Cotton On Group has been showcased as one of Australia’s Best in Class organisations.

The report, Best in Class, was launched by a 'future that works', and interviewed ten leading organisations on their outlook on the current and future state of Australian workplaces.

Organisations showcased in Best in Class were; PwC, Jetts Fitness, Cotton On Group, HESTA, Mercy Health, Xero, PepsiCo, AECOM and Arts Centre Melbourne, and Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Best in Class praises the design of work, the role of both leaders and HR practitioners, flexibility in the workplace, and the emphasis on organisational values.

Dr Lindsay McMillan OAM, MD of global HR think-tank, Reventure, and lead researcher for a future that works, praised Cotton On Group.

“Cotton On Group is exemplary for its innovative leadership development and workplace initiatives. They offer flexible, tailored learning programs and support these through bespoke learning technology.

“They are also facilitating a work life balance through innovation. Cotton On Group is best in class.”

Cotton On Group people operations manager Jo Barr said flexibility is key.

“Businesses have not truly understood the power of a flexible and empowered workforce. But Cotton On Group has recently launched two new programs to promote a work life balance – ‘Returnity’ and our ‘Annual Leave Fun Fund’.

“‘Returnity’ is intended to accommodate the challenges new mothers may experience when they return to their jobs from maternity leave.

“Our ‘Annual Leave Fun Fund’ reflects our values of people taking time out to be with their families and having a life outside of work and returning to work refreshed.

“This global initiative places in a ballot everyone who has taken his or her maximum annual leave entitlement in the rolling year to that date. The first-place prize is a $10,000 travel voucher, with second and third prizes valued at $5,000.”

Best in Class also showcases Cotton On Group’s efforts to adapt to help its people achieve no matter where and how they work.

The organisation has established its ‘You Learning’ platform, which responds to a key challenge for global retailers, where it is difficult to offer bespoke learning for businesses with global reach.

‘You Learning’ supports learning across the globe as all stores have a tablet from which employees can access the platform.

The platform offers more than a thousand bespoke learning insights, for example, how staff should walk the store floor. To date, more than 210,000 learning modules have been completed.

“In addition to our other initiatives, we are developing a global toolkit project to make sure we have global visibility of our talent,” Barr said.

“We are focusing on consistency as a group and ensuring everyone is being developed and measured in the same way, so we can enable cross-brands and cross-country moves for our people.

“Everything we do is under our Inspire, Care, Grow pillars. The toolkit sits behind this and is a key action for Cotton On Group.”

Dr McMillan said he concluded his interviews and research for Best in Class feeling inspired.

“It has been an absolute pleasure for a future that works to profile Cotton On Group’s innovative people leadership solutions in this, first-of-its-kind report,” Dr McMillan said.

“Best in Class demonstrates that leading organisations in Australia are modelling a new HR narrative that is contemporary and resourceful. This is the future of HR, and the future is now.”

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