Mars believes Associates are our most important asset and should always have someone to talk to about any work-related concerns.

That’s why in 1997 Victoria Mars launched our Ombudsman Program to establish an informal, confidential, independent and neutral alternative channel for all Associates.

Below you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Mars Ombudsman Program.

Want to learn more about the Mars Ombudsman? Below you will find a list of the helpful materials:

Visit the Mars Ombudsman website Mars Ombudsman website.

What is an Ombudsman?

An Ombudsman provides CONFIDENTIAL and off-the-record assistance to Associates, to help resolve any workplace matter.  As a designated NEUTRAL resource, the Ombudsman doesn’t take sides and isn’t an advocate for any Associate or the company.

The Ombudsman’s services are available to all Associates, regardless of role, location or tenure.

Why does Mars have an Ombudsman?

Mars has always recognized that along with our brands, Associates are our most important asset.

That’s why over 20 years ago Mars created the Ombudsman Program as an alternative channel of communication to complement, not replace, formal resolution channels like Line Managers and P&O.

At the core of the Program, the Ombudsman provides:

  • A channel for Associates to discuss matters informally, without being “on the record”. The Ombudsman is a trusted resource to provide feedback on issues that frustrate you but you’re not comfortable reporting directly yourself, or issues which, despite your best efforts or the efforts of others, weren’t addressed effectively or resolved appropriately from your point of view.
  • An opportunity for the business to understand issues impacting Associates and identify ways to improve. The Ombudsman does not keep records detailing any direct Associate contacts, but they do capture general statistical data and trends in the types of issues raised across the business. This information is categorized and shared with the Office of the President and senior management for the purpose of finding ways to improve Mars’ way of doing business.

What type of issues or concerns can I take to the Ombudsman?

The Ombudsman can help you think through any work-related matter.  Unsure whether your issue is appropriate to bring to an Ombudsman?

Contact your Ombudsman to decide together the best available resource to support you.

You may want to contact the Ombudsman if you:

  • Are uncertain about how to manage a difficult situation
  • Are concerned about fairness or equity in the workplace
  • Could benefit from a neutral sounding board to help evaluate options
  • Need help preparing for a crucial conversation
  • Are interested in exploring professional development opportunities within the company
  • Want to speak with someone who has years of Mars experience and can help you navigate effectively within the business
  • Witness behavior that is not in line with The Five Principles
  • Need someone to listen

What about confidentiality?

Conversations with the Ombudsman are made with the understanding they will be kept confidential.

We keep only minimal notes that enable us to maintain continuity in our discussions with Associates.  We don’t maintain “case” files. The only data we keep are general statistics or trends in the types of issues being raised across the business.

We will refuse to acknowledge any statement or inquiry from your Manager or anyone else who seeks to determine whether you have spoken to an Ombudsman.

You aren’t required to tell anyone that you have considered, are planning to or have spoken to an Ombudsman.

In fact, your privacy will be respected in all circumstances except where we believe there appears to be an imminent risk of harm to you or others.   If that is the case, we will strongly advise those involved to disclose the information themselves.  If they refuse, we will advise them that confidentiality cannot be maintained and will disclose the information only to those who have the need to know, and only to the extent necessary.

After serving as a Mars Ombudsman, we will not rejoin the business in another role. We believe doing so has the potential to compromise the confidentiality of our contacts.  This is another example of how seriously we take the confidentiality element of the Ombudsman Program.