How Mars, Inc Uses the Employer Brand Index

WRITTEN BY: Jörgen Sundberg

Developing an employer value proposition (EVP) is critical for any organization looking to take charge of its reputation and improve its culture. But once you have your EVP in place and activated, how do you know if it’s working? And how do you know when it’s time for a refresh?

That’s why we at Link Humans have developed the Employer Brand Index (EBI), a comprehensive analysis of your employer brand that tells you what candidates, employees, and alumni are saying about your company online.

We recently hosted a webinar with Marie Codet, the Global Employer Reputation Manager at Mars, to find out how they used the EBI to guide an EVP refresh for a global organization, and why they use it as a key measurement for employer branding.

Refreshing an EVP on a Global Scale

Mars is the fourth-largest private company in the US, earning $45 billion USD in revenue in 2022. They employ a workforce of 140,000 in 80 countries, manufacturing confectionery, pet food, and other food products, as well as providing animal care services. Obviously, there are a lot of moving parts, and developing an EVP that encompasses everything is a tall order.

Codet and her team first developed and launched an official EVP in 2018—before COVID. Looking back on it four years later in 2022, “it felt like it was from another world,” she says. It was time for an EVP refresh, but they needed a way to understand what was working and what needed to be changed.

The Employer Brand Index

Ever since their initial work on developing an EVP, Mars has partnered with Link Humans to create an EBI that measures past, present, and future talent sentiment across 16 Index attributes:

  • Autonomy
  • Benefits and perks
  • Brand recognition
  • Career advancement
  • Culture and values
  • CSR
  • Environment
  • Flexibility
  • Job stability
  • Learning and development
  • Management
  • Mission and purpose
  • People
  • Quality of work
  • Salary
  • Work/life balance

Codet and her team also conduct internal surveys and focus groups, but those approaches both have significant drawbacks.

Using the EBI to Supplement Internal Surveys and Focus Groups

No matter how much you promise that an internal survey will be anonymous, it’s hard to get employees to be completely honest. This is especially true when, in the quest to get better data, some questions need to be targeted at specific groups of people. In contrast, the EBI measures sentiment from employer review sites, social media platforms, and online forums, to find out what people are saying when they don’t think someone is listening in.

As for focus groups, they can tell you a lot but they also require a lot of work to put together. Before you get everyone in the room, you need to be sure that you’ll be able to answer an important question that makes it worth the effort.

Codet and her team used the data they gathered from the EBI and internal surveys to conduct a gap analysis to identify where perceptions of Mars were different from what they expected. That allowed them to create targeted focus groups and, ultimately, understand what about their EVP needed to be adjusted moving forward.

How Mars, Inc Uses the EBI

“Even though the EBI was initially designed for employer reputation needs, we use it to inform so many different teams,” Codet says. Every time they get a new EBI report, they organize a call with stakeholders to dig into the results. At Mars, that includes people in DNI, Talent Acquisition, HR, and Corporate Communications.

The EBI provides a consistent metric to judge how their work is impacting opinions from those outside of the organization. “Our leaders know about the internal comms survey results and insights,” Codet says, “however, what they don’t see—and have limited knowledge about—is the perception of Mars externally.”

Establishing Your EBI Baseline

When we work with a company to benchmark an EBI, we’re trying to show a complete picture of where you stand—not only with current employees but also with past employees, and future hires— and how you stack up against the competition. We comb through what people are saying about your company by hand and only collect data that we believe comes from a single individual in each instance.

For Mars, having an external metric for how they’re doing with employer branding has proven to be invaluable. If you’re interested in developing your own EBI with Link Humans, click here to learn more.

To follow Marie Codet’s work in employer brand, connect with her on LinkedIn. For help gathering data and insights you can act on to improve your own company, get in touch.


Our newsletter is exclusively curated by our CEO, Jörgen Sundberg, for leaders who make decisions about talent. Subscribe for updates on The Employer Branding Podcast, new articles, eBooks, research and events we’re working on.


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