How does your organisation support people experiencing the menopause or perimenopause?
Did you know some companies have menopause champions and networks?
If you’ve never considered this topic before, now is the time to work alongside your HR colleagues to determine what that support looks like – both for people experiencing it and their managers and teams.
I’ve included a lot of resources at the end of this article to help you, including menopause policy examples.
Further reading via All Things IC: How to support employees through the menopause.
It’s top of mind for me as someone who is currently experiencing perimenopause. There’s such a taboo feeling, but there shouldn’t be.
I spent yesterday teaching a bespoke day for a client’s Comms team in London. Towards the end of the day I was fanning myself with an All Things IC postcard – good job we always have so much stationery to hand – while walking around the group during a discussion session.
A hot flush had kicked in, I couldn’t hide it and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I was upfront with my client and we discussed my HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy).
Did you know according to the Government Equalities Office “menopausal women are the fastest growing demographic in the workforce, increasing as retirement age does, with 3 out of 4 experiencing symptoms which could have an impact on their work.” According to the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) “nearly 8 out of 10 are in work.”
I have chosen to use the inclusive phrase people experiencing perimenopause and menopause in this article, rather than women, except for direct quotes.
According to Henpicked: “Hormonal changes can also be experienced during other times of life, such as when undergoing fertility treatment, hormonal treatments, or caused by certain illnesses. It’s a much wider community than we often realise. We need to make sure we’re fully inclusive in all our conversations around menopause.
“Trans and non-binary people can experience menopausal symptoms due to changes in hormones. These can fluctuate, as treatments can often stop and start again. And it’s important for employers to understand that for those undergoing a medical transition, the whole process takes up to seven years.”
Further reading: Guidance on menopause and the workplace – by the Faculty of Occupational Medicine.
Further reading: Why diversity and inclusion matter in menopause support – by Henpicked.
Does your company have a menopause policy in place?
Channel 4 launched the UK media industry’s first dedicated menopause policy on World Menopause Day 2019, aiming to support employees experiencing menopausal symptoms and to provide guidance for line managers.
They define menopause and perimenopause as:
Menopause: the point at which a woman’s oestrogen levels decline, and she stops having periods. Menopausal symptoms are typically experienced for several years so it’s best described as a ‘transition’ rather than a one-off event.
Perimenopause: this is the phase leading up to the menopause when a woman’s hormone balance starts to change, and when she may begin to experience menopausal symptoms. For some women this can start as early as their twenties or as late as their late forties.
How companies are supporting their menopausal employees
I get so many press releases sent to me every week. I rarely publish them as they’re often not related to the wonderful world of internal communication and organisational communication.
However, I was interested to read about the UK’s Certified Top Employers 2023 (as recognised by Top Employers Institute through its 2023 Certification Programme) and how they are “leading the way in supporting their workforces to be at their best during what can be a very challenging time.”
Gosh if ever there was an understatement!
Perimenopausal brain fog is dire. I’d experienced brain fog in 2020 during the pandemic when my family got Coronavirus. I was so grateful when it lifted months later.
To have it back again over the past 12 months has been debilitating and overwhelming. I couldn’t understand what was going on with my mind and why I couldn’t think in the way I used to.
I would grind to a complete halt in the middle of teaching content I know like the back of my hand. My brain would freeze, fog over and no words would come.
Finally being diagnosed as perimenopausal last year came as a relief. I’ve now started HRT and have been educating myself. The brain fog has significantly improved and I’m adjusting to the changes.
Further reading: I recommend reading Davina McCall and Dr Naomi Potter’s book, Menopausing.
What are companies doing?
Many Certified Top Employers are now introducing a specific menopause policy to support colleagues, by providing guidance on making reasonable adjustments to support those experiencing menopause symptoms – such as East Midlands Railway and architectural firm Foster + Partners.
Retailer QVC have secured an external ‘Menopause Friendly Accreditation’, as have other Certified Top Employers including Pfizer UK, Santander and Scottish railway company ScotRail.
Technology firm Computacenter launched a menopause employee network last year, which has been a great hub of support for those going through perimenopause and menopause, and those supporting them. They also actively include awareness sessions in their wellbeing calendar of events.
Finance solutions provider BNP Paribas Personal Finance introduced 12 ‘menopause champions’ to encourage, advise, and support others within the organisation.
Global leader in energy, digital and industrial transformation, Bouygues Energies & Services UK introduced e-learning modules which aim to increase understanding of the menopause across the business. Its employee-led women’s network, WeLink, also organised a webinar with Laura Shuckburgh who specialises in menopause coaching. She shared practical tips to feel more confident when discussing the subject with loved ones and ways to enhance wellbeing at work throughout both perimenopause and the menopause itself.
