Mars Canada employees volunteering
Chosen as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers and Greater Toronto's Top Employers for 2013:
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors
(Oct 9, 2012)
Some of the reasons why Mars Canada
was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2013
- supports employees who are new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments (to 100% of salary for 13 weeks) as well as extended health benefit coverage during their leave
- and manages a generous academic scholarship program for children of employees who attend post-secondary institutions (to $7,000 per child) as well as a summer jobs program for employees' children
- offers reserved car parking for hybrid vehicles at its head office and employees manage an in-house "Environmental Sustainability Team" that helps manage in-house recycling efforts, cafeteria composting and a variety of employee volunteer initiatives
- encourages ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies for job-related courses and professional accreditation, in-house and online training programs
- offers a variety of great financial benefits, including year-end performance bonuses for some, generous contributions to a defined contribution pension plan, employee referral bonuses and even discounts on company products (including chocolate bars, of course)
- starts new employees at three weeks of paid vacation allowance and manages a unique vacation purchase program that helps employees extend their vacation when desired
- encourages employees to stay healthy with employee-organized sports teams and free membership to an onsite fitness facility, which also features an outdoor beach volleyball court and outdoor running trail
Mars Canada Inc. is a manufacturer of food, confectionery and pet care products.
The company is a division of McLean, Virginia-based Mars Incorporated. Established in 1911, the privately-held parent company has over 70,000 employees at facilities in more than 60 countries. The parent company recently acquired Chicago-based Wrigley Company, making Mars one the largest food companies in the world. Established in Canada in 1940 (as a division of Uncle Ben's Inc), Mars Canada today operates three manufacturing facilities, producing chocolate bars (Mars, Milkyway and Three Musketeers), dinner products (Uncle Ben's rice dishes), and pet food (Pedigree, Cesar and Whiskas). Mars also markets and distributes a variety of other familiar food products across the country, including Snickers, Twix, Skittles, Starburst, M&M's and Maltesers.
Industry: Nonchocolate Confectionery Manufacturing.
Major Canadian hiring locations: Bolton ON, Newmarket ON.
Parent company: Mars Incorporated.
Full-time at this location: 430.
Full-time employees in Canada: 474.
Full-time worldwide: 70,000.
New jobs created in Canada last year: 20.
Part-time employees in Canada: 202.
Workforce engaged on a contract basis: 9%.
Number of applications received at this location last year: 4,800.
Average age of all employees: 42.
Longest serving employee: 35 years.
Mars Canada's physical workplace is rated as exceptional. Mars Canada is located in the rolling countryside of Caledon, just north of Toronto. The company's Bolton head office includes a combination of state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities (with a food lab and kitchen) and open concept offices. Prior to a recent renovation, head office employees were consulted about everything from workstation design to carpet selection and bathroom tile colours. The result is a unique working environment that includes no walls and doors, workstations of the same size (regardless of position), phone-free quiet rooms, internet kiosks for manufacturing employees, and an outdoor courtyard that is wireless-ready for outdoor meetings in the summer. Inside, the head office also features an onsite fitness facility (with free membership, treadmills, stationary bikes, rowing machines, weights, large screen television, shower facilities, instructor-led classes and regular visits by a Wellness Coordinator who provides personal fitness training); outdoor basketball and beach volleyball courts and an outdoor running trail (with an employee running club); employee lounge (with comfortable seating, television, foosball table, music, wired and wireless ready for meetings and teleconferences); nap room; secure bicycle parking; free parking.
Work Atmosphere & Communications
Mars Canada's work atmosphere is rated as above-average. Mars Canada employees enjoy casual dress daily; can listen to music while working; can bring pets to work when needed; employee sports teams; organized social events. Mars Canada's company-subsidized social committee, which has operated since 1986, helps to organize a holiday party during the Christmas season for employees' children, a year-end celebration for all employees, and a open house event for family members that includes a tour of the chocolate factory. The company also hosts an employee golf tournament as well as intramural basketball games. The company keeps employees up-to-date and captures employee feedback through a company newsletter; corporate intranet site; traditional suggestion box; email suggestion box.
