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How to support colleagues affected by the menopause?

The menopause is a natural phase in life that affects a significant portion of the workforce, yet many individuals feel unsupported in the workplace during this time. According to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), 17% of people have considered leaving their jobs due to a lack of support for menopausal symptoms. In this blog, we will explore proactive steps managers can take to create a supportive and inclusive working environment for colleagues experiencing the menopause.

1. Foster Open Communication

Encourage open conversations about the menopause within the workplace. Establish employee support groups where individuals can share their experiences and support each other. Educate the entire workforce about menopausal symptoms and challenge any negative attitudes or discriminatory behaviour. By fostering a culture of understanding, you create an environment where colleagues feel comfortable discussing their needs.

2. Regular Check-ins and One-to-Ones

Implement regular, informal one-to-one check-ins with your team members. Use these opportunities to ask how they are feeling and encourage them to raise any concerns or potential issues related to the menopause. Ensure that you are confident and comfortable in managing and supporting colleagues with menopausal symptoms. If needed, seek support from leadership and consider external training providers to enhance your knowledge and skills.

3. Be Proactive in Making Adjustments

Take a proactive approach to making adjustments that support team members experiencing the menopause. Be inclusive and fair in offering assistance to all affected colleagues. Recognize that the impact of menopause can vary among different ethnic groups and may also affect individuals from transgender, non-binary, and intersex communities.

What Not to Say to someone going through the menopause?

“Pull yourself together”
Avoid dismissive comments like “pull yourself together.” Acknowledge the validity of their experience and encourage open dialogue.

“At least you don’t have periods anymore”
Be sensitive to the emotional aspects of menopause, as changes in period frequency can trigger a range of emotions. Avoid assumptions about how someone feels.

“I found the menopause easy”
Recognize that each person’s experience with menopause is unique. Avoid making comparisons or downplaying the challenges others may face.

“Your poor husband/partner”
Steer clear of comments that shift focus away from the individual’s experience and label them as “difficult.” Instead, offer genuine support and understanding.

Creating a supportive workplace for colleagues going through the menopause requires proactive measures, open communication, and empathy. As a manager, your role is crucial in fostering an environment where individuals feel valued, understood, and able to navigate this natural life stage without compromising their professional well-being.

Refine your leadership skills with our Menopause Awareness course. Uncover practical strategies, foster open communication, and gain insights on what NOT to say