W.W. Grainger

  www.grainger.com
  www.grainger.com

W.W. Grainger Reviews

Updated 18 December 2014
Updated 18 December 2014
592 Reviews
3.5
592 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
W.W. Grainger Chairman, President, and CEO Jim Ryan
Jim Ryan
385 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The profit sharing is very generous and it is a good reason to stay with the company (in 134 reviews)

  • Company strives for work/life balance and provides opportunities for growth (in 33 reviews)


Cons
  • The company projects a strong work/life balance, but in reality this is hardly the case (in 21 reviews)

  • The flat out lies people tell you especially upper management is so bad people do not believe anything (in 20 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    If it weren't for the sales experience I learned, I would say terrible place to work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous in Chicago, IL (US)
    Former Employee - Anonymous in Chicago, IL (US)

    I worked at W.W. Grainger full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    -Well known company
    -Great sales training program
    -Lots of opportunities to grow in the company

    Cons

    -Terrible management
    -Everyone acts like they're still in high school; gossiping and constantly involved with drama
    -All about politics; certain people/managers single out those to not like making it near impossible to grow within the company, let alone focus on your job. Those they chose to like will be able to grow within the company. The reasoning for it: unknown.
    -The pay is awful

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management really needs to step up and take charge. The reason there's such a huge turnover is because of the treatment of your employees, as well as the lack of help by those were supposed to look up to for guidance. There are certain managers who do take charge, however, they've let it go to their heads because they act like they own the place and put other people down, making them feel worthless and belittle them. That's not the way to run a team let alone an entire floor. That's a good way to have everyone resent you which is what is happening right now. There are two great managers out of four. That's not so good and there's also a ton of people leaving. That's not so great either. Structure is needed, guidance is needed, positive reinforcement is needed and someone who takes charge without micro managing your every move is needed. Then maybe your floor wouldn't be in as bad of shape as it is.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Grainger Pros and Cons

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Territory Sales Representative in Berkeley, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Territory Sales Representative in Berkeley, CA (US)

    I have been working at W.W. Grainger full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Great team environment.
    Personal Growth.
    Time-off policies.
    Benefits.
    Management.

    Cons

    Compensation.
    Inconsistent Direction by Management..
    Monthly goals.
    Work-life balance.
    Inconsistent Promoting.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Raise salaries for new sellers.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 7 people found this helpful  

    Account Manager

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Account Manager
    Former Employee - Account Manager

    I worked at W.W. Grainger full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Profit sharing was great until it started being funded at the expense of sales commissions. Lots of smoke and mirrors to report a 20% PST... The real question becomes.,., 20% of what? It's mediocre if you're sales comp is off. Shameful.

    Cons

    Complete evaporation of the empowered culture that used to breed success and fulfillment. Grainger has become the worst version of 'Office Space'... Great sellers are not valued nor utilized. You spend half of your time proving what you are doing the other half of the time. If you are mindless and can follow a cookie cutter one size fits all mentality then you will fit right in with the new mediocre culture. Front line managers are terribly inept, middle management is hit or miss, and senior leadership is very disconnected. Customers can go to zorotools.com(a Grainger company) and buy the same items for half price? Enjoy that conversation as a seller. It's just in a downward spiral. Once you leave, the weight is lifted and you will feel free. I waited months to post this so it was not knee jerk.... If you value fulfillment, run from this company for now. It will take new or enlightened leadership to right this ship.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I will address Jim and PK directly. You have allowed the over automation of the sales process. Productivity for productivity's sake does not fulfillment make. Instead of trying to make each seller 'well rounded', encourage diversity and specialization. Well rounded= Mediocre. Let process sellers grind and be the middle. Let relationship/creative sellers work the relationships and own the top. And finally, let big game hunters big game hunt and weed themselves out..... If you embrace the diversity, the culture will flourish, the teams will be fulfilled and employees will run through brick walls for you with smiles on their faces. And pay your sellers better, if you have steep goals....make steep pay! I had 3 years of increasing over performance and each year I made les and less. How completely unAmerican! This has been a great American company with a great American spirit.... the spirit is waning. Unfortunately, it's too late for many of us. You broke your culture and comp contract and we left. The mediocre culture has made the competition so much more attractive to work with. As we used to say, it's time to change the game!

