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New survey says three quarters of HR leaders believe men should learn more about the menopause to help work colleagues.
The impact of menopause can be felt throughout an organisation, which is why it’s crucial that men do more to understand it so they can help support their female colleagues going through it.
This is a view clearly echoed by HR bosses in new research by digital health platform Peppy, 74% of whom said male employees should be supported to learn about the condition and given suitable workplace support.
“Employers need to create an environment where menopause is discussed openly, frankly and without embarrassment or derision,” says Dr Mridula Pore, CEO of Peppy. “When menopause is normalised in this way, staff are less likely to hide their symptoms and more likely to discuss what changes they need to help them remain on the payroll and be as productive as possible. These conversations are not just for women but we need to arm men with the vocabulary, the understanding and the confidence to participate too.”
Ultimately, this is about productivity, thoughtfulness and success at work.
“Wouldn’t it be great if a menopausal employee could respond to a seemingly innocuous ‘How are you?’ question from a colleague with an honest answer and then for that colleague to continue with a suitably supportive conversation?” says Dr Pore. “We believe that HR leaders are correct in that menopause should not be a sex or gender-based issue – workplaces will be all the better off when everyone is well informed.”
The research also highlighted how support for men whose partners may be going through menopause would be helpful. According to the poll, 68% of HR leaders felt that men should be able to access menopause support to help their partner when relevant.
Menopause can dramatically affect relationships, so if an employee’s wife or partner experiences severe long-term symptoms, it can be a real burden and could affect an employee’s own wellbeing.
Nevertheless, this is about being better informed, not an expert. If in doubt, employers should always know where to point people for professional help.
“It is true to say that few employees are aware of menopausal symptoms until they are at that stage of life but this can mean that many are completely unaware of the difficulties that menopausal staff have to deal with on a day-to-day basis,” says Dr Pore. “In fact, staff who are lacking in knowledge about the menopause may often be the ones who feel most uncomfortable because they do not understand how symptoms can be all-consuming and last for many years.”