General Mills

What You Should Know

General Mills employees say the company lives up to its motto – "Nourishing Lives" – in how it treats its people and the community. Staffers appreciate flexible schedules, growth opportunities, approachable managers and great perks. Those who work at the corporate headquarters especially enjoy a huge array of amenities and services designed to make life easier, including an infant care center, concierge, health clinic, fitness center, auto repair and several stores, as well as outdoor space for walking, running or cross-country skiing. Communication and staffing can be an issue at some plants, but workers praise the company's commitment to safety in its manufacturing operations. "I'm always proud to say that I work at General Mills," says one staffer. "They always encourage their employees to do the right thing, act ethically, volunteer and share our skills and time with our communities."*

WHAT THEY DO

General Mills manufactures and markets some of the world's most famous food brands, such as Cheerios, Wheaties, Bisquick, Betty Crocker, Helper, Green Giant, Pillsbury, Yoplait, Old El Paso and Haagen-Dazs. 

Website: www.generalmills.com US Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Stock Symbol: GIS US sales: $12.5 billion
Worldwide revenues: $17.9 billion Employees worldwide: 42,000
Founded: 1866 Industry: Manufacturing & Production

FORTUNE's 100 Best Companies to Work for ® 2014


Great Challenges

How much responsibility would I have? What kind of support is there for professional development?

Great Rated! conducted an anonymous survey of randomly selected employees to assess the quality of the workplace challenges the company provides. At General Mills, 73 percent of employees report the company often or almost always provides needed training, fair promotions and personally challenging work. Another 18 percent report the company sometimes provides these opportunities, for a combined positive rating from 91 percent of employees in the Great Challenges category.

General Mills employees manufacture, market and sell some of the world's most famous food brands. The company has approximately 42,000 employees worldwide. (Note: Only US employees were surveyed as part of this review.)

Most employees (85 percent) say they carry a lot of responsibility in the organization, and almost as many (82 percent) also report that managers trust them to carry out these responsibilities without micromanaging them. For three-quarters of employees, their work at General Mills is more than just a job; it provides special meaning. 

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Supporting Employee Development

  • College Tuition Reimbursement: $6,500
  • Average annual training for part-time hourly employees: 20 hours
  • Average annual training for full-time salaried employees: 60 hours
  • Managers work with employees to create individual development plans that help them reach their professional and personal goals. There are also professional mentoring and development programs and online classes, as well as training programs for managers to improve their skills. 
General Mills spends a lot of time and energy developing their employees to their fullest potential. I have been here for over 16 years and still feel like I am learning and growing in my role.

Great Atmosphere

What would my colleagues be like? How do people have fun? How formal a workplace is it?

At General Mills, 73 percent of employees say they often or almost always enjoy their colleagues and find their workplace to be fun and cooperative. Another 19 percent sometimes benefits from these qualities, for a combined positive rating from 92 percent of employees in the Great Atmosphere category.

At the General Mills headquarters in Minneapolis, offices look out onto a spacious corporate campus that has enough room for walking, jogging, cross-country skiing or flying a kite. Inside, there is great artwork in the hallways and offices, and sometimes there are food demos just waiting to be tasted. 

A significant majority of surveyed employees (93 percent) describe their working environment as consistently friendly. Eighty-four percent also portray it as caring. More than three-quarters say it's a place with a family or team feeling where people feel comfortable being themselves.

Fun and Celebrations

  • At General Mills, fun and camaraderie are the frosting on the company cake. The Employee Club sponsors and organizes a wide range of activities, events and clubs that build camaraderie and help staff members connect with one another. Each individual team, function, plant and division also arranges celebrations and social events, where employees and their families celebrate milestones and company successes. Whether it's playing fitness games on a Wii, going out to the theater, heading off on a bike ride or joining the knitting club, there's something for everyone at General Mills.

Caring and Support

  • General Mills offers the LifeWorks Employee Assistance Program to its staff. The program offers counseling to employees and their family members nationwide, along with referrals to community resources. Counselors assist with depression, substance abuse, grief, financial difficulties and other hardships like difficulty finding child or elder care. For employees who have suffered a loss, paid funeral leave is available; it's not limited to a specific number of days but is at the supervisor's discretion. 
People celebrate special events around here.
79%
 
General Mills is a large company with a family atmosphere. When an employee is faced with a family illness, everyone top down is supportive to provide resources, assistance and support, creating both flexibility and openness to take time off if needed. General Mills truly stands behind family first.

