What is the AWLP Work-Life Seal of Distinction?
The AWLP Work-Life Seal of Distinction is a new form of organizational recognition designed to celebrate employers who demonstrate leadership in workplace strategies and practices that help employees achieve their dual agenda: success at work and in their personal lives.
Who/what is Alliance for Work-Life Progress (AWLP)?
Founded in 1996, AWLP is the professional association for work-life practitioners, researchers, and thought leaders dedicated to advancing the work-life portfolio as a core business and Total Rewards strategy. Since 2004, AWLP has been a premium brand within WorldatWork.
About WorldatWork's (www.worldtawork.org) Alliance for Work-Life Progress® (www.awlp.org)
WorldatWork's Alliance for Work-Life Progress advances work-life as part of an integrated total rewards strategy. This alliance defines and acknowledges best practices and innovation, facilitates dialogue, and elevates work-life thought leadership. Each year, the Alliance leads a national awareness initiative celebrating October as National Work and Family Month. Recognizing that work-life encompasses a wide array of programs, the WorldatWork Society of Certified Professionals established the Work-Life Certified Professional (WLCP)® designation in 2007.
What is the difference between the AWLP Work-Life Seal of Distinction and work-life certification?
Certification is earned by individual practitioners who study an established curriculum based on a core body of knowledge accredited by WorldatWork's Society of Certified Professionals. Individuals earning work-life certification must demonstrate competency by passing exams that certify a standardized level of knowledge that is required to practice in the work-life field.
By contrast, the Seal is awarded to organizations that meet a defined threshold of workplace policies, programs and practices that comprise a best-in-class work-life portfolio. To earn the Seal, an employer must certify adherence to a required set of aforementioned practices by completing the Work-Life Checklist that accompanies this application.
What are the benefits; why should we apply?
Applying for the Seal will help you assess the degree of fit between your organization's work-life offerings and the seven categories of work-life effectiveness that have come to define a best-in-class work-life portfolio in today's workplace.
The Seal is a valuable award for an employer because it is the first of its kind offered by the work-life field itself that recognizes excellence in all aspects of work-life accomplishment: dependent care, health and wellness, workplace flexibility, financial support, paid and unpaid time off, community involvement and efforts to transform organizational culture.
Research has established that investment across these specific categories of people practices are associated with measurable increases in productivity, engagement, retention, better health outcomes and even greater shareholder value, so an organization's work-life quotient has become foundational to a legitimate claim to be an employer of choice.
What is the work-life portfolio?
Support for work-life effectiveness across employers of all sizes and sectors has evolved over the past two decades into the following seven clusters of people practices:
The bi-directional arrows indicate that none of the categories is linear, isolated nor random. Rather, these practices interrelate to reinforce each other's impact. For example, well-designed workplace flexibility practices are strongly associated with better health outcomes. Physical and financial well-being are more interdependent than we once understood. Ensuring that employees' dependents are well taken care of impacts employee health, improves employee financial security, requires flexible management practices, and benefits from the creative application of paid and unpaid time off policies.
If awarded, how can we use the seal?
The overall strength of your organization's work-life portfolio determines your ability to earn the AWLP Work-Life Seal of Distinction. Applicants will be evaluated on the work-life programs, policies and practices currently in place within each of the seven categories contained in the easy-to-complete Work-Life Checklist.
If your organization's overall assessment score earns the Work-Life Seal of Distinction, you may use the Seal in all official internal and external communications throughout the award year and until the following year's Seal recipients are announced.
To apply, complete all sections of the online application.
The AWLP Application Review Panel will notify you of your organization's status within 2-4 weeks.
Can any organization apply?
Yes, all types and sizes of employers are eligible to apply for the Work-Life Seal of Distinction.
What if we are a small employer?
Small employers can have an advantage over the largest ones when it comes to work-life effectiveness, for several reasons:
There is a relatively simple and straight line of sight across a small organization when everyone knows and trusts each other
Work-life policies and practices are inexpensive and cost-effective compared to the measurable returns they can accrue. For one example, workplace flexibility is a powerful strategy that can deliver multiple paybacks, although it has no fixed costs because it is a management philosophy - a way of thinking that can be implemented much more centrally and quickly in a small company.
No organization needs to be a pioneer any longer; abundant best practices, tools and resources abound for every sector and industry
Experiments and pilot implementations are easier to conduct and assess in a small setting than in a large, highly matrixed organization
The 'best company' lists are increasingly including smaller winners for all of the reasons cited above
Who should complete the application of behalf of an organization?
The person or team who knows the most about the organization's work-life practices, programs and policies. A team approach is preferable when feasible, since most employers don't have a dedicated work-life professional. If the aggregated knowledge about the organization's practices resides across multiple functions, it might be advisable to have multiple people complete the checklist and then consolidate the results into one final form for submission. This approach would allow for multiple perspectives and input from a variety of those who touch the many parts of the work-life portfolio.
Is the Seal awarded automatically upon application?
No. Earning the Seal requires meeting specific threshold standards in each of the sections of the Work-Life Checklist as indicated. We recommend that you and/or your team review the entire Checklist before you begin to fill it out to verify that your organization is qualified to earn the Seal. This step will save you time and effort overall. If you determine that your employer is not eligible at this time, you will gain valuable insight into possible gaps and opportunities for improvement.
Is there a fee?
Currently there is no fee to apply, however this is subject to change in future years.
Are applications confidential?
Yes. No one outside of WorldatWork's Alliance for Work-Life Progress will know you have applied. No data will be shared that can possibly identify any specific organization without your explicit, written permission.
What if our application isn't successful?
Work-Life effectiveness has become a highly competitive enterprise, as you will appreciate from the more formal 'best company' lists such as Working Mother magazine's '100 Best Companies for Working Mothers' and FORTUNE magazine's '100 Best Companies to Work For'. Although our Seal's application is far less arduous to complete, the standards have been set realistically high, so all who apply will not earn the Seal.
If you don't earn the Seal on your first try, your organization can reapply anytime in the future.
Since your application will be held in the strictest confidence, no one outside your own organization will know your status.
For how long does recognition last? Do we need to re-apply every year?
Yes, it is necessary to reapply, since progress towards work-life effectiveness is an ever-evolving journey. Organizations that earn the Seal may include it in all official internal and external communications throughout the award year and until the following year's Seal recipients are announced.
Which employers have earned this seal of distinction?
The Seal of a Distinction is a fairly new award. You can review all past recipients here.
What feedback and/or recognition will we receive if we apply?
Organizations that achieve the AWLP Work-Life Seal of Distinction during this inaugural year will be celebrated at the Work-Life Awards Gala Dinner at the annual AWLP Forum.
We do anticipate being able to provide applicants with benchmarking information in the near future.
If we are awarded the Seal, must we attend the Awards Gala at the AWLP Forum?
No. You will receive the Seal whether or not you attend the Awards Gala Dinner.