Working for a candy company can be pretty sweet — especially if your employer is Mars.
According to employees at Mars Chocolate — a segment of the $33 billion Mars candy, pet care, and beverage company — the free Snickers and M&Ms aren’t even the best part of their job.
“Mars Chocolate is a truly unique place to work,” one associate told Business Insider during a visit to the Hackettstown, New Jersey, office in May 2016. “Everyone is passionate about the work they are doing — and the people are incredible. We are one big family and that’s not something you get everywhere.”
Mars — which was ranked on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies To Work For” list in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 — employs 72,000 people (who they call “associates”) worldwide and over 25,000 in the US. About 16,000 of those global associates work for Mars Chocolate.
Here are some photos from our tour of the Mars Chocolate North America office in Hackettstown:
Mars Chocolate produces 29 candy brands in total, including the billion-dollar global brands M&M's, Snickers, Dove, Milky Way, and Twix. The Mars Chocolate North America campus is also home to the M&M's factory, where 50% of all M&M's sold in the US are made. When you walk through the front doors of the office building, giant M&M's greet you with bins of complimentary candy.
The Hackettstown M&Ms factory opened in 1958. The Mars Chocolate office was added to the plant in 1979.
The M&M's brand was first launched in 1940. Today, the Hackettstown plant produces M&M's Milk Chocolate, M&M's Minis, and Peanut M&M's, as well as 21 different colours and custom print M&M's.
Not too surprisingly, snacks are free for associates. The office has multiple vending machines. To get a snack, you just select the item you want and it comes flying out -- no cash required!
'Of course the free candy is a great perk,' notes one associate. 'But what makes this a truly wonderful place to work is the sense of family. Also, the culture is unlike anywhere else. People who work here often stay for a very long time -- sometimes their entire career. And their kids will come work here. And then their grandkids. That says something about the company.'
Between 10% to 15% of the associates who work at the Hackettstown campus are generational associates, meaning a family member preceded them at the plant or office.
During our tour, various associates commented on the 'unmatched' culture, and reiterated the importance of Mars' five principals: quality, responsibility, mutuality, efficiency, and freedom to span generations, geographies, languages, and cultures.
Mars offers a volunteer program called MVP (Mars Volunteer Program). Associates are encouraged to give back on a local, national, and/or global scale. In 2015, over 2,200 Mars Chocolate associates volunteered for more than 7,000 hours.
'It's also a very collaborative environment,' says an associate. 'We all work together in some capacity.'
'We're very open and transparent,' says an associate. 'Even our conference room walls are clear glass!' she jokes.
'We take health and wellness seriously here,' says an associate. 'We think of chocolate as a treat ... something you indulge in occasionally.'
The campus is 104 acres. 'You'll regularly find employees taking a walk around campus to get some exercise,' says an associate.
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