Today I would like to present a case study of how Mars US has implemented this commitment, and what we have begun to further globally.
Building the Foundation
Of course, our journey to creating a culture of awareness at Mars began more than 18 months ago. In February 2012, Mars began working with Prevention Partners to benchmark, enhance and sustain Associate health and wellbeing efforts in the US. Initially beginning with one worksite from each segment, today 56 sites across segments have taken Prevention Partners’ WorkHealthy America survey, reaching 10,292 Associates in 22 states.
In fact, Mars has offered its Associates best in class health and wellbeing programs including dedicated on-site wellness activities for years. The challenge, however, was low Associate participation – less than 25% of Associates were engaging in incentivized programs. It was also difficult to promote concrete goals and measures for sites across all segments. It wasn’t until the launch of our 2012 program that we began using WorkHealthy America to change this and create healthy worksites and a sustainable culture of wellness across our US sites.
With exemplary health and wellbeing programs in place, including a team of dedicated Mars’ nurses and wellness advisors from Health Fitness Corporation, guidance from Prevention Partners on creating healthy worksites, and readily available metrics, Mars was able to generate, measure and share its impressive Associate health outcomes.
Seeing the Results
As we created a sustainable culture of health and wellbeing at our sites, the financial and health-related outcomes for our Associates followed:
  • Mars’ medical benefit trend rate has been below the industry average for the past three years;
  • Blood pressure medication compliancy rates rose over 20%;
  • Awareness of blood pressure increased by over 38%;
  • Over 2% of Mars’ Associate population who smoked, quit;
  • The mean duration of absences at Mars is 31 days, compared with a national U.S. average of 60; and
  • Participation in their incentive program has increased by more than 40%.
Increasing the Engagement
We still work to drive further engagement though. It’s not 100% by any means, but we are having success here too. The way we communicate these outcomes is key to fostering engagement in these health and wellbeing programs. By using a one-page scorecard that summarizes results overall and for each segment, sharing outcomes with leadership across segments is easy. Presenting the data in this way fosters a dialogue with Mars’ leaders that drives interest in health and wellbeing, and guides future plans for programming. You lead with your data, and then the rest of the story unfolds based on the conversation. From that dialogue we learn what our leaders are concerned about in their segments, what they are driving, and what’s important to them. Making it relevant to them is key.
Developing Next Steps
So, what’s next in health and wellness efforts at Mars? Our scorecard matures year after year in the US, and allows us to promote leadership engagement while tracking our Associates’ health and participation. Based on the scorecard, and data from our partners, we are piloting a musculoskeletal health program in order to reduce Associate absenteeism. We are always striving to provide Associates with the highest quality programs, and our partnerships with companies like Aetna have led us to expand our current success in addressing hypertension to a focus on metabolic syndrome. As we couple our best-in-class health and wellness program with a focus on creating healthy workplaces, the benefits build over time. Additionally, we have worked with Prevention Partners to build an evidenced-based global healthy worksite survey, and have begun a similar process to deploy this globally.  We anticipate that through leadership support our sites will build healthier work environments year-by-year as Mars continues to deliver on its CFG commitments globally.
I am proud of what we’ve achieved to-date, but, as a company, we know there is more to be done. We will continue to work with our peers through organizations like the CGF to share best-practices on how best to work on the health and wellness challenges facing our industry. 2016 is a big year for employee health and wellness, and I trust that those who have not yet met this 2016 commitment will be working hard to do so in the coming months.

This post was contributed by:
Gena Tallarico, Mars Global Services
Senior Manager, US Health and Wellbeing 
Mars, Incorporated