Labor Day: Different workforces need different solutions

image of this article's author, Erin Putman
Erin Putman
National Account Manager
Expect your benefits company to understand your business challenges

The first U.S. Labor Day holiday was celebrated on a Tuesday? It was Sept. 5, 1882. A lot has changed in our workforce 135 years later, and not just the day of the week we honor our workers.

Most notably, the types of employees now punching the proverbial time clock and the jobs they’re doing are vastly different, requiring more technology skills, more specialization and more education. Recruiting the best talent requires not only good pay, but also strong benefits best-suited for a particular type of work or industry. 

In the world of vision benefits, where employers and brokers are spending only a fraction of their time and attention, it’s critical that the vision benefits company help address the unique business challenges and employee needs for vision care in every industry and company. In fact, they should expect prospective benefit vendors to understand their industry challenges and offer benefit solutions that help solve them.

At EyeMed Vision Care, we work with employers, organizations and brokers in nearly every industry from automotive to education, government to retailing, and more. We make a point to have a comprehensive understanding of the different needs for vision benefits across workforces. This is critical when you want more employees to enroll in the vision benefit, use the benefit and stay in-network for the best member experience and cost savings.

So in honor of Labor Day, I want to share a peek into some of the differences we’ve noted in industry vision care needs to help create highly effective vision benefits for different workforces.


We collect data from several hundred of government clients, representing 2.6 million members1,so we’ve gained keen insights. For example, did you know: 1/3 of government workers wear eyeglasses or contact lenses? The needs for network access, choice and convenience across geographies are critical for government workers. Also:

  • The government’s union rate is 222% higher than all other industries, making benefits program implementation lengthy.2  A vision company experienced in union contracts can anticipate common concerns.
  • Security breaches are a growing concern among government agencies. Health care vendors with experienced cyber-security teams can ensure data safeguards and HIPAA compliance.
  • The government employs a geographically diverse workforce — more than 80,000 jobs are overseas. Multilingual communications tools, including mobile apps to look up benefit information, are essential, as is access to a network of global providers.
Higher Education  

EyeMed works with over 1,000 large universities to small trade schools to support more than 2 million education industry members.4 We know a thing or two from these relationships that have revealed several trends in higher education and finding the right vision benefits solutions:

  • Job growth in higher education outpaces that of other industries, requiring vision benefits packages that address the unique needs of both full- and part-time employees, including retention--maintaining their loyalty.
  • There’s been a rise in part-time faculty as Baby Boomers delay retirement, and in higher education, eye exam utilization is 34% compared to 9% in all industries.
  • For many members, open enrollment occurs during summer break and multiple campuses and offices make member communications challenging. In fact, 67% of higher education employers feel their benefits communications are ineffective at informing employees.5  Benefits companies that help clients with communications and enrollment early are more likely to engage workers.    

We count hundreds of telecommunications clients and gather data from over 2 million members in this industry.6  Data privacy and protection is ranked as a top challenge for 75% of telecommunications executives,7 so it’s critical to them that vendors offer an experienced data security team and a robust security and privacy program. In addition:

  • Many telecommunication industry teams have long and irregular hours. A flexible provider network with numerous choices will ensure worker health needs are met. This can include options for online contacts and glasses shopping, optical retailers that are open nights and weekends, plus pop-up work site clinics.
  • Digital technology is a high priority in this field. Employees expect easy-to-use tech features such as interactive mobile apps and digital exam technology such as Clarifye® through LensCrafters.
  • High union rates and the presence of contract and part-time workers make benefits implementation challenging. A vision benefits company experienced in team collaboration and flexibility during implementation may be the best bet for these kinds of workforces.

With hundreds of automotive industry clients and data from more than 1 million members,8 EyeMed has a clear view of automotive employee needs. For example, a great challenge the industry faces is attracting qualified talent.8

  • Technology is the backbone of the automotive industry and becoming an established part of the work culture. Their vision benefits should offer similar high levels of technology, such as digital eye exams.
  • The industry is fast expanding internationally, resulting in a far-flung workforce. Multilingual communications, a global provider network and easy-to-access digital benefits resources are must-haves.
  • Vehicle complexity is causing employers to recruit talent with more technical skills and adaptability. A comprehensive vision plan with distinct features, such as immediate coverage and special discounts, could give employers a competitive edge.
Labor-free benefits

The American workplace has vastly improved over the century. Hazardous conditions and 12-hour days are replaced by a quest for the best, and employers should expect it from their vision care benefits company as much as their talent. In short, a good vision benefits company should know the challenges of different industries and help take the labor out of the benefits process for a great member and client experience.

1: EyeMed internal book of business (2014-2015); EyeMed Whitepaper, “Industry Solutions: Government”
2: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014-2015), EyeMed Whitepaper, “Industry Solutions: Government”
3: Office of Personnel Management, (2013); EyeMed Whitepaper, “Industry Solutions: Government”
4: EyeMed internal book of business (2014-2015); EyeMed Whitepaper, “Industry Solutions: Higher Education”
5: MetLife Benefit Trends Industry Spotlight – Higher Education (2015)
6: EyeMed internal book of business (2014-2015); EyeMed Whitepaper, “Industry Solutions: Telecommunications”
7: Ernst & Young (2014-2015), EyeMed Whitepaper, “Industry Solutions: Telecommunications”
8: EyeMed internal book of business (2014-2015); EyeMed Whitepaper, “Industry Solutions: Automotive”