What Are Mars Inc.'s 'Five Principles'?
New chairman delivers keynote at 2014 Great Place to Work Conference
NEW ORLEANS -- The success of candy maker Mars Inc. is rooted in the Mars family's values, which are brought to life within the company as "The Five Principles," Victoria B. Mars, chairman of Mars Inc., said in her keynote presentation at the 2014 Great Place to Work Conference on April 3.
She shared insights from her 35-year career and explained how the Five Principles--quality, responsibility, mutuality, efficiency and freedom--form the foundation for Mars' approach to business and empower Mars employees to create a unique, open and egalitarian workplace culture. This culture is what allows Mars to offer easy access to senior leaders and nontraditional career development opportunities alongside more traditional corporate programs.
"The Five Principles are all about the 'how' versus the 'what' at Mars and they serve as a solid base upon which we build everything," she said. "Mixed with a sense of entrepreneurial adventure that has permeated the business since the beginning, they create a workplace where our associates can be proud and business can thrive."
The Mars family is engaged in the running of the business through their work on the board, the Family Assembly and other roles within the organization. Victoria Mars said that being family owned and principles-led has been fundamental to the success of the business and allows Mars to make decisions for the long term. It has allowed the family to maintain its freedom to operate across generations and to reinvest in the business in order to grow it authentically within the culture established by her grandfather.
She also outlined the role that she played in creating the company ombudsman program and leading it for 16 years. Mars encourages an open culture, and the program she helped create at Mars provides every employee with an independent and confidential channel of communication. She cited these experiences and learnings as instrumental in improving the business and driving her passion for making Mars a great workplace.
"It's about using listening, coaching and individualized support as a way of helping associates grow and develop," she said. "The ombudsman program at Mars is one way for associates to be heard and collaborate on problem solving with a senior leader or family member like myself. Nothing gives me more pride than having them thank me for creating that outlet or hearing they had a long, happy career because they felt valued as individuals and empowered to find solutions to overcome issues that mattered most to them."
Great Place to Work is a global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures.
McLean, Va.-based Mars has net sales of more than $33 billion, six business segments including Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Petcare and Symbioscience. Mars brands include chocolate: M&M's, Snickers, Dove, Galaxy, Mars, Milky Way And Twix; Wrigley: Doublemint, Extra, Orbit and 5 Chewing Gums, Skittles and Starburst candies and Altoids and Lifesavers mints; Food: Uncle Ben's, Dolmio, Ebly, Masterfoods, Seeds of Change and Royco; Drinks: Alterra Coffee Roasters, The Bright Tea Co., Klix and Flavia; Petcare: Pedigree, Royal Canin, Whiskas, Kitekat, Banfield Pet Hospital and Nutro; Symbioscience: Cocoavia and Wisdom Panel.