First-time login tip: If you're a REBA Member, you'll need to reset your password the first time you login.
12 Dec 2022
by Oliver Wheatley

6 ways to help male employees to take better care of their health

With 39% of men admitting they wait for a health problem to become severe before seeking help from HR, it’s clear they need to put more emphasis on their own wellbeing

6 ways to encourage male employees to take more care of their health.jpg 1


Men are more likely to delay health-related appointments, are less likely to talk about their health with their employer and are more likely to die before reaching retirement age.

Businesses can and should help their male staff take a more active role in their wellbeing.

Every November, a spotlight shines on the issue of men’s health. Movember is a global movement when large parts of the male population grow moustaches to highlight some of the most pressing medical issues affecting their gender. In particular, prostate and testicular cancer and male suicide.

However, we need to create a conversation around male attitudes to physical and mental wellbeing all year round. Employers still have a vital role to play when it comes to supporting men to be proactive about their health.

Reluctant to seek help

Men are far more likely to let their health slide than their female counterparts. A 2021 survey by Bupa found that a quarter of UK men are delaying seeking help for health concerns, with one in 10 deliberately putting off or missing a cancer screening.

Men also rarely seek help from their employer and often turn up to work when they should be taking time off. Two-fifths (39%) of companies surveyed by employee wellbeing platform Peppy say male staff wait for a health problem to become severe before seeking help from HR. And 26% of organisations reported ‘presenteeism’ – working while either physically or mentally unwell – as a problem for men.

This has serious consequences. One in five men in the UK will die before they reach the state retirement age according to Men’s Health Forum.

There are many reasons why men are reluctant to seek help when it comes to health. A lack of inclusive messaging and the absence of senior role models championing men’s health – either at work, or in the broader public domain – can make it difficult for men to feel comfortable speaking openly.

In this clip from a webinar ‘Why men’s health matters in the workplace’, hosted by Lockton in partnership with Peppy on 30 November 2022, Joseph Barnes, senior benefits consultant at Lockton, and Helen Lake, director of men’s health at Peppy, discuss the importance of normalising the conversation around men's health.

Tips for encouraging better health in male staff

Employers can play a vital role in addressing this phenomenon. It’s important to strike a balance between being too prescriptive, while also stressing the importance of a holistic attitude towards wellbeing. Here are some tips:

1. Nominate a male ‘health and wellbeing champion’ - Having a designated point of contact within the organisation, where men can have an informal discussion about their health, can make a tangible difference. The designated person does not need to be medically trained, but having an empathetic personality is vital. A Men’s Health Forum course gives the basics of men’s health and provides the tools for the champion to be the first step in your employee seeking professional help.

2. Encourage senior employees to share their experience - Storytelling is a powerful tool in trying to change behaviours. This is particularly true for mental health. Hearing how others have struggled can spur those suffering into taking their own action. It is even more powerful when it comes from the top of the organisation: if a member of the C-suite can open up, it shows a path to success for those doubting themselves and fosters a company culture where openness around wellbeing is valued and encouraged.

3. Use awareness days to highlight men’s health issues – Movember has had a profound effect on men’s health. Earlier this month, the NHS announced a 25% year-on-year increase in the number of men receiving prostate cancer treatment. While the commitment to this issue needs to be year-round, using the awareness dates is a powerful tool to change behaviours. HR teams should also note Men’s Health Week (normally in June) and International Men’s Day (19th November) as opportunities to spark conversation and build awareness.

4. Signpost trusted sources of information on male health – There is a bevy of information online that can help men spot the signs of ill health. This can either be through trusted external sources of information such as the NHS website, or internal resources, including employee assistance programmes provided by your employee wellness platform.

5. Give employees time to attend medical appointments – Bupa found that 28% of men skip cancer screenings because it doesn’t fit with their work commitments. Employers should become more flexible, allowing all staff to take appointments during work hours.

6. Update diversity and equality policies – Significant work has been done to update women’s health strategy, both at organisational and governmental levels. The UK government launched its Women’s Health Strategy last year and companies rightly make provisions for female health, including cervical screenings, pregnancy, and menstrual health. The same scrutiny and support need to be applied to men’s health provisions, with a particular focus on support for prostate and testicular cancer, as well as mental health.

The new year in 2023 gives HR teams an opportunity to start the conversation with their male staff and address any gaps in company policies. It could make all the difference in giving men the push they need to access medical care.

To find out more about why men's health matters in the workplace and what employers can do to support their male employees, you can watch our recent webinar with Peppy.

In partnership with Lockton People Solutions

Lockton provides creative people solutions that make life better, for your business and your people.

Contact us today


Webinar: evolving financial wellbeing

  • Money trends that are changing strategies
  • Why flexibility is key to meet shifting employee needs

Wed 22 March | 10-11am

Sign up today