A leave experience employees (and people teams) deserve, featuring the Benchling team

How Benchling partnered with Cocoon to provide an employee-forward, progressive leave experience.

Megan Lierley
Megan Lierley
A leave experience employees (and people teams) deserve, featuring the Benchling team

With a rapidly growing team (headcount doubled in the past 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. She explained, “We handle everything operational to support the People function for employee experience as a whole.”

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.”

“Employees did not know what our leave process was”

Given Benchling’s growth and her prediction for an increasing number of leaves, Kari knew there had to be a better solution for employee leave. “The process of managing leaves before Cocoon was a mess,” she said. “[It was] a lot of work, a lot of time, and it was definitely not smooth. Employees did not know what our leave process was. They would come to me or another person on the HR team and essentially ask us what they needed to do.”

Employees’ uncertainty with the process made leave management difficult for Kari. At the time, she also counted on one HR BP, a global controller, and an HR consultant as part of her “pre-leave team,” not to mention the person taking a leave and their manager. 

“They did not 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. 

Employee-forward and progressive

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 a software that enables a smoother process for leaves.”

They were also drawn to the partnership they felt with Cocoon. “Other systems were more of a pure software play. That wasn’t enough or as exciting as a service [like Cocoon] that mixes software with a white-glove experience,” Vivek said. “We didn’t want to sacrifice employee experience.”

An experience employees (and People teams) deserve

“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. 

An easy leave process for employees is a huge win for the People team, knowing they’ve helped make such a positive impact on employee experience. 

Vivek explained, “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, building 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 send an email or direct the person to the Cocoon website 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 the world of leave so Kari and Vivek don’t have to. 

Vivek said, “Cocoon has really helped us in terms of understanding the new trends that are out there and what we should be thinking about as a growing organization for how we can better build policy that’s more progressive and that’s more employee-friendly while making sure that we’re staying competitive with the market.”

About Benchling

Benchling is the modern software platform purpose-built for life science R&D. Hundreds of thousands of scientists using cutting-edge techniques like CRISPR, CAR-T immunotherapy, and genetic engineering depend on our suite of cloud applications to design DNA, collaborate on experiments, manage research workflows, and make critical R&D decisions. Benchling is powering breakthrough research on biotherapeutics, biofuels, and biomaterials at leading life science companies and the world's most renowned academic labs.

The company is focusing on life science collaboration, both private and public, through creating cloud-based software tools for digital DNA sequence editing, designing and running experiments, analyzing data, and sharing research. Benchling software includes an electronic lab notebook that allows researchers to document their experiments.

It was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

It's time to enter the next generation of employee leave