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

    Believing Your Own Press

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - District Sales Manager
    Former Employee - District Sales Manager

    I worked at W.W. Grainger full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Amazing product offering - 1.1M+ SKUs
    No two days are the same
    You'll learn a ton about many different kinds of businesses and business challenges
    Operations is OUTSTANDING
    Good Branch managers and staff - they get things done
    Excellent benefits and bonuses in management
    Quarterly review tools are outstanding

    Cons

    Bubble Contained Thinking
    No CRM tool to speak of
    Goal setting process rewards mediocrity and punish poor performance
    Firing / poor treatment of long term employees that leadership decides they don't like or "are too nice" (their words, not mine - speaking of a colleague with 20+ years at the company)
    Work Experience gets better the further you are from the corporate office
    Sales culture is punitive
    Sacrifice huge opportunities for growth to (strictly!) maintain profit margin
    Field sales are not empowered to make decisions
    Manufacturing / Non-manufacturing vertical strategy poorly conceived and executed, and the people who worked hardest on it were not listened to, then blamed when the program started slower than expected
    In 3+ years, my VP and his "upline" never spent a day in the field with my team, but had very definite (and completely inaccurate) ideas about them

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Actually listen to your salespeople and act on their feedback - don't just tell yourselves you are doing that
    Come up with a new comp plan that rewards your best people and makes it impossible for mediocrity to thrive
    Put more pricing decisions in the hands of field salespeople in order to win new categories of business
    Set realistic goals for inventory management - not EVERY customer is a fit for the program

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Unfortunate Change In Culture; Losing Great People Every Day..:...:Turn it Around!

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

    I worked at W.W. Grainger (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Extensive Training; Profit Sharing; Benefits; Still Many Great People; Infrastructure Strong; Broad Offering

    Cons

    Leadership......many leaders no longer have the skillset needed to lead teams or business units within the company. Over the past three-four years, the company has hired many external candidates who have then brought their "friends" with them, whom which many do not possess the credentials nor ability to do the job for which they were hired. Compensation plans do not reward the true performance of an individual, but rather your popularity (image) and networking ability.....negative/easier-to-achieve goals, etc. The environment has become so politically-charged, that the core of what Grainger was founded upon, and the great company it once was, has greatly been compromised. Specifically, over the past 18 months, high turnover and decline in profitable business has been present due to these significant business issues.......a very unfortunate situation for all longtime employees who have observed the cultural change, or the many who have exited for other opportunities.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Enough is enough.....change is great!......but, make the right changes. Get back to the basics.....simplify. Great people equals success......repurpose the leaders that do not have the experience and skillset, simplify the processes, compensate and reward true performance, and turn this around! Once you do that, work/life balance no longer matters. Grainger is worth it and so are the people!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 4 people found this helpful  

    Shame on you Grainger

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

    I worked at W.W. Grainger full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Awesome benefits and compensation. Great product and fantastic distribution capabilities. Service solutions are bar none the best in the industry.

    Cons

    Grainger used to be "the place to work". Based on what I've heard, they are on a huge minority hiring spree internally and externally. Candidates are selected based on race and leadership is being stacked with minority leaders? Promotions and hires are no longer based on the quality of the applicant vs. some sort of racial quota? I'm curious to know if the EEOC or labor groups or a recent lawsuit have driven this action? It's a shame that this is the new Grainger. The leadership should be ashamed of itself and stop the nonsense!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop promoting and hiring based on race!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Very solid well respected company

    Current Employee - Account Manager in Atlanta, GA (US)
    Current Employee - Account Manager in Atlanta, GA (US)

    I have been working at W.W. Grainger (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    This is a very large and historically well performing company with lots of industry respect. Great profit sharing plan and plenty of upward mobility provided you are relocatable or live in a major market.

