should not be providing medical advice, nor to provide emotional support to an individual over a long period of time - the role is focused on signposting, support, and sustaining a diverse and inclusive workforce. To do this, Endometriosis Champions will need to be equipped with knowledge of the formal support mechanisms the organisation has in place.
This role can be tailored to suit the size and needs of your organisation. Larger multi-site organisations may wish to have an Endometriosis Champion in each location, whereas smaller teams may be better suited to assign the role to one employee. Employees and managers will feel able to approach the champion with issues relating to their own/staff members’ endometriosis and the workplace. This may require an understanding of the organisation’s HR policies and procedures relating to long term health conditions. Some may find the topic itself embarrassing, or are concerned their manager will, and may need some guidance in preparing how they broach the subject.
Key to the role of the Endometriosis Champion will be the ability to signpost people to where they can get information and support internally, and sometimes externally, such as Endometriosis UK’s support services and online information. Depending on their experience and the organisation, Endometriosis Champions may wish to develop their role in additional ways, such as promoting good practice in working with and managing members of staff who have endometriosis, making links with local support groups, and actively raising awareness of the condition amongst employees for example through providing information through displaying posters and fliers in relevant places or organising awareness events.
An example of the main points of the role are below, for adaption by your organisation:
- Developing an understanding of endometriosis and how this may affect employees
- Being a point of contact for employees experiencing issues at work as a result of endometriosis
- Knowing where to signpost colleagues for further information and support
- Awareness of internal HR policies and procedures that could benefit employees with endometriosis
And where appropriate:
- Being a point of contact for managers who may have people with endometriosis in their team
- Displaying information leaflets and posters
- Organising awareness events, such as coffee mornings or ‘lunch and learn’ events, to ensure colleagues know about endometriosis, perhaps in line with national awareness campaigns
Further information for Endometriosis Champions
Endometriosis Champions will be invited to attend an induction webinar, and provided with their own dedicated Endometriosis Champions e-update twice a year, in addition to receiving the Endometriosis Friendly Employer e-newsletter twice a year.
Upon signing up to become an Endometriosis Friendly Employer, all organisations will receive a copy of Endometriosis: The Expert’s Guide to Treat, Manage and Live Well with your symptoms by Professor Andrew Horne and Carol Pearson. Endometriosis Champions can find a wealth of information about endometriosis on Endometriosis UK’s website. Of particular interest will be:
- Understanding Endometriosis
- Endometriosis FAQs
- Personal Stories
- Our Support Pages can help Endometriosis Champions to signpost to Endometriosis UK’s support services.
In addition to the above, Endometriosis UK can offer bespoke in-house training for Endometriosis Champions to further enhance their skills and knowledge. The aim is to equip staff with a knowledge of endometriosis, an understanding of how staff may be affected in the workplace, and how best to support staff in your organisation. Please contact us for more information including costs.