How we've transformed our approach to a condition that can affect half the workforce

By Lisa Macis, Key Account Manager Haematology/Oncology and Project Lead menopause in the workplace, Bristol Myers Squibb UK & Ireland

The memory is still vivid. Head in hands, tears streaming down my face, skin itchy, head throbbing, the sweat of my body causing my new outfit to stick to me. I felt humiliated, depressed and as if I was failing in a job I loved.

That’s what the menopause can do. It can play havoc with you and how you perform at work, mix with colleagues, and relate to friends and family. For too long, the menopause has turned people like me into victims, when all that’s happening is totally natural. That’s why, according to reports, almost a million people have quit their jobs. They feel let down by employers.

I work in an industry that prides itself on understanding patients. That’s why Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) has transformed its approach to menopause in the workplace. By understanding its impact more completely, our working relationships can be more empowering. The company has created a culture where people feel able to openly share their experiences. Our leadership is driving a company-wide training scheme so we can better support those going through the menopause. And we now have 18 menopause advocates who will ensure that menopausal issues are part of our internal communications.

Three women talking with a cup of take away coffee in their hands

At every touchpoint where someone at BMS might struggle, everyone will be aware what menopause is and means. One in four go through a serious menopause and it can be debilitating. If we can be honest and open about things, we can educate people so they don’t resort to uncaring behaviours and comments.

Eventually I was properly diagnosed, got the right treatment and gradually my confidence returned. By telling stories like mine, we’re not admitting to weakness. Instead, it’s an expression of strength and empowerment. The same qualities we seek to inspire in our patients, raising awareness and breaking down barriers.


April 2022