Originally published on LinkedIn by Cathryn Gunther, Global Head of Associate Health & Wellbeing
“Your energy introduces you before you even speak” is a quote from Mel Robbins, a renowned speaker, CNN legal and social commentator, and a best-selling author. And it’s true. Energy is life. Energy is contagious.
The Mars Culture of Health
I’m relatively new to Mars and am personally energized by the enormous opportunities to enhance the already robust culture of health. Like many corporations, Mars is committed to advancing Associate health and wellbeing for all the reasons that are now well-documented: to promote the health and safety of each of its 133,000+ global workforce, enhance engagement and productivity, and attract and retain talent.
In addition to its chocolate, treats, food and pet nutrition businesses, Mars holds the largest portfolio of veterinary businesses in the world – a lesser- known fact. The breadth and depth of the Associates who support these businesses offers a unique opportunity to ignite a sustained movement towards holistic health and energy.
Emphasis on Energy
Based on my varied experience in corporate health, Mars is unique in its focus on energy as a mechanism to drive workplace wellbeing and engagement. Human energy is the most critical resource a business has. When people are fully energized, they are physically engaged and mentally focused. They maintain a more positive mindset and are purposeful. Being fully energized allows people to perform at their best – in both their personal and professional lives. What is special about Mars – that I’ve not seen in many other companies – is this intentional focus on individual and team energy. That focus is a culmination of the other areas of health that we typically hear about such as physical health, mental health, a sense of belonging, purpose and financial health. Mars data show that Associate energy is strongly related to engagement and job satisfaction, and high energy managers lead more engaged teams. Mars has set an enterprise goal for enhancing Associate energy in the next few years.
We’re working toward this goal by helping our Associates cultivate energy management skills. Through our global Energy for Life training program, we empower individuals and teams to manage and grow their energy capacity to meet ever-increasing demands personally and professionally. Program alumni demonstrated improved job performance for as long as three years later and had significantly higher engagement for at least three years after attending. They’re also able to bounce back more easily after experiencing a setback.
Call to Action
What can companies and leaders do to advance health and energy?
- Advocate for healthy leadership. Promote workforce health and energy management as part of the daily routine. Take small steps toward health by having shorter, focused meetings, encouraging recovery breaks, walking meetings and moments of gratitude. Bring in tools and resources that address energy management – as part of the hybrid office environment or front-line management communications.
- Be a role model for others. Examine your own energy, recognize the relationship between being your best self – at work, home and play. You and your colleagues can reset workplace patterns by intentionally setting aside time for health- and wellness-enhancing behaviors. This can become the new social norm – where employees are empowered to thrive.
- Give permission to speak openly about energy and set expectations for how the future of work can impact your company’s workforce wellbeing. Encourage team-based conversations and storytelling; track energy through surveys.
What level of energy do you convey when you engage with others? Walk into a room? Participate on a video call? The choice is yours. Take steps to be the positive energy you wish to attract. And don’t forget to recharge your batteries with a good night’s sleep, healthy nutrition, energizing movement, social engagement, and a sense of purpose. And of course, to create a few moments with more smiles, enjoy a Mars Bar or share a bag of M&Ms.