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Four important things people managers can do to support their team throughout life events.

The role of a people manager is pivotal in providing support to help individuals balance personal life events with work responsibilities.

Life events can range from having children and taking parental leave, to the challenges of dealing with bereavement, loss, or grief. Many people also face the complexities of experiencing health challenges, managing the menopause, or caring for people - whether those are elderly relatives or a young family.


  • 9 million people in the UK have unpaid carer responsibilities (Signpost for Carers)
  • 1 in 6 people who experiencing menopause symptoms are considering leaving their job because of it… 1 million people have left their jobs (CIPD 2023)


We all have life events happen to us outside of work. And yet we hear from statistics that many people still feel uncomfortable or are unable to approach these subjects with their managers:

  • 58% of people who experience loss still have challenges around their performance several months after a bereavement. (Marie Curie)
  • Only one third of people experiencing the menopause feel comfortable talking to their manager about it. (CIPD 2023)

The world of work cannot be managed successfully without understanding and supporting the life events that we experience. Because these factors can and do significantly impact on an individual's performance and their well-being in the workplace.

It is our job as people managers to support our team during these times and create an inclusive and supportive work environment.

What can people managers do to support their team throughout the life events?

To effectively support their team members through life events, people managers need to take proactive steps to foster open communication and create a safe space for discussions.

Four important things to remember:

  1. Normalise talking about life events, whether they are the good ones or the challenging ones. It is important to be open and honest and create an opportunity for people to talk about what is going on in their lives.


  1. Create a safe space for people to talk about their life events, so they can share their concerns with us - whether all they need is a listening ear or whether they need help to find a solution.




  1. Have great conversations where we can ask lots of questions and listen to really understand what is going on, and how we can support the people that we are working with. We need to help them prioritise what they need to act on outside of work, and still achieve great performance inside work. This approach isn’t about ‘letting people off’ their responsibilities in the workplace; it’s about providing support alongside promoting accountability. Finding reasonable adjustments that work for the individual and the organisation.


  1. Remember that, as people managers, we are not alone in supporting the people that we work with. There is a lot of internal support available, whether it is from your HR team or your employee assistance programme. Working with a coach can also really help your team member or you during these times too. And there are also lots of great charities and resources out there that can help us no matter what the life event that somebody is experiencing.


Acknowledging and supporting life events is really important to foster a culture of empathy and understanding within an organisation. A workplace that values and supports life events not only benefits the individual employees (and their wellbeing) but also the organisation’s performance as a whole.

We recommend you have a look at our other resources on this subject such as our recent CAPE Conversation webinars on How to support people dealing with grief and loss and Menopause at work: What you really need to know.

We also work with a number of charity partners which we can connect you with if you or one of your team are looking for more resources and support.

CAPE Coaching & Development equip, empower, and enable brilliant People Managers through development programmes, workshops and 1-2-1 coaching. Learn more by visiting






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