Effective employee wellbeing is an essential component of a thriving business. So when it comes to choosing between the vast range of services available, it can make business sense to opt for services with the potential to have the biggest impact on as many employees as possible.

However, as Scott Read, CEO of Employee Services at Growth Partners points out, menopausal women are the fastest-growing demographic in the workforce, yet only 18% of businesses offer menopause support services.

A survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development revealed 47% of women who need to take a day off work due to menopause symptoms don’t tell their employer the real reason for their absence. And 45% of women report that menopausal symptoms have had a negative impact on their work. This calls for an urgent need for more support for both those employees experiencing menopause but also for their managers and co-workers too.

When we consider that menopausal women are at significantly higher risk of leaving their job due to the impact symptoms may have on their work, the argument for menopausal support services in the workplace becomes even more pressing. The average cost to replace an employee is currently 3.5% of their annual salary – a significant financial impact on the bottom line. This cost of course is made up of recruitment charges but also the often-overlooked financial impact of other employees picking up the slack leading to burnout and further increased absence rates. The first 6 to 12 months of employment are the costliest depending on the role – new employees are unable to perform tasks at the required level until they’re fully up to speed, they need training and significant time investment from colleagues and managers to get them there. In most cases (not just those relating to menopausal workers) productivity drops from the moment an employee decides they want to leave.

All this is not to say that despite the lack of specific menopause support services in the workplace, employers are already providing more support services tailored to their workforce. A study by CBI Economics suggests 70% of businesses that can, now give employees more flexibility to work in a way that supports health and wellbeing since the pandemic.

Things employers might want to consider offering employees affected by menopause:

  • Flexible working to support varied working patterns.
  • Confidential professional counselling services.
  • Option to take more regular breaks.
  • Training for managers to better understand the menopause.
  • Providing a supportive work environment that prioritises employee wellbeing.
  • Signposting to reputable local and national support services.
  • Talking openly and normalising life challenges – removing the stigma and taboo around health-related issues.

Of course, services designed to support employees’ physical and emotional wellbeing are all designed to help decrease absence rates, improve productivity, and ultimately achieve business growth. Once a business puts the services in place however, they must ensure they provide the right environment where employees use them for the impact to be truly realised. Employee engagement is more than employee wellbeing services, it’s a culture; it’s all about unlocking discretionary effort. It takes time but investing time and money in employee wellbeing appropriate to the workforce is a crucial first step.

Joanne Swann, Content Manager, WorkWellPro
Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.