You are here: Home - News -

DIFF: Women need to be managed differently – The Mortgage Mum

  • 29/03/2022
  • 0
DIFF: Women need to be managed differently – The Mortgage Mum
Women have different needs at work and may need to be managed differently, according to Sarah Tucker, founder of The Mortgage Mum.

Speaking at the Diversity and Inclusion Finance Forum (DIFF) Executive meeting on Tuesday 22 February, Lucinda Pincott, menopause awareness advocate, began the session by recapping her presentation from the Leadership meeting, with the suggestion that menopause policies should be implemented at workplaces.

Pincott’s key takeaways were that appointing a menopause champion and flexibility could help women employees experiencing symptoms in recognising their condition and finding relief.

She also advocated for establishing an open environment where women were able to ask for support without prejudice or intimidation, which would minimise their fear of feeling like they were failing at work. Pincott added that if senior colleagues opened the conversation around menopause, “people will be glad” that they are not being dismissed. This could be as simple as offering to speak to HR, letting employees know you are doing research on it and informing them that help is available if needed.

Male colleagues could assist by simply having a conversation, but also said she understood it was not always easy for them to do so.

Pincott said there was also a business case for being menopause aware at work, as it reduced the number of female staff taking time off or leaving work due to their symptoms. This could also prevent companies getting caught out by the growing number of women taking their employers to court over unfair dismissal or sexual discrimination relating to perimenopause and menopause.

Managing women differently

Pincott’s presentation was followed by a fireside chat with Tucker.

Tucker said while it could be a “controversial statement”, she felt women needed to be managed differently at work.

“It’s what I passionately believe – women are different to men, that is a fact. There are similarities, but actually the more I speak about things like what women value from a company that they work for, they want to be seen, they want to be heard, they want to be appreciated,” she added.

Tucker said women were least happy when they were not seen or appreciated by their friends and family, and said this also applied in the workplace.

She added: “I’ve felt it in other companies. If they see me, and they praise me, it goes on longer than the 15-second compliment lasts. It fills a deep a gap for women.”

Speaking of the monthly and midlife hormonal changes women go through, Tucker said: “I’m not at my best in the week before my period is due and I’m brilliant two weeks later. I teach the women in my team to optimise their work cycles around it and be aware of it.

“You can’t say to a mortgage client ‘I can’t see you this week I’m afraid, because I’m due on and just want to eat chocolate’, but you can think to yourself, ‘what would I need that week? How could I give myself a day off that week, potentially, or just be aware that I might not be on top form?’.”

While she was yet to go through menopause herself, Tucker said she had firsthand experience of the effects of it due to her mum and the women in her team.

She said: “The biggest role model in my life, my mum, went through it when I was around 21.

“Her doctor never told her what it was. She wouldn’t leave the house without me, she wouldn’t stay in the house without me, and my career got put on hold so I could just be there.”

Tucker’s mother’s symptoms got so bad that she considered admitting herself into a mental health hospital as she was convinced she had dementia.

“She was like a butterfly that went into this horrible cocoon, and we all had to live with it,” Tucker said.

After the menopause ended, Tucker said her mother “blossomed” and she had seemed more self-aware since.

Holistic care

While Tucker never set out to make The Mortgage Mum menopause friendly, she said focusing on the health of her team meant paying attention to all the concerns women have and how that may affect their work.

She holds regular women’s circles where her employees discuss any issues on their mind.

Tucker said: “It’s [about] creating the space for a woman to talk and be listened to, uninterrupted.

“Some people just literally pass the mic, and just think of nothing worse than opening up to us about what’s going on with them, mainly because they don’t want to open up to themselves.

“It takes time and some of those women who didn’t join in, now do.”

She also organises spa and relaxation days for her staff, saying: “I know if I give them the cash [for spa days], they won’t do it. So we book it and say, ‘what treatment do you want?’”

While it takes time, she said it was possible to change the culture of a workplace and make it more welcoming by putting initiatives in place.

Tucker said patience also went a long way when working with or managing someone going through menopause.

Pincott added offering health insurance, which includes menopause, could also be beneficial.

Retaining staff

Tucker said it was important to speak about menopause and have a workplace policy as women who were going through it tended to be “the most skilled, professional, educated and experienced”, and it would be a shame to lose them if they were unable to manage their symptoms and their workload.

She said The Mortgage Mum recently had an employee leave for that reason, as although the company aims to address these issues, working while experiencing hormonal changes can be overwhelming.

Tucker said: “It was really difficult decision for her, and it wasn’t our decision. There’s nothing I could have done. The hard reality is, she just didn’t want that responsibility right now.”

The employee in question was a new mortgage broker and Tucker said her role at the company would remain open for her if she wanted it.


Five key takeaways

  • Consider implementing a menopause policy at your firm or suggesting one to senior management
  • Perimenopause and menopause symptoms can affect and hinder work performance
  • Women may need different management styles
  • Female staff should try to work around their hormonal cycles to ensure they perform at their best
  • Remember to be patient, open and make time for self care

There are 0 Comment(s)

You may also be interested in