How Benchling’s parental leave policy improved operations and culture as they scaled

Benchling’s HR team chose Cocoon for better leave forecasting, employee-centric processes, and future-proofing at scale.

Megan Lierley
Megan Lierley
How Benchling’s parental leave policy improved operations and culture as they scaled

A rapidly growing workforce requesting more parental leaves breaks down Benchling’s process

With headcount doubling in one year and a company initiative to switch from Benchling’s professional employer organization (PEO) to its own systems, Kari Gould, HR Operations Specialist, and her team had their work cut out for them. It was becoming increasingly difficult for Benchling’s systems to support its rapid growth, and in addition, Kari shares, “our employee demographics were changing. We went from a younger average age with fewer parental leaves to a slightly older employee population with a much higher volume of leaves.” 

Given that Benchling’s then process for requesting and managing leaves was “a lot of work, a lot of time, and not very smooth,” Kari knew it would only further break down as they grew. Though she also counted on one HRBP, a global controller, and an HR consultant as part of her “pre-leave team,” Kari says, “employees still didn’t have a good sense of who to go to, where to get the information, what type of pay to expect, how long they could go on leave, or what they really needed to do to kickstart the process,” she said. “And it’s not something you can just lay out perfectly in the employee handbook.” 

Cocoon offers the promise of a smoother, easier process to manage leave

As Kari was searching for leave solutions, Vivek Reddy joined the Benchling team as Senior People Operations Manager. In addition to a system that made leave easier for both employees and the People team, Kari and Vivek wanted to find a solution that was employee-centered and future-proofed. 

Vivek explained, “One of the things that caught our eye in terms of Cocoon’s approach was their software that enabled a smoother process for leaves. We didn’t want to sacrifice employee experience.”

Staying on top of ever-changing HR trends and legal shifts in parental leave

“Using Cocoon has been one of the best decisions we’ve made in terms of enabling Benchling to be the most employee-forward and progressive organization that we possibly can be,” Vivek said. “When employees go on leave it is one of the most personal times for them and ensuring that they have an excellent experience is immensely helpful for us in terms of building credibility and trust, and ensuring that our employees feel as if they can do their best work and they can bring their whole self [to work].”

It doesn’t hurt that Cocoon has made life easier for Kari’s team, too. That process with four people and employees not knowing where to go? Now, Kari said, “All I have to do is direct the person to the Cocoon platform and I know that they are in good hands.” 

In addition to making the leave process simple for both Benchling’s People team and employees, Cocoon stays on top of changes to federal and state laws affecting leave so Kari and Vivek don’t have to. 

Vivek said, “Cocoon has really helped us in terms of understanding how we can design more progressive policies and benefits while making sure that we’re staying competitive with the market.”

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About Benchling

Benchling began over a decade ago in an academic lab, when its founders realized that the technology needed to support the complexity and pace of science wasn't available—so they created their own. Today, Benchling serves the world’s biotech leaders and innovators, big and small. Its team wakes up every day focused on helping its global customers unlock the power of biotechnology faster, whether they're developing new medicines, crops, foods, or materials. The biotech revolution is happening today and Benchling powers the possibilities of tomorrow.

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