Over the past couple of years the conversation about menopause has slowly started to move more to the mainstream. Thanks to the work of household names like Davina McCall, medical professionals like Dr Louise Newson and campaign groups such as Menopause Mandate, employees are showing signs of increased levels of comfort talking about their menopause and perimenopause experiences at work. Just in the last week I have had three separate conversations with colleagues and clients where their own menopause experience has been mentioned and I don’t think this would have happened even a few years ago.
That said, there’s still a long way to go. With women of menopausal age the fastest growing group in the workforce and a staggering 90% of women saying their workplaces offer no help and support for menopausal workers, here are our tops tips for affordable, practical things you organisation can put in place to support this growing demographic in your workplace.
- Ensure you have a menopause policy
You have policies for managing absence, health and safety, appropriate conduct at work etc. to make sure everyone knows what they can expect as an employee and what support they can provide as a manager. It’s no different for people going through the menopause.
Think about what reasonable adjustments you could make in your workplace and what other support you can offer, including adjustments to workload or working hours, amendments to your uniform policy, and identifying areas of your offices with adjustable climate control.
Capturing your company’s stance on supporting menopausal employees shows your people that you have thought about the impact this might have on them and their work and have steps in place to support them. Having a transparent, accessible policy also helps both managers and employees when discussing something so personal at work and helps to bring a shared vocabulary to such an emotive topic.
- Provide education and training for managers
We know that a lot of people are still hesitant to raise the subject of their menopause journey and the impact this is having on their work with their line managers, yet with 63% of menopausal women saying their working life has been negatively affected by their symptoms its in your organisation’s interest to create an environment where people feel comfortable to share. Raising awareness of the vast number of symptoms (there are well over 50), how these can impact of peoples’ daily working lives, how to sensitively have a conversation if you’re noticing an impact to someone’s work, and the support and resources available to your managers and employees can make a huge difference in the willingness of your employees to share, and in turn the ability of your organisation to support.
- Have readily available access to coaching
Most people going through the menopause or perimenopause want to continue to work – having built their careers for the last 20+ years, for financial reasons, and even just to feel like they are still ‘them’ and in control. Yet every year up to 10% of women going through the menopause leave the workplace as they battle with wide-ranging and long-lasting symptoms. One practical – and perhaps surprising – thing you can offer to your menopausal or perimenopausal employees is coaching. Whether it’s building confidence to have an uncomfortable conversation in the first place, techniques to achieve their daily tasks or learn a new way of working that helps them during this time of prolonged change, or even resilience support to navigate the ups and downs, having access to an experienced, third-party coach can make a big difference to the experience of the individual, and to the productivity and turnover of your organisation. With our Coaching for Everyone solution you can offer executive-calibre coaching to your whole employee base on an affordable, flexible basis and make a big impact to the work experience of your menopausal workforce.
As well as the clear commercial benefits to supporting your employees through this chapter of their life – increased engagement and productivity, reduced turnover – strengthening your organisation’s stance to the menopause will also have a positive impact on your brand reputation and position as an employer of choice. As organisations are having to do more than the traditional ‘salary and pension’ benefits to attract the best employees, having an inclusive, forward-thinking approach to your employee value proposition can help differentiate you in the market and positively impact your gender pay gap by supporting women to stay in the workplace.
If you would like support on how to implement any of the things discussed here please do get in touch.