General Mills Reviews

Updated September 2, 2015
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General Mills Chairman and CEO Ken Powell
Ken Powell
49 Ratings

Pros
  • work life balance is not frown upon (in 118 reviews)

  • Great benefits and onsite amenities (in 43 reviews)

Cons
  • Work life balance tilting towards work (in 53 reviews)

  • Overly complex and slow organizational structure makes decision making very difficult (in 17 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

86 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    Good place for extroverts who like meetings and who value form over substance

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at General Mills full-time

    Pros

    1. Nice-if-pretentious "campus", with lots of anemities (childcare center, Caribou Coffee, workout center, etc.) 2. Convenient location right at the juncture of two freeways 3. Career development; managers make concerted effort to match people with desired work

    Cons

    1. Too many meetings: People hide in the organization through meetings, use meetings to do work "collectively" so that they don't have to actually do their jobs. Most employees literally have their entire weeks 100% booked with meetings, back-to-back-to-back. Difficult for a "I'm here to get work done" introvert to even function. 2. Bureaucratic: even small tasks involve getting "buy in" from people via dozens of meetings. No one wants to hold individuals accountable, or be held accountable, which is how the culture evolved into "I'll spread the decision making risk around". 3. Lifers and the old boy's club: Too much emphasis on who you know, not on the work you do. Lifers think the "General Mills way" is the best way, even when it demonstrably isn't 4. Political: 40% of what you do at the company is actual work. The other 60% is navigating the morass of General Mills culture and politics, keeping up with org chart changes, etc. Doing crap work but volunteering for the United Way campaign more likely to get you promoted than the other way around. 5. Form over substance: Company has this ritzy campus and propaganda plastered all over the walls (things like "we care about our employees!"), along with politically pushy "LGBT" banners at the employee entrance and bragging about their "climate change initiatives." Yet actual projects are total messes in execution! One guy I worked with said "we make money in spite of ourselves", and that sums it up.

    Advice to Management

    Advise employees to decline all meetings that don't have agendas. Trust people to do their jobs, hold them individually accountable when they don't. Look outside the company for best practices-- General Mills is not as unique or "special" as you think. Realize that "experienced hires" often know ways of doing things that are better than the entrenched "General Mills ways."


  2. Great Learning Opportunities

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Manager in Minneapolis, MN
    Former Employee - Assistant Manager in Minneapolis, MN
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at General Mills full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Many areas are structured to allow, and encourage, job rotations. Cross functional moves are also frequent providing the opportunity to grow professionally . This also provides the opportunity to learn many different businesses and work with many different people.

    Cons

    Company has been challenged to keep up with the rapidly changing consumer food preferences. Difficult to move quickly given the size of the company.

    Advice to Management

    Value experienced employees


  3. Helpful (2)

    Dead end!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Material Handler in Belvidere, IL
    Current Employee - Material Handler in Belvidere, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at General Mills full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits! Peers are great people to work with. I guess I have to have 20 words but there is nothing else good to say!

    Cons

    Lack of quality management! Constant idea theft even up to plant manager. If you don't have a degree you are considered sub par to the college kids and sycophants. Lack of advancement opportunities. Lack of comparable compensation for increased work load.

    Advice to Management

    Just because you have a degree does not mean you are smarter then everyone else. It means you were able to get proper financing to read a book.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    Do what your manager tells you- some micro managers

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Minneapolis, MN
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Minneapolis, MN
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Very corporate like, innovative teams, great strategic plans

    Cons

    Just go with the company's work style and do not to suggest any ideas of your own. Managers may not like that. At least that was my experience with the micro manager I had.

    Advice to Management

    Manager should not be the sole decision maker of the performance. Managers should be screened before they assign interns to them. Great company but bad managers make the company's reputation go bad!


  6. Helpful (2)

    We are not making the food people love...

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing Associate in Minneapolis, MN
    Current Employee - Marketing Associate in Minneapolis, MN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great cross functional team Looks good on resume Lots of internal PR which means free food Not owned by 3G

    Cons

    Rotations slow up progress No budget to try new growth ideas AMMs treat MAs like their assistants not peers Too much focus on MBAs not proven internal candidates Low pay

    Advice to Management

    Promote this position and not only after years and years of work Try out new ideas with risky ROIs Ideas are going to save this company not impressive MBA schools


  7. Helpful (5)

    Manager

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Minneapolis, MN
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Minneapolis, MN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Opportunity to work on big, iconic brands. Almost everyone that works here is very smart. You are surrounded by amazing people. Nice HQ benefits (auto service center, workout facility, health facility, bank, etc)

    Cons

    Leadership is blind to what is holding the organization back from real change. It's a popularity contest for career progression--the people you know and the game you play seem to be more important than the work you put out. Culture is riddled with 'demand for transparency' without any actual transparency. Candor is viewed as 'whining' or bad attitude.

