Eyecare: we need to talk

Specsavers Corporate Eyecare reveals the eyecare communication strategies of the UK’s HR managers. Exposing the good, the bad and the ugly.

Mixed messages

With the availability of online eyecare management systems, it is perhaps not surprising that the intranet is the most popular method to communicate eyecare policies, preferred by 46% of respondents. It may be unexpected then, that the next most popular option among HR managers, is to use employee booklets for the internal communication of their eyecare policy – the method chosen by 35%. Conversely, the third most popular communication method, used by 22% of HR managers, is email.

Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances for Specsavers Corporate Eyecare comments: ‘It is interesting to see such a mixed use of new and traditional communication methods among employers. With eyecare management now possible online, and eyecare eVouchers being emailed directly to employees, it makes sense for employers to be able to also communicate the benefits online. Flexibility in communication is definitely the key: using a mix of methods and including the more personal touch when appropriate.’

Indeed, face-to-face meetings with the eyecare supplier and special employee benefits days are used by 9% of employers, allowing employees to see first-hand the benefits and value of the eyecare provided by their employer.

Missing millions

The research shows that 7% of employers have an eyecare policy but do not communicate it. Under ‘Regulation 7: Provision of information’ of the Health & Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 (amended in 2002), employers have an obligation to tell screen users they employ about the arrangements they have made to provide eye tests to those who want them. This means that 7% of those surveyed are not meeting with the health and safety regulations. Based on the latest employment figures from the Department of Work and Pensions[1], showing 30.8 million people in work, 7% would equate to over two million employees not having their rights met.

Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances for Specsavers Corporate Eyecare continues: ‘The DSE regulations make it clear that it is not enough simply to have an eyecare policy. It also needs to be communicated. The internet, email and online eyecare management systems make this a very simple process. Good eyecare specialists will also provide materials themselves, like downloadable posters and leaflets, to make the task quick, easy and effective. There really is no excuse.’

Furthermore, 15% of those surveyed stated they did not have an eyecare policy to communicate at all. Again based on the DWP employment figures[1], this would equate to four and a half million people not receiving the eyecare to which they may be entitled. Specsavers Corporate Eyecare recommends that employers who do not currently provide eyecare ensure a policy is implemented as soon as possible. Under the regulations, employees have the right to request an eye examination at any point and employers who are not prepared may be presented with a hefty bill for the employee’s own choice of eyecare, if a specified system has not been put in place.

More help and information for employers and employees alike can be found at www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate, along with downloadable eyecare posters and access to Specsavers’ eVoucher scheme.