General Mills Reviews

Updated March 31, 2015
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General Mills Chairman and CEO Ken Powell
Ken Powell
513 Ratings

69 Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful

    Finance Leadership Development Program

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Finance in Minneapolis, MN
    Current Employee - Finance in Minneapolis, MN

    I have been working at General Mills full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    - People. Unquestionably a significant number of smart, thoughtful, and driven people
    - Comp and ben is some of the best in town
    - Corporate amenities (day care for the kiddos, gym, dry cleaner, company store, etc) are really nice to have
    - Can get a highly diverse set of experiences

    Cons

    - Overall reported results continue to be poor, morale still feels low following the well publicized layoffs, and the new structure is experiencing growing pains
    - The 're-wire' of certain functions and roles seems a bit ill conceived and in many cases is actually causing the org to be less efficient and effective (not to mention making the work less robust and interesting which is a drag on morale)
    - Career progression can be extremely slow within finance
    - Despite attempts to improve, it is still a VERY difficult environment for external hires to break into and move up in the organization

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You have an amazing pool of talented employees committed to making GMI the best it can be - take full advantage of it!!!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 25 people found this helpful

    Proceed with caution

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Minneapolis, MN
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Minneapolis, MN

    I worked at General Mills

    Pros

    If you fit the right profile, GMI will initially be the right place for you. New hires will find a very good benefit plan (though that is being chipped away at) and for those that work at the Minneapolis campus, there are several internal perks (cafeteria, coffee shop, fitness center, etc.). Consider also that the quality of your peers is generally very good – lots of opportunity for newer and younger employees. If you hold the right degree from a prominent Higher Ed institution (and if you learn quickly how to navigate the maze of internal politics) your path will be paved for you, so “good luck”. And finally, on the surface at least, the company also makes admirable efforts to promote racial, ethnic, and sexual diversity.

    Cons

    Here is where it gets complicated, however. GMI’s corporate culture is hindered by a fundamental dishonesty that permeates the through all upper management levels of the corporation (director and above). Harsh, certainly, but a statement evidenced by empty rhetoric, meaningless platitudes and easily compromised values statements.

    GMI can easily be categorized as a stiff and immobile company that struggles with true diversity. An apparent contradiction to the kudos above, where GMI falls shorts is diversity of thought, diversity of scope of vision, diversity of opinion and other “below the radar” attributes. GMI is a consensus driven company that that is slow to deep dive into the world of true innovation. This has become an increasing concern – much like the grad student who delays thesis defense because of a fear there may be one slight gap in his/her research, GMI has allowed itself to become a company where innovation and honesty become casualties of a self-imposed functional paralysis. Rather than move decisively and boldly, projects get delayed or watered down by commissioning another study, holding another series of meetings or just simply finding (or inventing) a reason to kick decision making further down the line. I am not sure this is easier, per se, but it does provide a temporary cover while a rationale is constructed to validate decisions, right or wrong.

    Finally, individual success is dependent on one’s ability to adapt to a “good ol’ boys” style of personnel networking, augmented by a byzantine performance appraisal system where preferred candidates for advancement often receive several promotions in a short period of time while many others may see promotions delayed or non-existent. For much of the GMI decision makers, experience and competence are less valued than the promise of some great future reward and one’s ability to manage up.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1. Embrace true diversity, not just diversity that is easily quantifiable (see above). Seek out true innovators (you still have some on staff, though that number is declining), and reward/acknowledge them accordingly.

    2. Be honest with yourselves and understand who you are. GMI is a large, monolithic corporate entity and no amount of re-imaging can change that. While not a Nestle or Cargill in overall size, GMI is far from being a “small company”.

    3. Here’s one for the executives and VP level officers. When times get tough, stand up and be accountable. Recent actions and behaviors have done little to inspire confidence in company leadership; most people understand that the issues the business faces is not due solely to the presence of misaligned mid-level managers and too many older employees. When tough times occur, embrace and demonstrate the innovation you place so much emphasis on. For a business that touts innovative problem solving, the responses generated during these self-manufactured “trying times” – (consulting groups! plant closings!! mid and low level employee layoffs!!! new and improved org charts!?) – are remarkably ordinary.

    4. Broaden your vision. The last 2 ½ years have seen some very talented people (especially in ITQ) pushed out the door, many for no apparent reason other than they don’t fit neatly into pre-conceived notions of what constitutes a professional.

