How Scentre Group Transformed Their Parental Leave and Created an Extraordinary Employee Experience

Case Study 

Scentre Group owns and operates a portfolio of 42 Westfield Living centres across Australia and New Zealand with over 12,000 retailers in more than 3.8 million square meters of prime retail space.

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The Problem

Scentre Group has always been ahead of the pack on employee experience, thanks to a profound strategic focus on their people. For Scentre Group, that’s obvious: employees are the primary guardians of the extraordinary experiences their brand provides their customers.

So of course, they were already doing a fantastic job onboarding – but as part of their D&I agenda, they discovered two new focus areas that really mattered for employees: flexible working and parental leave.

The problem was, although Scentre Group’s parental leave policies were among the best out there, the parental leave experience was falling short of their people-first promise.

Like many businesses, they were overwhelmed by the sheer number of components involved with parental leave. Instead of the extraordinary experience they wanted, they were finding:

  • Misaligned processes resulted in errors, like returning parents finding they weren’t paid correctly. A major and unnecessary stress!
  • Information and services were hard-to-find, leaving parents with unanswered questions, like how to ask for flexible working on their return.
  • Managers weren’t engaged or consistent, because they didn’t know how best to support parental leavers and when.
  • Team members on leave felt they were out of sight, out of mind – rather than confident, calm and comfortable returning to work.
  • There was a perception that parental leave was only for women having children, not the fair and comprehensive support Scentre wanted.

So they decided to harness Enboarder.

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The Solution

Enboarder was already driving fantastic feedback during onboarding, so transitioning to the parental leave experience was an obvious choice.

They started by mapping the parental leave journey, outlining which touchpoints they needed at each stage:

  • From -6 months to -4 weeks
  • From -7 days to going on parental leave
  • Days 1+ of leave
  • From -90 days from return to work
  • Days 90+ back at work

They decided Enboarder would slot best into the middle three stages, with automated workflows to managers, payroll and new parents (triggered after the pre-planning process, where leave is requested and dates are set)

These workflows are personalized – parents set their communication preferences, so they get access to the amount of information that is right for them.

Leave-takers can also choose whether to participate in Scentre Group’s ‘Keep in Touch’ program, which offers opportunities for parents to stay in touch with their teams during leave.

Scentre Group typically keep the content they deliver to parents short and sweet, driving team members back to the central ‘My Scentre’ employee intranet hub:

“We’ve learned less is more. The power of Enboarder is as a reminder, a powerful nudge. We keep it really tight, so rather than delivering loads of content we drive parents towards our parental leave experience page as the source of truth,” explains Carolyn Agar, Organization Capability Manager.

While on leave, Scentre Group team members also benefit from a robust series of programs, groups and initiatives to provide support and community to parents: like their ‘Dad’s Connect’ group, or ‘Parents at Work’ resource hub, or one-to-one ‘Return to Work’ coaching.

Sounds like people-first parental leave to us. But let’s see what the results say…

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The Results

Scentre Group’s parental leave experience has been totally transformed. Now they’re seeing:

  • Increased consistency, fewer errors and less manual work, thanks to streamlined, integrated processes between HR, payroll and managers.
  • Increased manager confidence at delivering a great experience, even if they’d only dealt with a single person on parental leave before.
  • Increased engagement among parents, who felt connected to the business, team and manager through their absence – and better prepared to return.
  • Increased entitlement uptake with employees recognizing that leave is inclusive; for primary and secondary carers; and for compassionate reasons.

That’s what an extraordinary employee experience looks like!

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