While Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory might only be the stuff of fiction, the next best thing might be right under our noses in Ballarat.
That’s the way it seems according to the Best Places to Work, a benchmark study that showcases the 50 best places to work across three categories right around Australia.
In the 10th annual study, Mars Australia has come out on top nationwide in the category for organisations that employ over 1000 staff.
It’s not just their chocolate that has ensured Mars receive this accolade. For Mars Ballarat, creating a good workplace means working smarter and thinking of the future.
“It’s about the way we work. We make the most of our resources. We work smarter not harder,” Mars Ballarat CEO Andrew Loader said.
While the $52 million upgrade to the Ballarat Mars plant and equipment is still underway, he said they’re already planning ahead.
“We’re still working through a timeline and looking at the next level of investment. Business has been growing well and we need to increase the capacity of some of our lines.”
A family company, Mr Loader attributed the reason behind people wanting to stay in the organisation for so long as the flexibility they offer and the opportunity for employees to do many different things in their Mars career.
While 25 new employees have been added to the company within the last 12 months, Mr Loader has worked with the organisation for the last 17 years, taking on a range of roles within that time.
He said most of the staff have been with the company for more than 10 years and quite a few for 20.
With over 2000 employees across the country, health and well being programs are available to all of them including medical check ups and support for physical and mental health.
“We invest in Run Ballarat to encourage people to be more active,” Mr Loader said.
Mars runs community programs across the country and Mr Loader said one of the initiatives specific to Ballarat has involved reading with local kids and school programs.
“Our message would be that we are continuing to support the local community and invest in Ballarat,” Mr Loader said.