    General Mills was once was a great place to work; there was much to set it apart from other similar businesses. Previous posts here have addressed the company as either “horrible” or as “wonderful”; it may be fair to assume each perspective likely reflects the degree the writer was impacted by recent layoffs. The truth is that neither is completely accurate – there are plenty of beads, baubles and perks (especially in Minneapolis) to impress even the most worldly newcomer; as well, there are enough veiled flaws and petty annoyances to keep the frustration level always at level 7 (out of 10). In the end though, General Mills is what it is - a large, lumbering leviathan, struggling to maintain relevance in a changing world, striving mightily to delay its own evolutionary extinction.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 11 people found this helpful

    Not the company it used to be...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at General Mills full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    The employees! My co-workers keep me coming to work everyday. Very family atmosphere.

    Cons

    In that family atmosphere, it's hard to see people let go. Currently, there is huge turmoil and not a lot of happy employees. The jury is still out as to if the ship can turn around after the layoffs and "re-wire" to be nimble and act quickly to produce positive results. Haven't seen it yet. There seems to be more confusion as to who's doing what. Poor communication.

    Very hierarchical and slow decision speed (although that's supposed be changing - stay tuned).

    Very political. In order to advance, be prepared to set up coffee chats in order for upper management to get to know and remember you. People advance based on brown nosing vs. letting results speak for themselves. If you have diversity in your favor, your opportunity to advance is better too.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give employees a reason to be loyal. Benefits, such as stock options, keep getting taken away and co-workers are leaving for other companies that pay more. In addition, with all the layoffs, the opportunity to climb the corporate ladder and get to the next level takes a long time. The younger generation won't stick around when they can get paid more elsewhere. I remember when people used to "bleed blue" and that loyalty no longer exists. Give employees a reason to stay. Bringing back stock options would be a good start.

    Re-wiring is a new way of thinking that should be taught to others. There are so many long term employees used to doing processes a certain way. Unless taught how to do things differently, they will revert back to the old way of doing things which equates to more work with less people. It's nice to tout phrases, but unless you teach people, it's empty words.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful

    Only accept a job at HQ. AVOID the remote sites.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Covington, GA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Covington, GA

    I worked at General Mills full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Very professional team at HQ with great support from the home office.
    Wonderful people at HQ. Lots of employee give-a-ways. Cereal for life.
    Some departments are great to work for like QA and Engineering.
    1/2 days on Fridays at HQ during summer months to make up for awful winters.

    Cons

    Local site management in manufacturing plants are the demise of the company.
    Many little fiefdoms with LOTS of office politics.
    Lazy people at the bottom, stupid people at the top, good hard working folks in the middle.
    Soap opera drama everyday. "Outsiders" treated very poorly.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fire all "Senior Leadership" in manufacturing plants, especially the PMs and FOMs.
    Do a DEEP DIVE AUDIT of the sites.
    Hire outside talent.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful

    CAUTION

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Maintenance Technician in New Albany, IN
    Current Employee - Maintenance Technician in New Albany, IN

    I have been working at General Mills

    Pros

    Good insurance benefits and wages

    Cons

    General Mills likes to shut down union plants

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Use the knowledge of actual workers on the floor and not just engineers sitting behind a desk

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful

    Culture shock

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Paralegal in Minneapolis, MN
    Former Employee - Paralegal in Minneapolis, MN

    I worked at General Mills

    Pros

    Good pay and benefits. Corp campus is very nice.

    Cons

    Very hierarchical in reporting, need lots of approvals to move things forward. Lots of politics.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Look out for your employees, some mistakes are OK even good sometimes.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful

    Not a great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Mixing Technician in Lodi, CA
    Current Employee - Mixing Technician in Lodi, CA

    I have been working at General Mills full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Pay is decent, employees are great and work together

    Cons

    Don't know if you're working that weekend until that Fri at 3pm and don't even know your next weeks schedule until then as well. Mgmnt needs to brush on peoples skills dramatically, weak bakers union, policies change on a whim to suit mgmnt needs.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 7 people found this helpful

    Overrated

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Minneapolis, MN
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Minneapolis, MN

    I worked at General Mills full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Smart and dynamic co-workers, beautiful site and buildings, on-site amenities such as Caribou Coffee and employee gym.

