The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has teamed up with the government’s first menopause employment champion, Helen Tomlinson, to promote menopause-friendly workplaces.
By joining forces, the CIPD and Tomlinson aim to spread the message to organisations of all sizes and across all sectors that creating supportive working cultures and environments is key to talent attraction and retention in the UK.
The partnership was formed as new research by the professional body for HR showed flexible working is essential in helping female employees manage menopause symptoms in the workplace. It revealed that support from line managers, employers and colleagues made a huge difference to the working lives of those affected.
The survey of 2,000-plus menopausal workers also found that other helpful adjustments included being able to control local temperature and unplanned late starts after sleep disturbances, as well as a healthy and open workplace culture, working with female colleagues of a similar age/experiencing menopause symptoms, employer awareness raising and training, understanding colleagues and management support.
Additionally, around two-thirds (67%) of respondents believe the move towards more home and hybrid working will make it easier to deal with menopause symptoms. However, with about 60% of employees in positions that require them to physically attend a workplace, employers should explore a number of flexible working arrangements that would suit different sectors and roles.
Tomlinson, who was appointed the UK’s first menopause champion in March by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), is responsible for helping organisations create policies to empower women going through the menopause and helping them remain and thrive at work.
The CIPD first called for the creation of the role in 2019 and continues to offer practical support, education and guidance on menopause at work for its 160,000 members.
Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, said: “We’re looking forward to working closely with Helen and the DWP team on this important agenda that could transform the support for women in the workplace and raise awareness and shift cultures everywhere.
“We’ve been championing the importance of menopause friendly workplaces for several years and we look forward to amplifying this work. Particularly at a time when skills shortages persist, employers can’t afford to be missing out on valuable talent, and it is vital that women feel supported to progress their careers throughout all stages of their working lives.
“Open and supportive cultures are pivotal in ensuring women can talk about menopause symptoms and get the support they need at work, as well as being able to raise any concerns.
“Flexible working practices can also help those affected by menopause to manage symptoms. There’s a variety of flexible working practices organisations can offer for most roles, including flexitime, compressed hours, hybrid working, job-sharing and different forms of part-time working. By outlining the options available in job advertisements, employers are likely to be able to recruit from wider talent pools and in turn create fairer and more inclusive workplaces.”
Helen Tomlinson, menopause employment champion, added: “Menopause is an entirely natural but sometimes difficult period affecting 51% of the population. But this is not a time to step down, step back, or step out of their working life. Women over 50 are the fastest growing demographic in the workplace and when employers provide education, support and allyship, they can go on to have arguably the most productive and fulfilling time in their careers.
“It is important that businesses have access to best practice. This shouldn’t be used as competitive advantage in organisations but as part of their Employee Value Proposition. All women, regardless of employer size, sector, race, or socio-economic demographic should be included in this work.
“I am therefore delighted to be collaborating with CIPD. These latest insights are welcome, and I look forward to working with them to amplify and advocate the great work being done to support women and people experiencing perimenopause or menopause.”