General Mills

What They Do

Manufacture foods that include dozens of well-known brands such as Cheerios, Wheaties, Betty Crocker, Fiber One, Chex Mix and Yoplait. 

Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Founded: 1866

FORTUNE's 100 Best Companies to Work for ® 2014

What Makes General Mills Great

General Mills WalkingAt a company like General Mills that's famous for friendly brand icons such as Poppin' Fresh, the Pillsbury Doughboy, and Lucky the Leprechaun, it may be no surprise that almost everyone (94 percent) says that even behind closed doors the company really is a friendly place to work.

"The people are great," says one employee of his experience. "Even though it's a big company, it still feels like a family, and I genuinely care about my coworkers."

Friendly coworkers aren't the only reason to work for the consumer food giant, though. General Mills' mission is "Nourishing Lives," and aside from the obvious application to its food, the company also applies this mission to how it supports its staff and its community.

"General Mills is a company with exceptional values," states another employee. "Great people work here and no matter how many teams I have worked on, I always find this to be true. This is more than just a job, it is a community."

Inside Story

General Mills employs 41,000 people worldwide, and more than 16,000 of their employees are in the United States. The company is headquartered in Minneapolis, but runs manufacturing plants scattered across the United States. More than half of its U.S. workforce work hourly jobs in production, clerical or technical positions.

Across these many roles — which include everything from research and development, to supply chain engineering, to operating production in a plant — General Mills has a strong focus on diversity and inclusion. The company conducts extensive training and provides mentoring and networking groups throughout its headquarters and plants to ensure that General Mills is a welcoming environment to all that provides opportunities for people to develop their careers regardless of their background. Employees widely confirm not only that they are treated fairly regardless of personal characteristics like race, sex, and sexual orientation — but eight out of 10 also find that they are consistently treated as full members of the company regardless of their position within the organization.

Investing in People

Part of the company's egalitarian spirit is reflected in the extensive training programs available to both headquarters and plant employees; across the company as a whole, 83 percent of employees say that they have access to training and development that will further them professionally. The company offers an extensive range of in-person and online training, group and individual mentoring and coaching to leaders and individual contributors at headquarters and the plants to facilitate their ongoing skill development. The company holds the philosophy that "No one is too big or too high up the executive ladder to learn something new - or help teach someone else what they've learned.” Everyone — production employees, salaried employees, managers, executives and the CEO alike — undergoes development training.

In this spirit, every two to three years, the entire executive leadership - approximately 500 leaders in all - participates in a systematic training program in which executives undergo training, then turn around and teach what they've learned to the next level below them. The training starts with the CEO and his senior team. The entire cycle of successive trainings, which involves General Mills' leaders around the globe, takes approximately 18 months. If the company can't offer the training an employee needs, the educational assistance program — which is available to salaried and production employees alike — covers 100 percent of the cost of job-related courses up to $6,000 per employee per year. 

General Mills investment in developing its people can also be seen in its internal promotions rate: 80 percent of its managers are promoted from within. Given General Mills's size and dispersion, employees can expect some variation in experience as they work with different managers across the organization. The company employs people across a wide range of positions, from factory workers to salaried office staff, and some General Mills plants are unionized and others are not, so some variations in policies and available benefits can also be expected between facilities and roles.

Investing in Community

In addition to investing in its own employees, the company contributes through its General Mills Foundation to community programs that combat hunger and support nutrition and healthy, active lifestyles. Since the foundation was created in 1954, General Mills has awarded more than $1 billion to charitable causes worldwide. "I love that they do so much for the community in which our plants and other offices are located," one employee says. "They encourage all employees to volunteer and give us the time to do this." General Mills also sponsors an annual "Giving Garden" on their headquarters campus grounds in which employees plant a wide variety of organic vegetables that are donated to food shelves and emergency meal programs in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
Knowing that people all over the world consume millions of servings of their cereal, yogurt, and baked goods each day, is also part of what makes 91 percent of employees proud to say that they work for General Mills and 93 percent feel good about the company's impact on their community.

"I am proud to work for General Mills because the company and the people within it take our mission of 'Nourishing Lives' to heart," says one employee of the highlights of working for General Mills. "I get to see how our community stands out to make products for people as we would for friends or family. It is awesome to work with people who care about that."


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This food giant offers plenty of perks and development opportunities in a friendly and inclusive culture that gives back to the community.


Great Challenges


Great Atmosphere


Great Rewards


Great Pride


Great Communication


Great Bosses

Often or Almost Always

This review is based on 979 employee surveys, with a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of ±3.10. It was published on Jan 15th, 2014. Our methodology

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