“It is so important that businesses support their workforce through the menopause as every one of them is still the same motivated and engaged individual that was originally employed, they just need help through what is, in effect, a medical condition. As an example, if an employee broke their leg but still wanted to come to work, would the business make arrangements to support them? If so, what’s the difference? It make economic sense to help employees be their very best and if that means making temporary accommodations to help them then that makes good commercial sense” says Emma Guy, author of The Menopausal Godmother.
Androna Benadé, Regional Manager UK & Ireland at Top Employers Institute says: “Women in midlife play a vital role in our businesses, economy, workplaces and society.
Creating a supporting environment during the sometimes challenging experience of menopause allow these employees to continue to thrive and deliver their best work.”
Top Employers Institute is the global authority on recognising excellence in people practices. They have reviewed HR policies and People Practices across a number of organisations around the world to certify the Top Employers for 2023 – including 99 organisations in the UK.
Spanning a mix of sectors, and of all different sizes, these companies are doing great things when it comes to looking after their people. Topical issues such as financial wellbeing and the cost of living crisis are being addressed, alongside more structural and systemic challenges including gender equality, diversity, equality and inclusion and mental health and wellbeing.
To achieve Top Employer Certification, participating organisations are assessed by Top Employers Institute via a rigorous analysis of their HR practices. The HR Best Practices Survey, completed by the HR team, covers six HR domains consisting of 20 topics across the business and employee lifecycle, including People Strategy, Work Environment, Talent Acquisition, Learning, Well-being and Diversity & Inclusion. The information is then validated and audited independently to ensure the integrity of the processes and data.
UK Top Employers 2023 – in alphabetical order:
Alphabet (GB) Limited
Amadeus IT Services UK Ltd
Apollo Tyres (UK) Holdings Ltd
BAT UK Ltd
Baxter Healthcare UK
BMW Financial Services
BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK
Bouygues Energies & Services UK
BSH Home Appliances
CHEP UK Ltd
Coca-Cola Europacific Partners
Dana United Kingdom
DHL Cross-Border Solutions UK
DHL Global Forwarding United Kingdom
DHL International (UK) Ltd
DHL Parcel UK Ltd
East Midlands Railway
FedEx Express UK Limited
Foster + Partners
Haier Europe UK & Ireland
HCL Technologies Ltd
Huawei Technologies (UK) Co., Ltd.
Imperial Brands UK
Ingredion UK Limited
J D Wetherspoon
Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd
Kuehne + Nagel Ltd
Lidl Great Britain Limited
Lidl Northern Ireland Limited
Molson Coors Beverage Company
Nice-Pak International Ltd
Olympus Surgical Technologies Europe UK
Perfetti Van Melle UK Ltd
Philip Morris Ltd
Phillips 66 Limited
Rider Levett Bucknall UK Limited
Sacker & Partners LLP
Saffery Champness LLP
Securitas Security Services UK
Takeda UK Limited
Tata Consultancy Services
Travis Perkins Plc
Virtusa UK Limited
Vistry Group LTD
Androna Benadé, Regional Manager UK & Ireland says: “The time has come once again, and we are proud to celebrate and recognise our Certified UK Top Employers 2023 for their world class people practices. The world of work has undergone significant change over the last few years, and the Top Employers Certification recognises these organisations for what they are continuously doing to support and develop their people.”
Do you have a story to share about how your organisation is supporting employees experiencing menopause? If so and you’d like to write for the All Things IC blog, please refer to our guest article guidelines before getting in touch.
Resources recommended by CIPD:
- NHS guidance on menopause – www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/
- Women’s Health Concern (the patient arm of the British Menopause Society) – www.womens-health-concern.org
- British Menopause Society – https://thebms.org.uk
- Support for premature menopause – www.daisynetwork.org.uk
- Faculty of Occupational Medicine – www.fom.ac.uk/health-at-work-2/information-for- employers/dealing-with-health-problems-in-the-workplace/advice-on-the-menopause
- Henpicked, Menopause in the Workplace – https://menopauseintheworkplace.co.uk
- Menopause Café – ‘gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss menopause’ – www.menopausecafe.net
- Talking Menopause – www.talkingmenopause.co.uk
- Menopause Matters – www.menopausematters.co.uk
- Menopause Support – https://menopausesupport.co.uk/
- Meg’s Menopause – https://megsmenopause.com/menopause/.
Menopause policy information
I’ve found some examples online of various menopause policies. See the links below for more information. Do you have one to add to this list?
Further reading: Journal on creating menopause policies:https://www.atworkpartnership.co.uk/journal/issue/15_3/contents/developing-workplace-menopause-policies
How to write your menopause policy – by Henpicked.
Examples of menopause policies
- Age UK’s menopause policy
- Channel 4’s menopause policy
- NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s menopause policy
- NHS Wales’ menopause policy
- NHS Hull’s menopause policy
- London Southbank University’s menopause policy
- NASUWT’s menopause policy.
I hope you’ve found this article useful,
Post author: Rachel Miller.
First published on the All Things IC blog 18 January 2023.
Note: The link to Menopausing via Amazon is an affiliate link.