Demographics



Percentage minorities in workforce


Percentage of executives that are women




 

Great Rewards

What kind of perks and benefits are part of the employment package? What is the work-life balance like? Does the company appreciate hard work?

At General Mills, 72 percent of employees often or almost always find the company compensates them fairly, provides special and unique benefits, supports their work-life balance and shows genuine appreciation for their contributions. Another 18 percent reports they sometimes receive these benefits as well, for a combined positive rating from 90 percent of employees in the Great Rewards category.

Another thing that makes General Mills a great place to work is all of the services and amenities we are provided. All of the Main Street services are outstanding including the company store, the SolveIT bar, the concierge, Madison on Main salon and the Caribou Coffee store. These are just a few examples of great services provided to employees. Finally, the Employee Club offers amazing opportunities for employees to participate and experience recreational and social activities at a reduced price, and is unique to General Mills in its size and scope of offerings. We are lucky to have such an amazing selection of services!

COMPENSATION PROGRAMS

  • 401(k) or 403b plan
  • Deferred profit-sharing plan
  • Employee stock purchase plan
  • Pre-tax savings account

PERKS TO MAKE LIFE EASIER

  • Subsidized lunch on a regular, daily basis
  • Personal concierge service
  • Massage therapy
  • Fitness classes
  • Weight Watchers meetings
  • Convenience store
  • Banking
  • Onsite package/mailing service
  • Discount ticket sales
  • Car wash
  • Hair salon
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Personal travel service

WORK-LIFE BALANCE PROGRAMS

  • Paid sabbaticals
  • Flexible schedule (63% use it)
  • Job sharing (1% use it)
  • Onsite child care
  • Lactation rooms
  • Child care reimbursement during business travel
  • Unpaid sabbaticals
  • Telecommute option (67% use it)
  • Compressed workweeks (1% use it)
  • Offsite subsidized child care
  • Elder care resources
The organization as a whole fosters an environment where work/life balance is truly lived out. Managers offer flex hours to fit your personal needs. The company offers a very wide variety of services to give you more time at home (daycare, gas station, auto body shop, hair salon, workout classes, etc.), and they also offer half-day Fridays in the summer. General Mills is an amazing organization and I feel very blessed to be a part of it.

HEALTH INSURANCE COVERS

  • Dental care
  • Prescription drug subsidy
  • Alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, homeopathy or chiropractic
  • Vision care
  • Mental health care
  • Fertility treatments

ONSITE HEALTH BENEFITS

  • Breast cancer screening
  • Skin cancer screening
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Complete biometric screening
  • Subsidized offsite gym memberships
  • Prostate cancer screening
  • Cholesterol tests
  • Flu shots
  • Fitness center
  • Medicare facility

Great Pride

What inspires employees' company spirit here? Do people stand by their teams' work? What impact do people have outside the organization?

At General Mills, 80 percent of employees report that they often or almost always carry meaningful responsibilities within the organization and are proud of their accomplishments, community impact and the company's reputation in the world. Another 14 percent report that they sometimes experience this pride as well, for a combined positive rating from 94 percent of employees in the Great Pride category.

General Mills traces its history back to 1866, when two flour mills started operations on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Today, General Mills is one of the world's largest food companies. Its mission is "Nourishing Lives, making lives healthier, easier and richer every day." In the 2014 fiscal year, General Mills shipped more than 235 billion grams of whole grain, a billion servings of vegetables, two billion servings of low/nonfat dairy and 50 billion grams of dietary fiber in the U.S.

I'm proud to tell others I work here.
90%
 
I'm always proud to say that I work at General Mills. They always encourage their employees to do the right thing, act ethically, volunteer and share our skills and time with our communities.

Supporting the Community

  • Philanthropic donations in the last year: $153 million
  • The General Mills Foundation, established in 1954, helps focus the company's philanthropic resources on community needs. The foundation works with community organizations and programs addressing social issues like hunger, nutrition and healthy, active lifestyles. Some of the company's initiatives include a partnership with the Minnesota Women's Foundation in recent years to support programs that promote leaders who are women of color. The company also offers a web-based tool called WeGive, which provides employees with a one-stop place to explore volunteering opportunities and organize team volunteer activities. 
I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.
91%
 
General Mills has a strong commitment to the community and that shows by the amount of time people spend serving the areas around our offices. 

