October 09, 2019

Mars, Inc. Highlights Work of Global Ombuds Team

Publicity for Ombuds in the private sector is often relegated to internal publications or firewalled websites available only to insiders. So it's noteworthy when a corporation touts the work of its Ombuds program. This week, Mars, Inc., the global foods conglomerate promoted the work of its Ombudsman Program on a public news site. The article highlighted five attributes of the Ombuds:

1.    First, it’s the opposite of a formal affair. Associates can provide feedback on issues of concern or frustration without being “on the record.” This means that unlike taking a problem to a setting where a formal investigation could be launched, when an Associate brings an issue to the Mars Ombudsman program, it’s an informal exchange of ideas, gathering of information and determining potential resolutions. It’s 100% confidential. But just because it’s informal doesn’t mean they’re casual about privacy—in fact, the team goes the extra mile to ensure everything is 100% confidential. And, as members of the International Ombudsman Association, they adhere to their strict Ethical Principles of Confidentiality, Independence, Neutrality, and Informality.
2.    The team is fluent (and global)! It doesn’t matter where you’re located or what language you speak—there are no language or location barriers when it comes to the Mars Ombudsman program. Members of the team are located around the globe, and cover around 80 to 90% of the languages spoken by our Associates —but a translator is always available if needed. 
3.    You can text, Skype and more. The Mars Ombudsman team understands the importance of convenience and preferred communication routes. Some people love email, sometimes a face-to-face feels right, and sometimes only an envelope and stamp will do. This program makes it easy to connect in many different ways – even via common social media channels like What’s App, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
4.    It’s a way for Associates to spearhead change anonymously. Case in point:  Associates anonymously raised concern of inconvenient office conditions in one location that began to impact their work.  With the Ombudsman team’s facilitation, a new project was developed and submitted for approval to move the office and improve amenities. 
Another example: After the date was set for a Mars global meeting, our Ombudsman was informed by several sources that the meeting was scheduled the same day as a significant holiday. The Associates who reached out hoped more consideration would be given next time, but didn’t want to go on the record. Our Ombudsman team was grateful for being made aware of the situation, quickly stepped in, and was able to have the date of the meeting changed. Problem solved!
5.    It’s not just for “the sky is falling” situations. It’s a common misperception that Ombudsman programs are for significant problems only—but the Mars Ombudsman program helps with any workplace matter, large or small. Our professionals are here to help with an array of circumstances where our Associates need to feel prepared, whether it’s getting ready for a performance review or gathering information to present a new idea to a manager. 

The Mars Ombudsman program includes Debby Hyde (Corporate Ombudsman), Ish Baki, Isabel Calderon, CO-OP, Lorraine Medal, CO-OP, Gabor Kocsenda, Willem Kweens, CO-OP, Jutta Reitmeier, and Sam Zhou(Mars News.)

Updated 10/10/19: Members of the Ombuds office correctly identified.

Related posts: Former Ombuds Tells Why Mars is a 'Great Place to Work'; FCPA Blog: Ombuds Enhance Global Compliance; Mars Inc. Adds an Ombuds; Mars Inc. Hires Ombuds in Arizona.

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