We recently featured an article about what employers can do to support women in the workplace as they go through the menopause. (see our original article here). As this resonated with a number of our audience, we wanted to explore what else can be implemented around this important and often overlooked milestone for women.
Our Employment and HR legal team (Melanie Rowe and Jen Unsworth) talked to menopause consultant Nicola Green about why businesses struggle to address the menopause in the workplace:
Nicola: “ For many businesses, there is a fear factor when talking about the menopause, even though it affects a much larger section of the workforce than pregnancy. This is mostly down to a lack of understanding of how the menopause can affect women at work and the stigma surrounding its discussion and acceptance. What businesses perhaps don’t recognise is how much sick leave and staff turnover can actually be attributed to symptoms of the menopause. The financial and wellbeing impact menopause can have on your business is not to be underestimated.
Having a menopause policy in place is great but what is really needed is a cultural change when it comes to addressing how to support women. In many instances women themselves are not aware that symptoms they are experiencing are menopause related and don’t seek medical advice or intervention.
So the first thing which is key is education – both for women themselves as well as their employers and colleagues. Whilst the menopause will present varying symptoms for each woman, the possible list of symptoms is extensive and far reaching. There are more than 30 symptoms of the menopause. (see more details on menopause symptoms here)
Secondly, employers must work to create channels of communication where women feel comfortable discussing the issues they are facing. It is of paramount importance that employers, managers and HR departments have an understanding of the menopause and its potential impact on individuals within the workplace together with the confidence to support the same in an approachable manner.
The more we can do to open up conversations about the menopause and remove the stigma, the better. Addressing the menopause can not only promote lower sickness absence, retain valuable talent and increase employee productivity it also increases engagement and company loyalty.”
Melanie: “Whatever the size of your business, it’s imperative that you overcome any fears you have about addressing the menopause in the workplace. We have learnt a lot from Nicola and the work she does – we will certainly be looking to lead by example as we know there is more Murrells can do ourselves to support and educate our own staff”
Nicola Green offers a number of services via Nicola Green Consultancy, including workplace presentations, manager training, support group workshops and 1:1 coaching. For full details see: Services | Nicola Green Consultancy.
The employment and HR department at Murrell Associates offers a full breadth of HR and Employment advice for businesses and individuals, including retained HR support packages. See here for further details: Specialist employment lawyers based in Truro, Cornwall (murrellassociates.co.uk)