What is the Healthily menopause policy?

17 October 2021 in Company

Chief People and Culture Officer Geraldine Butler-Wright explains how Healthily supports colleagues when they’re going through the menopause.

Menopause matters

All too often, the menopause is talked about in hushed tones. At Healthily, we recognise the importance of being open and supporting our people, especially when they need it most.

We support Healthilies when they become a parent, when they become sick and when they need compassionate leave, so why wouldn’t we support them when they’re experiencing a health and life milestone such as the menopause?

For us, having a menopause policy and initiatives is obvious, and a natural progression for a Health Tech company that cares not only about its users' conditions, but those of its employees (Healthilies), too. We pride ourselves on being one company, inside and out.

The aim of our menopause policy is to ensure an open, understanding and inclusive working environment. We’ve set out the rights of Healthilies experiencing the menopause and explained the support available to them. Here are a few highlights:

  • Increasing awareness with information sessions on the menopause that are facilitated by the Medical and People teams. All Healthilies are encouraged to attend this session, to enable them to assist Healthilies who are going through the menopause.
  • Access to an employee assistance programme, a flexible benefits provider (where people can access a range of wellness programmes to help with common menopause symptoms such as anxiety and depression) and Healthily’s own menopause resources.
  • Making reasonable adjustments. Whether it’s ensuring that there’s a comfortable working temperature in the office, or providing a budget for a home office setup.
  • Flexible working. We recognise that difficulty sleeping is a common symptom of the menopause. To reflect this, as well as the impact of other common symptoms, we aim to facilitate flexible working wherever possible. We trust our people to manage their time in a way that’s best for them and their team. Perhaps a change to their pattern of hours or a reduction in hours would help, on either a temporary or permanent basis. It’s all up for discussion.

I sincerely hope that other companies, especially in health, will consider initiating a policy such as ours. Here’s why:

  • There's a very reasonable expectation from candidates and employees that health companies walk the walk and talk the talk when it comes to the health and wellness of their people. It inspires a positive culture of trust and authenticity. When companies get this kind of culture right, people will want to stay and do the best work of their lives. In turn, the company gets a great product, more users and a successful business. What’s not to love?
  • The demographic of the workforce is changing and, quite frankly, companies need to wise up to the benefits this brings. In the words of Professor Dame Lesley Regan, Chair of Wellbeing of Women: "In the UK, there are nearly 5 million working women aged 45-60. The majority of these women will go through the menopause, which frequently coincides with the peak of their careers, a time when they’re at their most successful and productive. By supporting women, employers can help to attract and improve retention of staff, ensure a diverse and inclusive workforce, increase productivity, maximise employee wellbeing and address the gender pay gap. When we get it right for women, everyone benefits, both in the workplace and beyond."

Some startups/scale-ups may dismiss menopause initiatives as something that’s only for large corporations, on-trend for the moment, or not appropriate for their ‘younger’ work environment. Do so at your peril. Beyond diminishing the diversity of your organisation (age being a less-talked about discriminator), you’re missing out on an incredibly valuable group of experienced contributors who have much to offer. In the super-charged, candidate-driven market we’re currently experiencing, you can’t be flippant when it comes to a menopause policy or initiatives. They’re a compelling employer value proposition, to not only attract and retain exceptional talent, but also holds the potential to boost your brand in the eyes of consumers and investors.

Estimates from healthcare company Bupa suggest 900,000 women in the UK have quit their jobs due to the menopause. This is a shameful brain drain from the workplace and I strongly believe we must do better as a society. Creating a menopause policy and having similar initiatives to support people at such a critical time in their lives is a much-needed step in the right direction.

I’m very hopeful that our efforts at Healthily will help pave a path in the workplace to where talking about the menopause is normalised. Supporting people during this time will help attract and retain exceptional talent, who have given much and will continue to do so in a modern working world.

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Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.

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