In a recent article by IOSH, it was stated that women should be supported at all stages of their reproductive life cycle – the 3M’s, menstruation, maternity and menopause. Having had first-hand experience with the effects of menopause, I strongly believe that women should be supported not just by their partners and families but equally by their employers. After all, the average person spends more hours working than with their families.
Women who have been severely affected by menopause, as I have been, can suddenly find themselves in a place of uncertainty having to deal with the mental and emotional strain, and the physical change on a day-to-day basis whilst trying to get to a place of equilibrium. During the difficult days, understanding and support become necessary to maintain some level of normality.
Menopause is a natural stage of a woman’s life. Although quite frustrating and in certain cases somewhat debilitating, it is nothing to be ashamed of. Therefore, I feel no embarrassment in discussing this topic openly. Sadly, this is not the case for many women, as they are concerned about the stigma attached to menopause and maintaining their positions at work. This problem has become a topical news item and should remain so until more employers begin to pay attention and provide the support necessary for women, enabling them to maintain their confidence within the workplace. It is important for anyone experiencing menopausal symptoms to get the same level of support as with other health issues. This would help to reduce sickness absence and retain valuable skills and knowledge.
A cultural shift may be necessary in some organisations in order to provide the level of support required to women in such situations. With a good human resource management system, trained managers and good leadership, the required change is achievable. Some initial steps could include:
The adjustment of company policies to include menopause. For example, Equality & Diversity and Sickness Absence.
Considering more flexible working practices which could include more breaks or change in hours or work.
Having open, fair and consistent communication with employees.
Changing management styles to build a relationship of trust.
Not ignoring changes in an employee’s behaviour or performance.
Regular informal one-to-ones with members of your team.
Treating each person differently and not making assumptions.
The management of Human Resource is one of the most important areas of any organisation. Failure to manage and retain competence can be detrimental to any business. Having an ISO 9001 certified Quality Management System helps companies to manage their human resource processes and practices more effectively. Quality management encompasses all areas of a business and as such, can be an effective business tool. If you are an employer who would like improve your leadership skills, review and change your business processes and practices to become more proactive, supportive and more respected by your employees and customers, why not get in touch with one of Base Solutions consultants to discuss how we can help you to achieve this.