90% of women find the menopause affects their working life, but a majority
say they feel uncomfortable talking about it at work due to embarrassment
By taking some simple, cost-effective steps, organisations can reduce
stigma surrounding the menopause, and create an open workplace culture
that all employees can benefit from.
An underdiscussed reality
Worryingly, one in four women consider leaving their jobs due to the
menopause. As we are an ageing population, it’s crucial for companies to
make sure their older employees are taken care of in order to retain
Leaders in the workplace often lack confidence discussing the menopause.
They may feel they don’t know enough about it, are unsure how they can
help, or if they can help at all. But there’s no need for managers to
become experts on the topic. After all, plenty of women go on maternity
leave, and managers aren’t expected to become proficient in pregnancy.
How one company showed up for their employees
Sainsbury’s wanted to create an environment where their employees felt
comfortable discussing the menopause in the workplace. With almost one
in five workers in the company of menopausal age, it was essential to
ensure that line managers had access to the right information, and
employees felt supported.
By gathering a group of passionate colleagues who listened carefully to
employee feedback, Sainsbury’s was able to set up a three-phase
approach. First, they organised support, raised awareness, and ensured
their project team had a clear goal to work towards.
The second phase to encourage colleagues to join the project was
launched on World Menopause Day, 18 October 2019. Colleagues were
invited to take part in menopause awareness workshops, attend a Q&A
session and share their own experience on the intranet.
The final phase was to keep communication flowing beyond the launch.
Sainsbury’s work on keeping materials up-to-date and continually look to
improve and evolve the project and support they offer. Menopause is
included in conversations to maintain an open, comfortable workplace.
This normalises the topic, reducing the stigma surrounding it.
Sainsbury’s worked with the menopause training organisation, Henpicked,
to create a fact sheet, guidance documents, and training for managers.
The company also set up a group on Yammer, where every employee could
contribute stories or ask questions in a non-judgmental setting.
Organisations can begin to help their employees with some simple steps.
Providing fans, offering flexible working hours, and making sure
employees are given time off for Doctor’s visits all help to make people
Employers can follow these useful tips to create a beneficial strategy:
Listen – select passionate employees as ambassadors,
who will listen to their colleague’s needs, provide feedback, and
Engage leaders – inform managers to get your
project off the ground, right from the start.
Encourage stories –one of the best ways to raise
awareness is to share individual experiences. Create an online portal
or chat group where people can tell their stories and connect with
Include every employee – “We know that menopause
isn’t just an issue for women”, says Sarah Beisly, Diversity and
Inclusion Manager at Sainsbury’s. Get everyone involved in the
conversation, including men.
Get expert help – work with an organisation that has
extensive knowledge about the menopause and how to set up a workplace
Start now – by getting the ball rolling today, the
benefits of a workforce that feels supported will soon become clear.
This will pave the way for a more inclusive, open workplace for the
We are proud to be a leader in creating a menopause policy that supports our employees. If you are interested in creating your own menopause policy, and would like to see ours, we’d be happy to share this with you. Contact us today to see our menopause policy.