Walk the office floors of any major company in the UK today and the chances are high that at least one in three female employees there is battling menopause symptoms.
From hot flashes to insomnia, memory lapses to mood swings, the range of physical and mental struggles during this transition is both wide and disruptive for the over 4.5 million perimenopausal and postmenopausal women now in the UK workforce.
However, statistics highlight that 60% of those 4.5 million won’t disclose their struggles to managers. They will continue to show up at work, struggling in silence, fearful of allowing their 'weakness' to hold them back.
The stigma of menopause in the workplace is still there and it is huge.
However, this equation is one that that all leaders must shift, both for legal compliance and - perhaps surprisingly - the bottom line.
The costs are startling.
According to data from the Women’s Business Council and the Department of Education, menopause transition costs UK companies £10.5 billion + annually for impacts like higher absenteeism, presenteeism losses and plummeting staff retention rates.
For context, that figure exceeds the price tag of absenteeism traced to similar prevalent issues like anxiety and back pain. In other words, not supporting those going through menopause costs a lot of money.
However, proactive employers have also realised the opposite is true.
With the right mix of education, leadership prioritisation and flexibility initiatives, menopause support in the workplace delivers a lucrative return on investment.
Take Channel 4, for example.
Their decision in recent years to implement formal menopause guidelines, training and support networks enhanced retention by 80% and fueled major reputation gains as an employer of choice for midlife female talent. People love working there and they want to stay there.
Whilst providing menopause support is simply the right thing to so, it is also a calculated strategy yielding real payoffs.
Finally, representation matters.
Ensuring menopausal voices, needs and insights are incorporated into policy making prevents one-size-fits all directives. Data-driven adjustments should originate from those walking the walk. From those working in an organisation to those bringing menstruation education to the many.
For example, last year, I was invited to join the committee that created the British Standard BS:30416 around staff menstruation, menstrual health and menopause support and planning. A serious endeavour to make sure that menstruation and menopause are being deeply understood.
The standard is now available for all organisations and employers to use to make sure that they are both legally compliant AND doing the best for their team.
As recent tribunal cases prove, failure to introduce policies leaves firms legally and financially exposed.
Menopause in the workplace is no longer an optional agenda item.
Whether you are yet to begin your journey to become a TRULY menstruation and menopause savvy AND supportive employer, or are already well on your way, add the FREE Menopause The Basics course to your staff resources.
It is three 30 mins sessions, run live via ZOOM every two months, keeping it current and on point, packed with real facts and practical tips.
I do this to avoid anyone experiencing the nightmare I did, in my early 40's thinking I had early onset dementia & to avoid any other employer losing valuable talented, knowledgeable, skilled people through ignorance and lack of effective support.
Your trainer, coach and speaker,