Five workplace taboos and how you can tackle them

However inclusive the workplace is, some topics can be tough to discuss. Are you worried your employees might have concerns they aren’t talking about?

We explore five workplace taboos and what you can do to break the stigma.

A woman in a white shirt at a desk. Her finger is pressed to her mouth implying 'shhh'

1. The menopause

Menopausal symptoms can be challenging for women to discuss. Symptoms range from hot flushes to brain fog, sleepless nights, and depression. Menopausal women are the fastest-growing workforce demographic, according to a report by HR News.

However, the topic is often taboo, with 63% of women claiming their employers don’t have policies to help them through the transition.

In fact, 1 in 10 women has quit their jobs due to menopausal symptoms.

Listen to the Clear Company’s podcast on starting a conversation about menopause.

ClearTalents at work helps women self-disclose menopausal symptoms and can help you to identify reasonable adjustments that may help.

2. Talking about diversity

There’s an important distinction between diversity and inclusion.

A diverse workforce has a breadth of employees from diverse backgrounds of different ages, sexual preferences and abilities.

A genuinely inclusive workplace embraces a culture where people can bring their authentic selves to work and gives them the tools to perform at their best.

However, there’s evidence that some avoid discussing diversity in the workplace for fear of getting it wrong. We believe it’s vital to keep the conversation going.

ClearTalents is designed around the 9 protected characteristics in The Equality Act 2010.

3. Mental Health

Everyone has mental health. However, mental illness is hard to discuss, and a perceived stigma is attached. It’s also often a disability that’s invisible.

Yet, according to the Mental Health Foundation, almost one in seven of us has experience of mental illness.

Nearly half of UK workers are close to burnout.

Depression and anxiety accounted for 50% of all work-related ill-health in 2020/21.

Mental health is the most requested form of reasonable adjustment through ClearTalents.

4. Ill-health and long-term conditions

According to the International Longevity Centre, older workers make up a greater proportion of the workforce across the G20. According to the CIPD, over 10.4 million older workers account for nearly a third (32.6%) of the workforce and more than 1.2 million workers over 65. With age comes experience, but it may also increase the likelihood of acquired disabilities and long-term conditions.

ClearTalents At Work enables employees to self-disclose long-term conditions.

5. Caring responsibilities

People can be reluctant to discuss caring responsibilities in the workplace. A report by the CIPD found that almost a third of working carers haven’t discussed their caring role with anyone at work. The same report says that a quarter of working carers are considering giving up their job entirely because of the difficulty they experienced in combining work and care – meaning you could lose good people from your team. However, you could keep them by making a few reasonable adjustments.

Cyber Essentials