I was encouraged to see the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) release a report this week which called on employers to break workplace taboo around the subject of menopause and provide better support for working women.
The report found that three out of five working women between 45 and 55-years-old who are experiencing menopause symptoms say it has a negative impact on them at work – be it through increased stress, struggling to concentrate, anxiety or something else.
While this is another positive step on the journey towards normalising the conversation of female health in the workplace, the need for better support and understanding is still very clear. Nearly a third of women said they’ve had to take sick leave before due to their symptoms, but only a quarter of them felt able to tell their manager the truth behind their absence.
This is because topics such as menopause, periods and fertility are still very much taboo in the workplace. With women over 50-years-old the fastest growing group in the workplace, more women are now going through menopause symptoms during their working lives. This means employers that don’t have tailored support in place to help individuals best manage this could be missing an opportunity to attract and retain the best talent.
Along with the report, the CIPD released some guidance for how employers can better support their workforce, which is a good step. But rather than introducing an initiative that comes across as a ‘nice to have’, the health of your employees needs to become a fundamental part of your strategy if you’re to ensure a continuation of your talent pipeline and better business performance.
Education of managers and senior leaders is very important. But most of all tackling specific health concerns needs to be something that’s ingrained within the organisation from the top and something that your employees know you take seriously. Only then will you begin to unlock the full potential of your workforce.