In 2021, at the height of Melbourne’s most stringent COVID-19 lockdowns, Kat Kruger was wondering whether she would have to give birth alone.
Her partner was in Queensland. She was stuck in Victoria. And even if he was with her, he wouldn’t have been allowed inside the delivery room due to hospital restrictions.
So, she decided to move to Queensland, which allowed partners to be with mothers during delivery. The move was a logistical nightmare back then – and even more so for someone pregnant and well-established in their job.
And yet, Kat’s employer, Experian, didn’t hesitate to support her.
“Given the unprecedented circumstances, Experian probably didn’t have any pre-existing policy for my situation.”
But the company backed her anyway and helped her make the move.
“Being able to relocate to Queensland and have my partner be present with me in the hospital for the birth of our son – this meant the world to both of us.”
Moments like this are what have made Kat, a Strategic Account Director at Experian, such a loyal advocate of the company.
And as she shared with us, this was just one of the many examples of how the company has given her workplace flexibility in the truest sense.
Not your cookie-cutter company
Before joining Experian five years ago, Kat was at a crossroads in her career.
“I worked in media for the best part of the decade, and I enjoyed the energy, the perks, and the fun that I had working there in my younger days.”
But the changing media landscape and the direction the industry was heading didn’t align with her values.
“I was a bit lost in media – I couldn’t see a growth path for me. There is also a high turnover of people in media companies, so it’s difficult to have mentor support or consistent guidance.”
That’s when she found Experian.
With the encouragement of two friends who previously worked there, she applied for a role in the company even though she had no experience in the industry. It turned out that this didn’t matter though, as she soon learned in her interview.
“It was at the interview that I was sold on Experian. Two of the managers that I might be reporting directly to were present in my first interview, and they both said that there would be plenty of support in educating me on the industry and Experian products and services.
“Their confidence in giving me the space and resources to upskill myself indicated a lot about Experian to me.”
This innate trust in their people was something truly exceptional to Kat. And the way it supported her not only during her highs in the company but – more tellingly – her lows.
“I knew I’d made the right choice joining Experian when I didn’t get things right. My manager and broader team fostered an environment where I could learn from my mistakes and still feel supported.”
“In my experience, what has set Experian apart is that they didn’t shoehorn me into a cookie-cutter work policy that didn’t fit my situation. Instead, we worked together to find a working arrangement that suited us both. For me, this has meant working remotely or from different offices, depending on where I was located and my set of circumstances.”
In fact, in her five years at Experian so far, Kat has already moved interstate three times – one of which was her move to Queensland while pregnant during a world-stopping pandemic.
Today, Kat works remotely full-time from the Gold Coast, enjoying the opportunity to contribute and deliver results while caring for her growing toddler.
Flexibility when it matters most
As impressed as Kat had been with Experian during her journey to parenthood, it wasn’t until she returned to work that she realized just how dedicated the company was in supporting her.
“Flexible working arrangements have been one of the benefits which has meant a lot to me. But the real game changer for me was Experian’s holistic approach to parental leave, in particular the return from parental leave.”
“One of the biggest benefits for me was I was able to change both when, and in what capacity, I came back to work.”
This was especially important for Kat because, as it turned out, going back to work wasn’t as easy as she imagined.
“I thought I was ready to return to work sooner than I had originally planned, but not in a full-time capacity. I reached out to my manager and explained my circumstances, and Experian was able to accommodate all variations I requested.”
Experian also provided external parenting resources to Kat that proved valuable during her transition to full-time work.
“I was given access to an online resource hub – Parents at Work. And while not an official resource, my colleagues were an invaluable source of support and knowledge. It was great to know that there are working parents at Experian who understand the juggle, the guilts, and the bugs that you pick up from the petri dish that is childcare. They were there to talk, ask questions, and provide a community for me to lean on when I came back.”
Looking back on this challenging time in her life, she feels grateful to have had such an encouraging and supportive employer.
“Coming back from parental leave as a first-time parent, I was not fully aware of what a juggle it can be. Experian was supportive in being flexible with my return and providing resources and groups to support my transition.”
Finding what works for you
When we asked Kat what people would be most surprised to learn about Experian, she answered:
“How thoughtful and progressive their policies are for employees.”
“For such a large enterprise, their focus really is on the individuals’ needs.”
Kat would know.
Whether it was moving between states multiple times or finding a working arrangement that worked for both sides, Experian has always been open to finding the right solution with her.
This open-mindedness has been the hallmark of Experian’s workplace flexibility and is among the main reasons employees love working there.
“Even if you haven’t seen a policy or initiatives around a particular topic, you can ask them. If Experian hasn’t thought about it, they’ll invite you to conceptualize.”
Flexibility, however, means different things to different people. As Kat learned first-hand, Experian understands this fact intimately and builds their employee support around it.
For Kat, and many others at Experian, this type of flexibility has been nothing short of priceless.