Work-Life Coordinator

Kayla Farber
Kayla Farber

Table of Contents

The term “work-life balance” is a buzzword. With the increasing complexity surrounding office, remote and hybrid work, work-life balance seems like a disorienting pipe dream! That is, unless you have a work-life coordinator (WLC) at the helm. With a WLC at your company, employee pain points are addressed as they gain access to programs that improve their quality of life, but they aren’t the only ones who benefit.

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What is a Work-Life Coordinator?

Also known as a work-life program manager or a work-life administrator, a WLC is someone in a position geared toward helping employees navigate their personal and professional needs in a healthy way. This is done in order to increase the overall quality of life, reduce burnout, improve company loyalty and promote a healthy employee culture. They accomplish their goals by providing information, resources, and referrals to assist in a robust variety of ways.

A WLC’s main goal and focus is on employee well-being because the quality of worker performance is heavily impacted by personal circumstances. Improving said performance by working with employees to troubleshoot pain points and brainstorm solutions is the WLC’s objective. This role bridges the gap between employees and employers through empathy, showing workers that their wellness is a top priority to their employer. This position meets employee needs that occur both in and out of the office.

Should Companies Have a Work-Life Coordinator (WLC)?

The big question within this question is this: Does work-life coordination really necessitate a separate position? That question can be answered with a question. Is your company growing and does it want the best workers that stick around? Let’s face it, HR professionals have far too much on their hands. They may want to feed into employees one-on-one and make that kind of impact but how possible is that with all they juggle? Long answer short: yes, as companies show proven benefits to having a WLC on staff. Naturally, there are factors that keep companies from hiring out for this position, but if your company’s culture is thriving, according to the data, it likely values employee well-being. With that being said, let’s look at the numbers.

Pros of a Work-Life Coordinator

  • Increases employee well-being, loyalty, and productivity. According to a study by Zippia, the biggest barrier to a healthy work-life balance is not the work itself. A sister study goes on to show that 31% of employees who have experienced burnout believe that lacking managerial support and recognition was the biggest factor. So, how does a WLC help? With a staggering 78% of employees believing their employers are responsible for supporting their well-being in light of the meesley 42% of employers offering wellness programs, it’s no stretch to see where the problem and therefore the solution lies. We need to support our employees better, both at an organizational and personal level.
  • Happy and healthy employees lower overhead. According to The American Productivity Audit (a year-long study of almost 29,000 working adults), the annual cost of health-related “lost productive time” in the U.S. is over $200 billion per year. This is due primarily to absenteeism as well as “presenteeism” (health and wellness-related reduced performance). This is where work-life coordinators bridge the gap for employees. By providing resources and in some instances even taking on tasks that might be stressful and time-consuming for workers, you’re left with employees who aren’t stressed and unfocused due to finding good child care or elder care, trying to figure out what to do about a landlord dispute, or doing their best to manage symptoms of mental health issues with little to no resources. This frees them up to be focusing on their work and promotes a general sense of well-being and company loyalty.
  • Improves company culture and enables employee flexibility. Culture in the workplace hinges on much more than wellness program offerings. Anyone with an hour on their hands can get an employee fitness program off the ground, but this can make the focus on lowering obesity and stopping smoking while ignoring the employee’s need for the time to actually work out and attend a stop-smoking class. Poor implementation of wellness programs can have the reverse effect, especially if it misses the major pain points of workers and treats only a symptom not the cause. Strategically effective implementation of programs, investing the time to do the research to find the prominent pain points, and addressing them directly in an organization might take more time and effort, but that effort directly impacts the quality of the company culture. In addition, following a company-wide focus on employee well-being naturally comes with opportunities to increase flexibility in the workplace — namely, hybrid and remote options becoming available. Programs such as these that foster employer/employee trust and autonomy help create flexible employees who can roll with any circumstantial punches (without the usual loss of productivity).

Overall, in having a capable and goal-oriented person to fill the role of work-life coordinator, you can rest assured by the data that the financial benefits will be greater than the cost of filling an additional role. Not to mention, a WLC will bring about a more positive and productive workforce.

Cons of a Work-Life Coordinator

  • Takes time to establish. As with every new position, there’s the work and time investment such as mapping out the role’s responsibilities and budgeting out the expense of salary. Something to also keep in mind is the time it takes to negotiate the budget for the WLC to implement the programs they are hired to develop.
  • Delayed ROI. With new Roles comes ROI, but never in their first week. Many companies don’t see measurable differences in overhead for a handful of years. However, many see near-immediate improvement in employee morale and engagement.
  • More balls to juggle. Along with the additional challenges new programs can create, you also gain a professional juggler. So this “con” can typically be as simple as pointing your workers to the WLC when they come to you looking for resources.

Responsibilities of a Work-Life Coordinator

As this position’s major focus is on the wellness of employees in a variety of different ways, this job entails a variety of different responsibilities. The nature of these responsibilities is dependent on the environment and the pain points causing contention within the organization.

The Homework

Arguably the most important role of an effective WLC is the strategic implementation of quality research to discover where the organization is lacking from the perspectives of the workers. This means heading up mandatory surveys, one-on-one discovery meetings, and group feedback sessions. After gathering data, it is the job of the WLC to analyze the information and create a strategic plan to address the most prominent needs of the employees.

