The business and human cost of not being menopause friendly

The business and human cost of not being menopause friendly

13 Jul 2023

Menopause in the Workplace

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This informal CPD article ‘The business and human cost of not being menopause friendly’ was provided by Deborah Garlick, CEO and founder of Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace, an organisation that provides award-winning, professional services which help develop the right Menopause policies, training and practices for businesses.

Did you know that menopausal women are the fastest growing workplace demographic? In fact, close on 1/5th of the UK workforce is menopausal. Put another way, 5.87 million people of 33 million employed in the UK are working through their menopause.

Often at the peak of their careers, these individuals are a huge asset to their employers. However, one in four considers leaving work due to their menopause symptoms which often include anxiety, sleeplessness, hot flushes, ‘brain fog’ and loss of confidence at home and work.

The human and fiscal cost of losing experienced colleagues is significant. According to Oxford Economics, it costs £30k to replace an individual earning £25k including everything from advertising their job to recruitment, the induction process to additional management and mentoring to settle them in.

Organisations need to create a culture where people can talk about menopause without feeling any embarrassment or worry about what others will think. This may sound onerous but by investing in training, education and support for menopausal colleagues, employers can help safeguard their colleagues’ health and wellbeing. Added to which, they will gain staff loyalty and retain these talented individuals for many more years, post menopause.

Here we show how simple changes can offset the most commonly experienced problems and costs associated with menopause in the workplace.

Losing Employees

Ignore the threat of women leaving their place of work due to menopause symptoms at your peril. You can’t afford to lose them! The average cost to recruit a new employee is £6,100 and that’s before you consider the time and expense of training them, the reduced productivity as they gain the necessary ‘know how’ and the advertising and interviewing processes which have to be undertaken.

Change: It clearly makes sense – not just business sense – to look after existing colleagues by ensuring they have the support they need. Investing in physical workplace adjustments and understanding colleagues is money well spent.

Reduced Productivity

Reducing absence will improve productivity. But you also need to take steps to address the common menopause symptoms that stop people being their best at work bearing in mind that: 75% of menopausal colleagues have poor concentration; 70% experiencing high levels of stress and 67% report a loss in confidence.

Change: Put support in place and train colleagues up as Menopause Champions who can listen, understand and be trusted. This last point is very relevant as many women fear talking about how their symptoms are impacting their work for fear of being misunderstood or considered not up to the job. They believe their future prospects would be under threat if they spoke up.


Menopause symptoms can result in many hours lost through colleagues being absent from work. Many people don’t know their symptoms are due to menopause while others who do know, may not wish to disclose this as the reason for their absence.

Whatever the reason, absence requires extra cover and/or transferring other colleagues to fill the position. Teamwork can be disrupted and productivity limited.

Change: Incorporating more flexible working hours and creating small physical changes in the workplace to provide greater comfort will enable people to work around their menopause symptoms.

Invest in menopause friendly practices

Looking ahead

Being a menopause-friendly organisation not only lets existing colleagues know they are being valued and supported, it is also attractive to younger and prospective employees. Today’s younger employees and recruits will experience menopause symptoms as they grow older. Meanwhile, they are likely to have family, colleagues and friends who are navigating menopause so knowledge of how to support them is valuable to them today.

You can tell a lot about an organisation that can demonstrate it cares for its employees: a menopause friendly employer is clearly aware of inclusivity and diversity which is increasingly important in today’s job market.

Change: Invest in menopause friendly practices and look to gain the industry-recognised Menopause Friendly Accreditation. You will stand out from the crowd and your reputation will grow alongside recognition of you as a caring and supportive employer.

Education and training

This is the key to your organisation making these changes. Gaining the necessary training will allow people to listen and speak, with understanding and confidence, to those who are experiencing menopause. This can be Menopause Champions who can cascade knowledge and training. Line Managers need to be in a position in which they feel comfortable talking about issues. And it needs to be seen that there is an active participation from Senior Leadership.

Education means everyone in your workplace, younger and older colleagues, men and women. Remember, men are affected by the women in their life who are experiencing menopause: partners, relations, friends and colleagues.

Training, talks, webinars and networks will all help make your workplace menopause friendly. Not only will you have a more valued, appreciative and happy team, those positive feelings will transfer to a more productive workforce and attractive workplace.

The business case for being menopause friendly is compelling. Rather than asking themselves if they can afford to be menopause friendly, responsible employers will recognise they can’t afford not to be menopause friendly.

We hope this article was helpful. For more information from Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively, you can go to the CPD Industry Hubs for more articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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For more information from Menopause in the Workplace, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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