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"It’s a great feeling to know Pfizer takes menopause support in the workplace seriously."

Global pharmaceutical powerhouse, Pfizer, has become one of the latest organisations to sign up to the Menopause Workplace Pledge.

Tess Neal, Menopause Lead at Pfizer UK, looking at the camera and smiling

Driving forward Pfizer’s menopause support is Tess Neal, the company’s UK Menopause Lead alongside the strong DE&I Structure within.

Thanks to Tess, Pfizer has a myriad of measures in place, which she says all stem from a simple conversation with a workmate.

“Back in 2019, my friend and I were going through the perimenopause together. We would talk about it and share our experiences with each other every time we met for lunch. Eventually, we thought we couldn’t be the only ones are going or have gone through this, so we started speaking to other people at work.

'We found a community of women at work in need of support’

We soon found more people who were also experiencing the menopause and perimenopause, so my friend and I decided to create a social network group – a safe space for Pfizer employees to come together and talk about anything and everything related to menopause. We used this private group to share our stories, any challenges we were experiencing, and to post any interesting information we found online.

Of course, the thing with menopause is that it can be different for everyone. It was great to have an online support group at work, but we didn’t want to stop at that. We felt we needed to do more.

We started organising ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions. We would ask the group for topic ideas and then set them up, inviting experts to share their knowledge with us. These sessions have grown in popularity, and the attendee rate grows every time we hold a session.

Developing a package of menopause support

By 2022, things had really snowballed. As well as the support group and ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions. I worked with HR and others to:

  • publish a menopause policy for all UK workers across all business functions, from our laboratories to corporate offices,
  • launch a dedicated menopause information page on the company’s intranet site,
  • organise company-wide access to a digital health app that provides all employees with information about the menopause and easy access to healthcare professionals.

I was also heavily involved in the creation of an eLearning course to help managers learn about the impact menopause can have on women in the workplace and the actions they can take to support them. This is now included in all our new starter induction packs and has been extremely well received.

What’s also great is that, although our policy and online training is for a UK audience, with an emphasis on UK employment law, HR guidelines and things like that, it is possible for the company’s other sites in other countries to take what we’ve done and adapt it.

'I'm really proud that Pfizer has signed the Menopause Workplace Pledge’

When I heard about the Menopause Workplace Pledge I, I thought it would be a great opportunity to formalise our commitments to menopause support at Pfizer. I shared the benefits of signing the pledge with our HR team, who reviewed the pledge and supported the decision to sign up.

Signing the Menopause Workplace Pledge demonstrates internally and externally that Pfizer is committed to making sure everyone at work gets the support they may need to continue being productive and successful.

It’s a great feeling to know Pfizer takes menopause support in the workplace seriously and is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with so many other like-minded organisations.

But we’re not done yet! There is a lot more we want to do, such as more training and information sessions and videos of employees – including men – talking about their own perspective and experience of menopause. And I’m busy making these things a reality.

It’s important that menopause is talked about and normalised. It shouldn’t be a taboo subject – being open about it is the only way to make sure everyone understands what it is and the role they can play in supporting each other.”

woman leading a workplace presentation

The Menopause Workplace Pledge

If you are an employer, sign up to the Menopause Workplace Pledge and join Pfizer and thousands of other organisations across the UK in supporting your staff going through the menopause. It can help make all the difference to so many people’s lives.