A recent poll looking at Menopause in the Workplace (commissioned by Koru Kids), found that 18% of women in UK workplaces who are currently experiencing menopause or perimenopause symptoms were considering leaving their job.
When you consider that women (within the menopausal age range) are the fastest-growing demographic in the workforce – 4 million women aged 45-55 in work (ONS 2021), it is clear that unless businesses start to reflect on how they support their employees, they are at risk of losing a vital part of their workforce which could have been avoidable.
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Here are five tips for a dedicated workplace approach to managing the menopause:
- Encourage Education. Move sharply away from the idea that only women of the menopausal age need to understand how menopause affects an individual. Look to feature resources on your intranet, in lunch and learn opportunities, or even as part of the induction and line management training process.
- Create Change Champions. Whether you label a small group of people as your dedicated team on the menopause or not, it can certainly help to have the reflections and insights of a number of professionals who may want to help you shape that workplace approach. Remember to include those who are partners of those experiencing the menopause, and those who are yet to reach this point in their life.
- Risk Assess and Identify Adjustments. Once you have greater knowledge about the symptoms and the likely impact on an individual of the menopause, it’s time to look at how you risk assess the implication on certain roles. Are there things which a person experiencing the menopause may now find more difficult to do? Equally, look at what reasonable adjustments could be applied for someone who is going through the menopause. What tasks could be tweaked or swapped out, without it causing that person embarrassment or frustration?
- Strengthen a Communication Culture. All employees should feel they have the ability to speak up about how they are treated or what they are feeling. Ensure that it is clear to your staff – at all ranks – that their views will be heard, respected, and treated confidentially. Let them know what options there are for having a conversation with a professional other than the immediate line manager or head-of-business.
- Reflect Menopause Experience in Performance Management. How you would normally evaluate a staff member’s performance or effectiveness may indeed change during a period in which they are experiencing the menopause. Consider this in your existing performance management activity, and ensure all line managers and leaders are aware of such factors.
For more information and to get key tools to help you go the MAD-HR Menopause toolkit.
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