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(Work) Life on Mars: Mars NZ wins workplace of the year

Mars, which has won the best medium-large workplace (150-399 employees) category seven times since 2007, bested almost 200 organisations to receive this year’s top award. 

The awards, run by IBM Kenexa and now in their 16th year, are based on employees’ ratings of their workplace in a confidential online survey across twelve metrics that include leadership, culture, recognition and engagement. Over 30,000 employees from 193 New Zealand organisations representing private and public sectors participated in the survey.

“What we’ve seen from Mars is incredible consistency,” says Leighton Abbot, senior consultant for IBM Kenexa’s Smarter Workforce for New Zealand. “What really differentiates Mars is that they have such a clear emphasis on their people. This survey gives them critical feedback and it is always placed as a strategic priority by their executive team that they do something with that feedback.”

Image: these advertisements were not paid for Mars NZ or any related organisation (though if Mars would like to advertise on Idealog, let’s talk) 

Mars’ winning formula is the combination of a flexible working environment, continual opportunities for development through the Mars University, and personal touches like a weekly bring-your-pet-to-work day. “The employees always talk about their pet friendly policy,” he says. “Mars have honed in on something that is very important to their people and taken that element to the Nth degree.”

Abbott says that Mars includes the personal benefits of smaller workplaces with the organisational benefits of larger ones. “Small organisations, most often, have the benefit of flexibility over large organisations,” he says. “Flexibility in terms of getting the job done, flexibility in terms of what people need to do to achieve their goals, to work flexibly with each other, and flexibility from the employer.”

Larger organisations, on the other hand, can offer the benefits of scale and budget, so, according to Abbot, “tend to be better at things like providing formal and structures training and development opportunities, and going beyond training into personal development.”

And the winners are:

Best Small Workplace: Office of the Electricity and Gas Complaints Commissioner

Best Small-Medium Workplace: Hilti

Best Medium-Large Workplace: Mars New Zealand

Best Large Workplace: FMG

Best Enterprise Workplace: VTNZ

Most Improved Small Workplace: Motor Trade Association

Most Improved Small-Medium Workplace: Careers New Zealand

Most Improved Medium Workplace: New Zealand King Salmon

Most Improved Large Workplace: AA Insurance

Most Improved Enterprise Workplace: 2degrees

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Review overview