    Advice to Management

    Quit trying to save brands that once were popular, but no one cares about anymore. Get over the ego's of yesteryear that only Ivy League MBA graduates can grow a business and market in today's modern world.


  8. Helpful (3)

    Challenging envorinment

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Minneapolis, MN
    Current Employee - Manager in Minneapolis, MN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Solid benefits package, work flex, smart people, get solid experience managing a business

    Cons

    GMI has lost its soul through recent restructuring and layoffs. While the need for change has been declared, leadership doesn't walk the talk, managing their careers v. managing their business and teams.

    Advice to Management

    Find and hire leaders that inspire trust and action.


  9. Helpful (13)

    Fading Fast

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Minneapolis, MN
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Minneapolis, MN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at General Mills full-time

    Pros

    I joined General Mills knowing full well I would not be making as much as I could be at another company. I chose to join the company regardless because of the excellent benefits and unlimited growth potential. I am sorry to say neither applies anymore and employees have taken note- turnover seems to be skyrocketing.

    Cons

    The company keeps chipping away at everything it can to cut costs and make shareholders happy. Unfortunately, this has left the majority of employees unhappy and many of the best are leaving. The most innovative and talented employees are left stuck in their little box of "safe" job responsibilities because General Mills is too scared to do anything new. This leaves the best employees bored, and makes great talent and the people who could truly bring a new life to the company walk out the door. Also, the pay is terrible and benefits are reduced more and more every season. Many of these changes are "hush-hush" so as to not rile employees. Employees used to justify the low pay by saying what great benefits they got, but we're all starting to scratch our heads now. The low pay can be easily noted by seeing how many employees actually have part-time jobs or ventures outside of General Mills.

    Advice to Management

    WAKE UP! An extra summer picnic and social hour isn't going to make employees happy. Promote from within, reward and embrace your true (existing) talent. Pay people what they deserve. Stop taking away our benefits.


  10. Helpful (5)

    Tired of the politics

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at General Mills full-time

    Pros

    As a company and what they do and stand for, they are great

    Cons

    Being a superstar at your job will not get your promoted or recognized. That is not right.....


  11. Helpful (11)

    The Times They Are a-Changin' ---General Mills is not

    Former Employee - Sales
    Former Employee - Sales
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    There is no denying that General Mills hires people that are, in general, great to work with. They tend to be incredibly smart, friendly, helpful and fun to be around. You can learn a lot from the very smart people working there. Traditionally their benefits have been solid, and even with the cut backs on benefits, they are still pretty good (who knows how far these will eventually be cut back though). If you are looking for a decent work life balance, this is probably a good company for you. It can be dependent on role/team, but in general, the expectation is not to work nights/weekends (this too seems to be changing a bit). General Mills also feels like a great company for expecting moms, and parents with young children. The training they provide can be hit or miss, but in general, you learn a lot about the industry and operating in a large CPG company.

    Cons

    - I don’t think the GMI leadership has embraced the change that is happening in the industry and the job force. It feels like their mistakes to adjust to the lower consumer demand for once popular brands have been compounded by more mistakes being made to patch up the bottom line problem. Innovation in how they think about their businesses, capabilities and processes just doesn’t seem to happen (even though they say it is). They seem to fail to notice or understand that consumers and customers are changing quickly, and instead of dedicating resources to adapt to or, heaven forbid, get ahead of the curve of those changes, they seem more concerned with the bottom line. - When I first started at GMI, it was a given that pay won’t be as high as other CPG firms (not to mention having to endure harsh Minnesota winters), but the culture, stability and people would make it worth sticking around. Decisions made by upper level management that have been misguided, executed poorly, or simply out of touch with the reality of the situation internally and externally have severely impacted the culture, stability and people. Change is happening in the industry, and how CPG companies adapt to those changes is going to determine where they land in the future. Which brings me back to my first point: How does a company attract and retain high value millennial talent by underpaying employees, reducing benefits, implementing massive layoffs, not effectively adapting to a changing industry, and not embracing innovative thinking? Maybe that mindset of “If they want to leave, good, then they weren’t loyal and we don’t want them” could have worked in the past when business was good, the culture was positive and industry change wasn’t what it is today, but now it just sounds like hubris. I have a lot of friends at GMI, and I honestly want the company to do well, but if General Mills lets great talent walk out the door at the rate they are, the much needed innovation of thought and process is likely going with them. At that point, you have to ask yourself if your next generation of managers are going to do any better than the current.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in your employees. Not investing in your employees during this time of change is like shooting yourself in the foot while trying to win a race you are already losing. Embrace the changing consumer and retailer: in many cases, markets are becoming more segmented and retailers are increasingly focusing on making vital retail decisions based on smaller customer segment group insights. Invest in the teams that can help GMI adapt to those changes. Stop thinking of innovation only as innovation of products (which is also important), but also innovation of how you think about internal and external challenges. Eliminating processes, cutting costs, and acquisitions won’t change the antiquated way GMI approaches business problems. Invest in your employees.



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