Retain the fastest growing workforce demographic

26 July 2023

The British Standard Institute (BSI) is celebrating the launch of the first British standard on menstrual and menopause health. This will help employers to support employees experiencing symptoms of menopause, and it is ultimately aimed at keeping women in work for longer. The standard offers best practice for employers, including recommendations around policy, work design, culture, and physical environment. 

This will provide workplaces with a blueprint for what good looks like when it comes to creating a positive experience for those with symptoms of menopause. The BSI plans to bring this standard to the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) after one year, to turn it into a global standard for businesses and organisations.

Retaining talented women is an opportunity that employers cannot afford to waste in today’s persisting war for talent. Organisations may have to rethink their approach to attraction and retention to meet resourcing demands. They would not be alone; 69% of respondents to our People Perspectives: Redefining the Workforce survey have redefined their workforce strategy as a result of staffing challenges. With women of typical menopause age representing the fastest growing demographic in the workforce right now, the BSI’s standard has come at a good time. 

Our People Perspectives survey revealed that just 15% of businesses currently have initiatives in place to encourage older or retired workers back into the workplace. With the chancellor Jeremy Hunt urging over-50s to return to work to remedy the workers shortage, there is also a role that employers could take in facilitating this. Taking the advice of the BSI and supporting women is a crucial place to start. Being clear about the support you offer when recruiting can have a significant impact on attraction and retention. 

The key considerations suggested by the BSI are outlined below. 

  1. Consider workplace culture. Is there sufficient awareness and understanding about menopause and menstruation in your organisation, about what the common symptoms are? Can employees talk about these issues freely and easily? Is there a support network for women available, or any other tools that enable women to have open conversations and share experiences? 
  2. Do line managers and HR understand the impact of symptoms of menstruation and menopause, or do they need training in this area? 
  3. Is your workplace environment designed to support those with symptoms? Are the toilet and changing facilities suitable, and are there quiet recovery spaces easily accessible?
  4. Do you have a menopause policy in place? Have you reviewed any other policies which interact with menstruation and menopause?

At RSM we can support your organisation with putting a menopause policy in place that ensures compliance with employment legislation, and makes your employees feel valued and able to bring their whole selves to work without fear of stigma. Such a policy could include definitions, understanding of common symptoms, what adjustments you can offer, and signposting for support. 

Our team of HR professionals would be pleased to have a conversation with you about how you can support women in the workplace and create a policy and an approach that works for your organisation. Please contact Kerri Constable for a conversation about people strategy, menopause support, and engagement in the workplace.