“Menopause should not be a topic that is shied away from.”
As one of the UK's largest private-sector employers and with a workforce comprising mainly of women, Tesco is supporting the Wellbeing of Women Menopause Workplace Pledge campaign.
The company has signed the Menopause Workplace Pledge and is committed to helping its staff understand and talk openly about menopause. Following feedback from colleagues, Tesco has also introduced breathable fabrics for its in-store uniforms to help those going through menopause feel more comfortable at work.
Emma Taylor, Tesco’s Chief People Officer, explains more.
Menopause impacts us all. We will either experience it ourselves or know a family member, friend or colleague that experiences it. Therefore, it’s something we all need to know about and isn’t just an issue for women.
In the UK alone, Tesco employs around 300,000 colleagues, more than half of which are female. We encourage open, honest and positive conversations across our business, helping colleagues to feel confident in talking about their own health and wellbeing, and helping us to assist with any support they may need.
Encouraging and supporting staff to speak out
We know that women in the workplace can often suffer in silence when it comes to menopause. Others may not be equipped with information to understand what it may mean for them, their family, friends and other colleagues.
For World Menopause Day in 2019, we held a Making Menopause Matter Panel event, bringing experts, famous faces and colleagues together to start a conversation. Since then, the conversations have continued with incredible and inspirational colleagues coming forward to share their experiences and empower others.
This is important, not only for colleagues who might need support but also for our managers and wider colleague population, to learn more about how we can all be there for each other.
Helping our employees understand and manage menopause
In 2019 we launched a Women’s Health Guide to raise awareness and understanding about the life stages that women go through, including menopause.
This was followed by the launch of a Colleague Menopause Guide in May 2022, which includes information on menopause, symptoms people may experience and the impact these can have in the workplace. It signposts colleagues to support and links to other external resources.
For managers, there’s a support section to help guide conversations and advise on changes for colleagues who are struggling with their symptoms.
At the beginning of 2022, in response to colleague feedback around the menopause and the physical discomfort it brings at work, we introduced a more breathable fabric into our uniform for colleagues in stores.
Being there for each other
Tesco Bank set up a Talking Menopause Colleague Café, meeting four times a year, to hold spotlight sessions on different topics relating to menopause and provide a place for colleagues to come and find out more.
In addition, the Hot@Tesco colleague support group allows colleagues to connect, share experiences, information, resources and be there for each other.
The Talking Menopause Colleague Café has now been opened up to all colleagues across the Tesco Group and the learnings from Hot@Tesco have been used to create a support group for our UK business. These are helping encourage even more people into the conversation around menopause.
Training and support for colleagues and managers
Our community of more than 1,000 Wellbeing Champions across the UK has received menopause training to better equip them with knowledge and understanding of menopause. This will enable them to have conversations in their workplace and signpost colleagues to resources.
We’ve also enhanced our resources and support services available to colleagues, which has benefited those experiencing symptoms. This includes free access to:
- an Employee Assistance Programme that offers even more emotional support to colleagues with access to a range of wellbeing practitioners including nutritionists, sleep therapists and exercise coaches. This is in addition to in-the-moment emotional wellbeing support and structured counselling
- the introduction of a Virtual GP service, giving 24/7, 365 access to appointments with a GP.
We will continue to learn from others and update the support we have for colleagues as we work to empower women and ensure everyone feels welcome at Tesco.
We are so pleased to be working with Wellbeing of Women on such an important campaign, as we pledge to talk openly, positively and respectfully about the menopause. Together, we can make a positive change for women in the workplace.
Wellbeing for Women is asking employers to sign the Menopause Workplace Pledge and support their colleagues going through the menopause. Find out more about the campaign and how you can get involved.