The Legwork

How the needs are met involves providing resources and information that directly address the worker and organizational challenges discovered during the research process. This is done through the development, implementation, and education of employees on a variety of programs known as employee assistance programs (EAPs). These programs are free, work-based, voluntary programs that offer assessments, counseling, and referrals. Examples of EAPs include:

  • Telecommuting
  • Workplace flexibility
  • Job sharing
  • Dependent care
  • Mental health and psychological disorders
  • Grieving support
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Financial planning
  • Physical well-being

The Upkeep

The research process should be refreshed as often as the needs of the company calls for it. At the end of each discovery season, the WLC should have logistic action steps outlined and ready for implementation. Additionally, effective WLCs don’t work behind the scenes. They don’t shy away from working one-on-one with struggling employees or getting into the nitty-gritty with groups. They are the face of employee health and life satisfaction as well as the face of how employee well-being is a top priority of the organization.

In companies with the best culture and lowest turnover, you’ll find WLCs regularly taking steps of improvement, advocating for employee wellness, and even being involved in budget development and managing resources such as on-site fitness facilities (when the situation calls for it).

Important Skills That Work-Life Coordinators Should Have

A WLC is someone who wears many different hats. Because of this, they need to be concise and effective at communication, work alone and with teams, tackle large company problems as well as personal employee struggles, follow strict time crunches, handle emotionally delicate circumstances, and be a detail-oriented and outside of the box researcher capable of conducting large-scale data gathering in order to eradicate areas of employee tension.

Communication, Self-Management, and Teamwork

A WLC works with every individual in their company as well as with teams, management, those working remotely or hybrid . . . you get the picture. With opportunities for communication comes opportunities for miscommunication.

Communication is key to much in business, but with a WLC communication is even more important when working with struggling employees through potentially delicate circumstances. Where emotions run high, misunderstandings and offense can happen more often. A WLC must have top-notch communication skills with multiple lines of communication open. In addition, WLCs need to be able to manage themselves well.

When aspects such as research and program development are in play, a WLC needs to be able to set their own deadlines, conduct their own research and manage their own productivity when working solo. Since a WLC also works with teams and training, being able to command a group’s attention and manage a room full of different personalities is essential.

Research and Critical Thinking

Employee surveys, team meetings, feedback boards, and individual brainstorming sessions are just a few ways a WLC conducts research to find the pain points in an organization.

Quality research isn’t just thorough, it’s also regularly updated and scrutinized. What the WLC does with that data is find solutions in the form of training, policies, programs, referrals, and more through critical analysis and meticulous self-education.

Large-Scale Problem Solving

The main reason a company will bring on a WLC is to solve company-wide areas of employee contention. These problems are massively held negative core beliefs and areas of neglect that impact each individual and therefore the organization as a whole.

Once research has been thoroughly conducted, a WLCs job is to find solutions to these corporate culture points of toxicity. This means being an excellent outside-of-the-box thinker and problem solver. Finding appropriate solutions, putting the solutions into play, educating the entirety of the company on these solutions (or bringing on outside consultants specializing in the troubled area), and following through to ensure there is actually an improvement in the troubled area is key to a successful WLC.

Working Well Under Pressure

There will often be time crunches involved in large-scale problem-solving. When an organization brings in a WLC, they expect measurable results to justify the continuation of the role. This means that WLCs must thrive under pressure and remain flexible by actively monitoring the measurable aspects of the problems in maintenance, reporting changes and improvements to upper management, accepting criticism, and changing directions on a dime when the situation demands it.

How To Become a Work-Life Coordinator

If becoming a WLC is something you can see yourself being in the future, there are some steps to take before hitting the job boards. Keep in mind that there could be room to move up in your current company. Particularly if your workplace is one that prioritizes the well-being of its employees, there is likely a position that encompasses the responsibilities of a WLC already. If not, and you know the culture of the company is in a position to reap the benefits of having a WLC, don’t be afraid to advocate for it. The data shows employees will benefit and companies will only gain by adding a WLC role to their available positions.

Evaluate Yourself

A WLC position is not for the weak of heart. Make sure your emotional intelligence is up for the task. This position requires you to be intimately involved in the complex and sometimes tragic struggles of your employees. It takes handling employee burdens to a whole new level.

Have Management Experience

Rarely is a WLC position one just anyone can walk into. It’s a position that, more often than not, is one you work your way up to after having HR management experience — usually three years or more.

Bachelor’s Degree

Most instances of this position require a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.

Questions You’ve Asked Us About Work-Life Coordinator

What’s the salary of a work-life coordinator?
Naturally dependent on your experience, location and scale of the role, the median annual salary for a WLC is $144,455. (https://www.salary.com/tools/salary-calculator/wellness-and-work-life-director)
What training should a WLC have?
In addition to the courses to receive your bachelor’s degree or equivalent and any human resource training you’ve had, the United States Office Personnel (OPM) offers comprehensive courses covering work-life programs including: Introduction to Leave, Work-Life, and Workplace Flexibilities virtual course (http://hru.gov/Course_Catalog.aspx?cid=229) and Executive Excellence and Wellness through Strategic Leadership virtual course (http://hru.gov/Course_Catalog.aspx?cid=160&mgr=false) to name a few. In addition, they offer free fact sheets and policies regarding family and dependent care, employee assistance programs, health and wellness, telework and more. (https://www.opm.gov/wiki/training/WORK-LIFE-TOOLKIT-FOR-MANAGERS-LEARN.ashx)
Kayla Farber
Kayla Farber

Kayla is the Chief Innovation Officer at Hero Culture, where the passion is to create company cultures of retention using the power of personality.

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