Great Communication

How easy is it to talk with managers and get the information I need? Will managers listen to my input?

At General Mills, 70 percent of employees say they often or almost always experience a free and transparent exchange of ideas and information within the organization. Another 20 percent sometimes has this experience as well, for a combined positive rating from 90 percent of employees in the Great Communication category.

Employees tend to feel that the leadership team is accessible and keeps the information flowing. Almost eight out of 10 employees describe their leaders as approachable and easy to talk with. Seven out of 10 also report that managers make their expectations clear and keep staff informed about important issues and changes. 

This is the first company I have worked for in my professional career that encourages such open and honest communication up and down the chain of leadership. There is really no fear of negative repercussions when you express disagreement with a business strategy, for example. People are generally open to new ideas and encourage innovative thinking. I value that as an engineer since a large part of my job is looking at ideas with a critical view and also coming up with new ways of doing various processes within the company. This philosophy seems to apply to the most critical business strategy all the way down to the most menial daily task at the plant level. You can contact anyone (even the CEO) with an idea and they will at least take the time to listen and evaluate it.

Great Bosses

What are managers' leadership strengths?

At General Mills, 67 percent of employees say their managers often or almost always act with integrity and care, are competent in their positions and provide clear directions and vision for the organization. Another 21 percent say their managers sometimes display these characteristics, for a combined positive rating from 88 percent of employees in the Great Bosses category.

General Mills employees widely appreciate the friendly atmosphere, company pride, job challenges and opportunities for career growth that their leaders encourage. They also tend to describe their managers as trustworthy, effective and caring. More than three-quarters describe the leadership as competent, and more than seven out of 10 staffers feel managers show a sincere interest in them as people, not just as employees.

People here really do get along well and I feel that I can talk to any member of management about anything and everything. Members of management have never made me feel that I am 'less' than they are.

Great Perks and Programs

  • Making Life Easier: The corporate campus includes a wide range of onsite services and amenities to help employees balance their work and family needs, including an infant care center, new mothers' rooms, a hair salon, travel services, a credit union, dry cleaning and shipping services, a grocery store and deli, a gourmet restaurant, a full-service automotive center, a concierge service, a full-service health clinic and a fitness center. There's also a seasonal in-house farmers' market. The spacious campus is perfect for walking or jogging in any season, and it's great for cross-country skiing in winter. Some other plants also offer subsidized back-up care for children and elders, new mothers' rooms and fitness centers.
  • Health and Fitness: There are lots of health and fitness initiatives at General Mills. Free fitness assessments are available to all employees, whether they are at headquarters, a sales business center or in a plant facility. General Mills also sponsors a number of weight-loss and healthy eating programs, as well as walking challenges, and it is working toward becoming a tobacco-free company. Beyond the eight locations with onsite fitness centers, employees can take advantage of discount programs at local gyms. Several sites also have onsite physical therapists, nurse practitioners and athletic trainers.
  • Awards: Each division, function and plant gives awards and has recognition programs, and there are a lot of them. General Mills recognizes continuous improvement, ethics, community service, years of service and retirement, achieving business objectives (or exceeding them), going above and beyond the call of duty, promotions, transfers and more.
  • Individual Development Plans: Employees have the opportunity to sit down with their managers, discuss their aspirations and create their own individual development plans that will help them get re-energized about their work and achieve their professional and personal goals. Employees receive ongoing feedback and evaluations to help them reach their annual objectives.
  • Special Interests Clubs: There's something for everyone at General Mills. The company has special interests clubs for cooking, chess, parenting, knitting, motoring, theater, visual arts and more.

Employee Quotes

Great Rated! collected feedback from General Mills employees via an anonymous survey. Following are common reasons employees said they appreciate their workplace.

"People are here for one another! There is very little turnover in the senior ranks and people tend to have long careers. I think it's very unique, especially in this day and age of technology and pace of change happening. Things change, but the people remain the same, and it's a great feeling to know the people you are working with are there for you whenever you need them!"

"Some of the perks we get are great. We sometimes get to take home cereal or bars. This is a great thing and a great way to make sure we are eating our own product. The people are great and the amount of time off you get is very nice."

