HR leaders agree that men need workplace menopause
Three quarters (74%) of HR leaders believe that all male employees should be encouraged to better understand menopause to support their menopausal colleagues.
Menopause is not just an issue for certain individuals, its impact can be felt right across an organisation: low mood, poor concentration, hot flushes, headaches, erratic sleep, and lack of confidence can mean menopausal staff take time off work and in too many cases, feel the need to reduce their hours or leave their job altogether. This can put additional strain on the remaining team members and reduce productivity across the organisation as a whole, so it’s not just women that need workplace menopause support but men do too.
Employers need to create an environment where menopause is discussed openly, frankly and without embarrassment or derision. 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.
Support for partners
Our research also highlighted that 68% of HR leaders felt that, when relevant, men should be able to access menopause support to help their partner.
In some cases, the menopause can dramatically affect relationships and so when an employee’s wife or partner experiences severe symptoms over a long period of time, it can be a real burden and could start to affect an employee’s own wellbeing. So workplace support for the partners of those affected by menopause symptoms should not be overlooked.
Competent not expert
Similarly, HR teams should be reminded that they are not expected to be an expert in every aspect of the menopause. Employers simply need to appreciate the consequences of menopause for both their organisation and their individual members of staff, and most importantly, to be able to signpost employees to the right expert support.
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. 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.
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?
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.