Workplace menopause support should be for all
It can be all too easy for organisations to make sweeping generalisations about which employees do and do not need support for menopause. A business needs to function well at all levels and across all areas, so whether an individual works in the post room or the boardroom, they all need and deserve equal support. In fact, over three quarters (77%) of employers say that menopause support should be available to everyone who needs it – and not limited by seniority or role according to our research.
We believe it is significant that 57% of HR leaders say they need to address menopause issues in the workplace in order to retain people. Many employers are giving more priority to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) as part of recruitment and retention drives, and providing support for those experiencing menopause is an important part of such programmes. Employers who don’t are missing an opportunity to support the fastest-growing demographic in the workplace. Of course, menopause doesn’t just affect people in senior roles, it can affect people at every level, and this needs to be reflected in the support offered.
Many employers clearly want to do the right thing in addressing the way they support a diverse workforce. It may be challenging for employers to know who needs support for menopause, and the only way to address this is to have a menopause policy that does not discriminate on any front.
Menopause support important to reputation
We also suggests that employees are more likely to seek out employers who have a good track record on DE&I, even if the policies do not have an immediate impact on their own working life. For example, younger non-menopausal women may observe from a distance how an organisation treats its menopausal staff, and make a judgement about whether they want a long-term future with that employer.
Indeed, two thirds (63%) of HR leaders acknowledge that if they want more women to reach C-suite positions, they have to provide better menopause support. This is not only to directly support those individuals who are experiencing symptoms and issues, but also to attract the next generation of employees who will want to know that the menopause is not a career-hindering experience in their chosen workplace.
The last thing businesses need is a talent exodus of their most experienced staff when they start experiencing menopause. This is a time when women have the most to offer and need to be supported to stay in the business – for the benefit of their own career, the business, and also to mentor other members of staff.
While supporting an individual through the menopause will have a very positive impact on the business itself, it’s also about what DE&I means in practice for all staff. And even when a policy doesn’t impact every single employee, employers must remember that reputations are often won and lost based on how they treat other members of staff.
Menopause does not discriminate by seniority or role and nor should employers.