3 ways HR can improve employee retention for midlife women

January 16, 2023

In the wake of the Great Resignation (or Great Reshuffle), employee retention has never been a higher priority for human resources teams than it is now. 

In fact, according to Lattice, 83% of teams are investing either “somewhat” or “significantly” more into employee retention than they have in the past. 

But one group might be overlooked at your company: midlife women. Yep, you read that right. Women between the ages of 42 and 58 might be your key to increasing employee retention rates. Why?

Menopause in the Workplace: A Secret Driver of Employee Attrition?

Well, there’s a secret struggle brewing amongst your female workforce: menopause. By 2025, 1.1 billion women are expected to be postmenopausal—that means your women are experiencing it now.   

And menopause at work is no joke. It causes impactful, disruptive symptoms like pain, brain fog, headaches, hot flashes, fatigue, sleep disruption, bladder issues, and more—all of which negatively affect a woman’s mental and physical health as well as her ability to work productively.  

It might also be one of the reasons why so many women employees leave the workforce. 

Shockingly, 10% of menopausal women will leave employment when they don’t want to due to a lack of suitable support at their workplace. This number is simply unacceptable when there are many medical interventions that can drastically improve symptoms. 

So how can you retain midlife women? Let’s explore some employee retention strategies that can help you (especially as you plan your HR strategy ​​for 2023).

Tools for Retaining Midlife Employees

1. Focus on Employee Health — For Real

In recent years, women’s health has become a more commonplace topic in the workplace, but women are still disproportionately affected by health and employee healthcare issues—often leading them to leave the workforce, seek new or part-time jobs, or be passed over for promotions. 

In order to solve this unmet need, companies often turn to an Employee Assistance Program, or EAP. But historically, Employee Assistance Programs have been underutilized by employees. In fact, EAP utilisation averages below 10%. This may be due to a number of factors—including stigma—but also because your company’s EAP might not cover the issues that are truly plaguing your employee population.

When exploring options for employee healthcare, make sure you’re considering all the many unique needs of your workforce. For midlife women, for instance, that may mean medical support for menopause or fertility and adoption services. 

2. Implement the Right HR Policies

While not wildly exciting on paper, truly strategic human resource management involves writing and implementing strong HR policies. When it comes to employee retention—especially for women—consider adding policies to formalise things like menopause support, sick days for periods, and parental leave. Don’t leave it to a case-by-case basis or you could find yourself losing employees who otherwise would want to stay (and even facing potential legal risks). 

3. Build Belonging

Human resource planning is so much more than offering the right benefits and compensation; it’s also about building inclusive, diverse workforces where your employees feel like they truly belong. According to Harvard Business Review, “High belonging was linked to a whopping 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days. For a 10,000-person company, this would result in annual savings of more than $52M.” 

Employee Health is a Workplace Issue

So what’s the takeaway here? When you’re building your HR strategy, ensure that you’re thinking about all your employees—but don’t forget about your midlife women employees. They bring immense talent, experience, and leadership to your company, and your benefits packages, HR policies, and culture may not be supporting them enough to keep them.

If you’re looking for additional advice and tips on retaining your midlife employees download our free Menopause Support Toolkit here.

The toolkit includes:

  • 3 steps to implementing effective menopause support in your business
  • Menopause facts everyone should know
  • Tips from a leading menopause expert
  • Free survey for your workforce
  • And much more