- Mars CEO Grant Reid said the pandemic has changed the $35 billion snacking and pet care company in many ways.
- The company’s workplace, which was already heavily influenced by the preferences of Gen Z, is in the midst of large-scale and likely permanent change.
- “These past few months have been unlike any we’ve experienced,” Mars CEO Grant Reid told Business Insider. “And there is no doubt that it has upended the way almost every Mars Associate works.”
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Mars has weathered recessions, depressions and two world wars. Now, the company is shifting once again, this time amid a global pandemic and economic meltdown.
“These past few months have been unlike any we’ve experienced,” Mars CEO Grant Reid told Business Insider in a recent email interview. “And there is no doubt that it has upended the way almost every Mars Associate works.”
Mars, best known for its iconic candy brands like M&M and Skittles, as well as a massive pet-care business that spans everything from dog food to veterinary care, was already in the midst of a workplace transformation before the pandemic.
In a sit-down interview in October, Reid told Business Insider’s Kate Taylor that the $35 billion company had been heavily impacted by the preferences of Gen Z. To attract and retain talent, Reid said that Mars purposely began fostering a Gen Z-friendly environment that promoted an atmosphere of flexibility. The company already has an open office set-up and the ability for associates to work from home.
“When I started at Mars, you went to the office every day,” Reid told Business Insider in October. “And I think Gen Z’s saying, ‘How can I be productive? How can I work to my time?’ And technology’s allowing us to do much more of that.”
The pandemic has only furthered the work-from-home options for Mars employees, which has in turn changed the way the company works to deliver products and veterinary services.
To Reid, having a more remote set-up in the future, which he expects to be a continued option for employees in a post-pandemic world, will serve as a lesson in adaptability for the company.
“The key will be to look at how we do this in a way which helps us build back better,” he said. “With perhaps a greater opportunity for us to be agile and flexible in the way we get things done.”
Outside of the office, Reid said Mars workers have continued to work in factories and veterinary hospitals while implementing high standards of safety to continue to serve the company’s broad range of clients.
And while Mars is changing its business to fit the current times, Reid says the impact on the company will linger well beyond a return to global normalcy.
“The impact on our ways of working across the business has been profound and will be long-lasting,” he said.