Running training and/or awareness events
Events can be opportunities to share new policies (or draft policies for consultation). They can start conversations and share knowledge.
Practicalities and questions to consider
When will you hold the event?
Will it be an optional session (for example a ‘lunch and learn’), a compulsory part of management training or part of a staff away day?
Can you run meetings online or combine face to face and remote access? The Miscarriage Association may be able to offer online presentations for information and discussion.
If the session is part of an away day, be aware that some staff may not wish to attend for personal reasons. Make sure you have an alternative option.
Share some information on the content and ensure staff members know they can choose not to attend or to step out if needed.
How will you advertise and encourage people to attend?
Posters, desk flyers and emails are good ways to spread the word in a larger organisation. Be aware that some people might find it difficult to be reminded of a loss every time they walk past a poster.
You could provide a small amount of detail and ask people to get in touch or look at an intranet or web page if they want to know more.
Speak to managers individually and ask them to talk to their team members as necessary. Getting senior staff to attend and even speak will help show the organisation’s commitment.
Clarify the purpose of the event and what attendees can get from it.
We’ve linked in with other groups (women’s network and mental health especially) highlighting the common threads so that the event is seen as less niche. Some of the feedback from our early sessions was that line managers should be encouraged to attend.
Where will you hold it?
Choose a space where people feel comfortable.
An informal space with lots of small tables or groups of chairs might encourage more conversation than a lecture theatre.
Make sure it is easy for people to leave quickly without causing too much disruption.
Consider running one or more meetings online, where people can choose whether or not to use the video option. This may be easier for some people who are anxious about feeling and showing distress.
How will you make sure employees are offered the right support during and after the event?
Be mindful of the fact that the event could trigger strong emotions in staff, particularly those with personal experience of a loss.
Let people know that parts of the session may be difficult or distressing, especially if they have experienced a loss themselves. Explain they can leave at any time.
You could start by asking people to be sensitive to those in the room who may have experienced a loss. You may want to share comments or language to avoid.
Provide contact details for the Miscarriage Association (or other relevant charities) and let people know they can call, email or live chat for further support.
Have a quiet room available for people to use during and after the event. Providing tissues here and in the event is a simple way of signalling that it’s a safe space to express emotion.
If you have trained mental health first aiders or peer supporters, they should be available to offer support.
It may help to run the event before a break or lunch so people don’t have to go straight back to work.
If someone is calling in to a meeting or event, suggest they do it from a private room rather than a public office.
What will you do during the event/training session?
What you do during the session will depend on the size and needs of your workplace and the number of people you expect to attend. Here are some ideas.
An introduction to a new (or draft) policy/guidance and a chance to offer feedback.
An explanation of the policy with detail of implications for managers and their teams.
Information for managers on offering support and asking questions – using our talking about miscarriage information as a guide.
Small group discussions about our recommendations and how they might be implemented in your organisation.
Invite an external speaker to talk about their experience of pregnancy loss and what might have helped them. You may have someone in your organisation who is prepared to talk about their experience.
Invite a relevant charity or support organisation to present. The Miscarriage Association may be able to help.
An anonymous feedback session. Encourage participants to walk around the room, offering feedback on policy or policy ideas and answering questions or sharing experience by adding their thoughts to post-it notes or flip chart paper. You could provide small ‘voting’ stickers too.
We discussed what at work has helped us, or helped us help others, [to] manage difficult and sensitive matters affecting our lives in and outside of work. This may form the basis of further discussions in the workplace with the support of diversity and inclusion groups.
Next steps and follow up
Provide tangible things for attendees to take away. For example, looking at the relevant policies or information, offering feedback or volunteering to be on a working group. The Miscarriage Association will happily supply leaflets and contact cards.