Financial Benefits & Compensation
Mars Canada's financial benefits are rated as very good. To keep salaries competitive the company participates in outside salary surveys every 12 months. Individual salaries are reviewed every 12 months. Mars Canada also provides year-end bonuses for some employees; defined contribution pension plan with employer contributions (up to 20% of salary); new employee referral bonuses (to $1,500 for some positions); discounted company products (including chocolate bars).
Health & Family-Friendly Benefits
Mars Canada's health and family benefits are rated as very good. Mars Canada's health benefits plan is managed by Blue Cross. As part of the health plan, the employer pays 100% of the premiums. Employees who work 40 hours per week receive coverage. There is no waiting period before coverage begins. Family coverage is available on the health benefits plan. Retiree coverage is also available on the health plan, up to 65 years of age. The basic plan includes routine dental; restorative dental; orthodontics; eyecare ($150 every 2 years); fertility treatment medications; employee assistance (EAP) plan; medical equipment and supplies; massage therapy; travel insurance. The company's family friendly benefits include; maternity top-up payments (to 100% of salary for 13 weeks); health benefits during maternity and parental leave. Additional family-friendly benefits include: a summer job program for employees' children; post-secondary academic scholarships for children of employees; flexible working hours; telecommuting; vacation purchase program (to one additional week each year).
Vacation & Personal Time-Off
Mars Canada's vacation and personal time-off are rated as average. New employees receive 3 weeks of vacation allowance after their first year. Vacation increases after 8 years on the job. Long-serving employees receive a maximum of 6 weeks of vacation each year. Employees receive 3 paid sick days every year. Employees can schedule 1 personal day off each year, as needed. Employees receive 1 personal day off, as scheduled by their employer. Employees also have the option to purchase additional vacation days through payroll deductions (up to five additional days each year).
Mars Canada's employee engagement program is rated as above-average. Employees receive individual performance reviews every 6 months. Managers receive training in how to conduct effective performance reviews. Performance feedback is also solicited from co-workers and other managers familiar with each employee's work. As part of the review process employees can provide confidential feedback on their manager's performance. Exit interviews are provided for departing employees. The company recognizes exceptional performance through an on-the-spot awards program that includes peer nominated awards in recognition for exceptional on-the-job performance -- over 200 employees received recognition through this program last year. Mars also operates a dedicated program (called Aspire) for its top performing part-time employees, offering performance points that are redeemable for a selection of company merchandise. Every year, the company's "Difference Award" program recognizes outstanding employee innovation and initiative, providing individual and group winners with the chance to travel to New York for the company's "North American Regional Awards" and then to Washington DC and the chance to compete for the company's coveted "Global Award". (Surveys are conducted every 12 months); Mars Canada hires an outside consultant to conduct confidential employee satisfaction and engagement surveys. (These surveys are held every 12 months).
Training & Skills Development
Mars Canada's training and skills development program is rated as above-average. Employees receive tuition subsidies for courses related to their position. (Employer covers up to 100% of tuition). Mars Canada also supports employee development with subsidies for professional accreditations; formal mentoring program; career planning services; in-house training programs; online training programs; online employee skills inventory; new employee orientation program; formal management training program; and two dedicated training weeks each year that include a variety of courses, including business strategy, project management, financial analysis, and management training.
Mars Canada's community involvement program is rated as exceptional. Mars Canada actively supports a variety of local and national charitable initiatives. Employees take part in the selection of charitable groups assisted each year. Employees receive paid time off to volunteer with their favourite charitable organizations. As part of this program, employees receive 2 paid days off to volunteer. Last year, employees donated over 1,000 hours volunteering with charitable projects. Approximately 40 charitable and community organizations were supported last year. As part of its charitable giving program, Mars Canada and its employees support a variety of charitable initiatives every year, including Caledon Animal Shelter, local food banks and Habitat for Humanity (employees volunteered over 400 construction hours last year), to name a few. As part of its volunteer day off program, individual employees and employee teams are encouraged to choose those charitable initiatives that are important to them. The company also runs the Mars Ambassador program (MAP), which provides opportunities for employees to volunteer with partner organizations on project locations around the world.
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