"This company is very safety-oriented and goes over and above to stress safety at all levels. This company is always having recognition events, meals, stores postings to call out the great accomplishments of the people/plant."

"Most of my co-workers are positive people and that makes our work environment so much better."

"We get company-paid admissions to local events like ballgames and fitness events."

"Everyone who works here is really smart. You can count on everyone to get the work done that they said they were going to get done. I have been at a few other companies and that is not always the case. I feel like I truly can learn something from everyone that I work with."

"General Mills does very well at fostering personal career growth. They care about individual employees and encourage open dialogue. They promote working as a team where everyone can contribute each and every day."

"The company is so flexible and really truly offers work/life balance. I feel proud to work for a company that invests so much in the community and promotes diversity."

"I have always wanted to work at General Mills - they value their employees, the community, the company as a whole."

"This company has excellent incentives, more so than any company I've ever worked for. The benefits are wonderful and the pay is very competitive - couldn't ask for a better company to work for."

"I feel management truly cares about their employees. Everyone has a chance to voice your opinion on how you feel things could be changed to make your job better."

"There are excellent opportunities for those that are willing to sacrifice and work hard. Education is important but one can do quite well in climbing their career ladder with a high school education, strong work ethic, interpersonal skills, learning agility, self-motivation and integrity."

How to Get Hired

We asked General Mills for some inside information on how to get hired at the organization. Here is what they had to say.

What key characteristics tell you a prospective employee will be a great fit for your company?

At General Mills, we recruit for long-term careers versus short-term job openings. When we look at candidates, we want to know more than whether they have the skills to do a specific job. We want to know about their values and motivation, and what inspires them to get out of bed each day. We want them to know about the kind of company we are and what makes us unique versus other opportunities. This understanding is important to ensure that it is a good match for both the company and the candidate. Different groups at General Mills may look for specific functional competencies in potential candidates that are listed in the job overview. Overall we seek top performers who are passionate about nourishing lives and have a drive for winning and innovation. Our employees are motivated by the connections at work and the impact on others and their communities.

What can prospective employees do to get your attention?

General Mills seeks the best and brightest—individuals who have risen to the top in their previous endeavors, have excelled as leaders in ventures both in and out of the workplace and who know they can make a valuable contribution to our brands, our organization and the broader community. We also want employees who don’t crave the individual spotlight but find joy and fulfillment by working collaboratively with others to win as a team and make a positive difference in the world. Most importantly, connect with us! We are always looking for excellent candidates to fill open roles of today or for future opportunities. We meet great talent on campus, at career fairs and online on our social networks.

Are there any unusual or especially rigorous steps of your hiring process that candidates should be aware of?

Hiring a prospective team member is a very important decision for both General Mills and the candidate. That’s why the entire recruiting and interview team works to be as helpful as possible throughout this process, whether the candidate is interviewing for a position at headquarters, sales business centers or one of the plant locations. Each position will have a unique interview team and a series of questions related to that role. Throughout the interview process, we strive to ensure candidates really get to know our people, their teams, our brands and responsibilities during their interview process. As candidates learn about us, we get to know the candidate’s values, strengths and experiences. We use several interview methods and assessments, which often include a leadership assessment, critical thinking assessment and several behavior-based interviews. This provides a holistic look at our candidate — including multiple assessments to get the most comprehensive picture possible.

Are there any positions or types of candidates you are particularly focused on hiring in this coming year?

Each year we work with our HR partners to understand the hiring needs of each function and for the company. We are always focused on hiring people who are excited and motivated to help General Mills win by living our company values.

What should interested candidates do to find out more and get started?

To learn more about a career at General Mills visit our website at careers.generalmills.com. There you will learn more about the different career opportunities, and ways to connect with us via social media or join our talent network.

65000Applicants in past year34%New hires by employee referrals

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*This review was written based on survey data collected in July 2014, prior to workforce restructuring conducted later that same year.

General Mills employees say the company lives up to its motto – "Nourishing Lives" – in how it treats its people and the community. They enjoy flexible hours, approachable managers and great perks.

%91

Great Challenges

%92

Great Atmosphere

%90

Great Rewards

%94

Great Pride

%90

Great Communication

%88

Great Bosses

Legend
Often or Almost Always
Sometimes

This review is based on 933 employee surveys, with a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of ±3.11. It was published on Oct 27th, 2014. Our methodology

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