    Cons

    - Management at both upper and middle levels often comes across as arrogant, especially in Finance and IT.

    - Employees -- especially long-term -- are treated like numbers on a spreadsheet: if they become too "expensive" they're simply replaced with shiny, new, younger and lower-paid college graduates. This seems to happen even to long-time employees who consistently get good performance reviews.

    - A seemingly company-wide reluctance for people to own processes makes finding solutions to some problems very inefficient and circuitous, sometimes resulting in dead-ends.

    - There's far too much rigidity and regimentation throughout, so getting things done can be painfully slow.

    - "Minnesota Nice" culture gets old.

    - Career advancement is difficult, overly cumbersome, and sometimes mysterious. It doesn't need to be this hard.

    - Very, very political corporate culture.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Your employees -- especially those who've stuck around a long time -- are valuable assets. Treat them as such. Spend time and energy developing those who demonstrate good work ethic and devotion. If you treat employees with a high degree of respect, they will reward you with great performance...maybe even cutting-edge ideas that will get the company out of the slump it currently finds itself in. Otherwise, you will likely conduct another mass layoff in a couple years -- again -- after discovering that this recent round of layoffs didn't magically make things better.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 8 people found this helpful

    Not what it used to be

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at General Mills full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Some smart co-workers - mainly ones that have come from other companies
    Nice campus - cafeteria, Caribou, credit union

    Cons

    Work life balance - bad and getting worse
    Layoffs - massive layoffs every other year, seemingly no logic to who stays/goes
    Actions don't match words - talk about valuing employees, but intentionally use temp workers at plants to keep costs down/pay no benefits; talk about improving "decision speed" but spend 4 months laying people off

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Acknowledge that industry trends are less favorable. Stop investing so much (people, money) into dying categories like cereal. Just maintain, don't focus on these categories. Reacting to industry trends shouldn't take years (i.e. just now lowering sugar content in Yoplait and replacing aspertame - other companies did this years ago. This isn't innovation, it's catching up to the market).

    Make changes to upper management. They steered the company into trouble and have no coherent plan to get it back on track. Saying that "Cereal has been around for decades" and "people predicted cereal was dying 20 years ago" doesn't make you sound smart. It makes you sound out of touch with reality.

    Address work-life balance issues. Workers should not be called/emailed/texted during every vacation day. Stop with the focus on pretty Powerpoint slides and focus on ideas instead. Don't threaten employees by saying "I'll just replace you with a new college grad". Summer hours on Fridays are not always respected, so many workers just end up working from home not with the afternoon off.

    Stop scheduling multiple pre-meetings with everyone to align on the same approach/message. By doing so, you will free up time for real work and might actually hear a new idea instead of 10 people saying the exact same thing.

    Listen to your employees. You state that you want to hire experienced people to bring new ideas, but then refuse to listen to any of them.

    Plan your layoffs. Going into layoffs stating that "we need to rewire how we work and be more efficient" isn't realistic if there are no plans to actually change how work is done. There is just the same amount of work with less people around. I.e. laying off most of the paralegals isn't the way to be more efficient. The corporate lawyers are just asking non-legal professionals (marketing, sales, sourcing) to absorb the paralegal work. This is more inefficient than keeping the paralegals on the payroll - having non-expert workers review contracts takes longer, causes more issues to be missed, and creates an even longer waits for GMI's lawyers to get work done.

    Benefits are getting worse. Pay is not keeping up with the Twin Cities market. Health insurance is getting much more expensive (surcharges for partners/spouses on GMI health insurance). Bonuses aren't what they used to be. As part of "SSM program", many other perks are being taken away (i.e. tickets, employee recognition, travel perks) with more cuts to come. Don't waste millions of dollars on Accenture consultants to find savings that were either already achieved (and counted in financial statements) or have no baseline spend.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  11. 7 people found this helpful

    Not looking good..........

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Director
    Current Employee - Director

    I have been working at General Mills full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Still some great people, very smart, overall like my coworkers. Campus is nice and compensation is ok.

    Cons

    No courage at the top. Slow, conservative and keep missing the ball on trends. Still market like it is 1970.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    BETTER "ACT BOLDLY AND MOVE QUICKLY" BEFORE 3 G COMES KNOCKING.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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