Learning and Development

Two Mars University students sitting outside, studying, as part of Leadership at Mars course
Leadership@Mars, is a three-part course that helps managers develop the skills they need at different points on their journey to senior leadership

Our goal is to help all Associates realize their full potential. We provide programs, tools and opportunities that help Associates build the skills they need to succeed today and to grow their career at Mars for a lifetime, so that they have every reason to stay until retirement and beyond.

Approximately 70 percent of an Associate's learning and development takes place on the job. About 20 percent more comes from additional coaching and mentoring by line managers and, in many cases, professional coaches. The remaining 10 percent of learning and development is through courses and training.

The Essence of Mars

The Five Principles of Mars - Our Principles in Action

All new Associates’ learning begins with the Essence of Mars program. This introduces them to our Five Principles and explains how to apply them to their work and business decisions. The program is available worldwide in 22 languages. Our target is for all new Associates to complete Essence of Mars within six months of starting at the company.

Mars University

Mars University provides a framework for all the learning and development opportunities we provide. The University has ten functional colleges and a leadership college.

The courses help to build the critical tools and capabilities we need to reach our business goals, to reinforce what we think is most important about our culture and to equip Associates with the practical skills to thrive in a dynamic and challenging environment. Focus areas include:

  • Embedding the Five Principles in our business

  • Developing strong leaders

  • Building capabilities and expertise to address specific business challenges

  • Sharing ideas and best practices

Our ‘One Mars University’ approach creates easy-to-access, equal and consistent learning opportunities across regions and functions. The aim is to ensure our training programs are specific and relevant to our critical business challenges. Examples of our programs include:

  • Strategic Sourcing@ Mars - a workshop to introduce new buyers to the Mars Strategic Sourcing Methodology.

  • People & Organization (P&O) the Mars Way - a program to inspire P&O Associates to understand and value the fundamental role of this function in the business.

  • Category Leadership@ Mars - an advanced-level learning stream designed to build our strategic category capabilities.

Our global college brochure provides every Associate with course information, making it easier to understand what training is available.

Developing Leaders

To meet the business challenges of the future we seek to recruit, nurture and develop the brightest talent. We believe that the people best qualified to run our business in the future are already Mars Associates. Our leadership development programs focus on building capability in six areas to help Associates become successful leaders, whether they are managing people for the first time or moving into a more senior role.

We have a strong commitment to developing great line managers. Leadership@Mars is a three-part course that helps managers globally to develop the skills they need at different points on their journey to senior leadership. It is designed to equip all managers with the same cultural understanding, capabilities, competencies and behaviors.

Part I is the foundation of leadership, arming new line managers with the knowledge and skills to enhance the engagement and performance of every associate. Part II strengthens the skills and abilities of experienced line managers, and part III trains mid-level leaders to apply creative and analytical skills to solve increasingly difficult business challenges.

We use targeted programs to accelerate the development and performance of specific groups of Associates, such as high-potential Associates, Line Managers and General Managers.

Senior Leadership at Mars provides an introduction to the skills and perspectives required for senior leaders to succeed in the business. Mars Leadership at the Peak gives senior leaders an opportunity to better understand the strengths and areas for development in their personal leadership style. The program helps to motivate leaders and explore the legacy they want to create. It is run by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL).

Leading in Unprecedented Times focuses on the key debates, tensions and strategic choices facing Mars, Incorporated. These include investing in sustainability to maintain a successful business, and balancing the need for consistent operations with local needs. It provides management teams with the opportunity to apply lessons through discussions of case studies. We believe it is one of the most rigorous and comprehensive leadership development programs in the world. We benchmark our performance against others through the Corporate University Xchange, an education research and consulting firm, the Executive Networks, an organization that brings peer companies together, and use research reports from Bersin & Associates, a people management research and advisory company.

The program has received global recognition. Mars Russia was recognized as one of the three best companies for developing leaders by the Center on Analytics and Research Amplua Insights. Our leadership program was recognized as ‘Exemplary’ at the annual Corporate University Xchange Awards for Excellence and Innovation.

    Mars Associates open gifts on stage at Better World for Pets event
    Making a Better World for Pets at the Petcare Academy

    Our Customized Learning team partnered with Mars Petcare to establish the Petcare Academy, a global program to enhance product awareness and stewardship consistently, and to create Mars Petcare ambassadors through targeted learning experiences with the product and with pets.

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