    Cons

    Very inconsistent income for AM's. Very tough to make sales plan year after year. Only forty some odd percent of sellers make plan each year. In 2014 it's much lower than that. Terrible comp plan metrics and you get a new goal every six months. You'll make far less money with the revenue you bring in at Grainger than on the same revenue brought in at a regional, local, or vertical type distributor. Your only paid off of growth and not on GP. Big push to promote and hire minority's. If your an AA female you'll be retained and move up quickly.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Ditch the current sales credit vs revenue comp plan. Change the model to allow 65-70% of sellers to be at or over plan annually. Pay AM's with larger revenue territories higher base salaries.

  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Temping at Grainger

    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Customer Information Specialist in Chicago, IL (US)
    Former Employee - Customer Information Specialist in Chicago, IL (US)

    I worked at W.W. Grainger as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    I have Temped a few times with this company. Once on a 3 month assignment at the Lake Forest HQ campus, and 2x at a small office that handled various functions, in a Near North suburb of Chicago. At both locations, cafeteria service was available. The Lake Forest location is huge and bustling. Everything is still new and shiny. I have always worked with very conscientious bosses. I worked with and for dedicated, loyal people who treated us temp staffers like their own employees. In all three of my assignments, the project lasted 3x as long as I was originally told, which is a good thing, stability wise. I became friends with a couple people in the department next to ours, and they, and my own supervisor encouraged me to apply for full-time positions within Grainger and use them as a reference.

    Cons

    Salaries for temp workers are low for the workload expected and degree of computer skills needed and software & processes needed to assimilate very quickly. I made $11.50/hr on a competitor pricing project in 2007, and five years later, only made $13.50 for two stints working on customer database clean-up that required learning four of their proprietary software databases/systems. During my 2012-2013 assignments [a 9 month one and a 3 month one in 13 months], the facility I was at was laying off, relocating and offering early retirement to probably 25% of full time permanent staff at that location [none in the department I was in]. In the case of relocation offers, most couldn't accept, because the relocations were out-of-state, and people can't just disrupt their families because one earner is offered a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum. A good portion of one department next to ours had seen big layoffs just prior to my assignment, and during the assignment another large chunk of staff was let go, because they opened a duplicate department in Costa Rica. I must have applied for 20 or more positions in my 13 months with Grainger, and the subsequent 6 months after my assignment ended. Only once did I get an email from HR, informing me that my resume was actually evaluated, and they determined I was not a fit for that position. Only one reply to over 20 submissions. In speaking with current employees about their HR and employees wanting to move up or laterally, they said my experience was theirs in most cases. In one instance, the employee was promoted in his own department 4 months after applying for a lateral move, and 2 months later [6 months total after applying], HR called him in to interview him for the lateral move he had applied for. He informed them he hadn't heard from them about the position in 6 months, and asked the hiring manager if they were even aware he'd been promoted in his own department 4 months prior.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try to avoid ultimatum relocation offers that will disrupt families. HR should communicate better with internal and external candidates. Stories I heard from people I became friends with, indicated a near complete disconnect between hiring managers and internal candidates. The company seems to have a "churn and burn" attitude about sales positions. I heard of near impossible goals given new hires in outside sales and six month reviews that lead to massive turn-over.

  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    WW Grainger

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Human Resources in Lake Forest, IL (US)
    Former Employee - Human Resources in Lake Forest, IL (US)

    I worked at W.W. Grainger full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Large company but family oriented. Good work-life balance.

    Cons

    Advancement is based on whether they like you or not. Grainger managers who have been there a long time are old school and some even discriminating.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It is extremely important for managers to be knowledgeable about the processes involved, most of them are clueless about the work their employees do and would not know what to do in an emergency.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Good company but very much depends who you work for

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lake Forest, IL (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lake Forest, IL (US)

    I have been working at W.W. Grainger full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Grainger offers a good "hand book" of benefits and bonuses. Nice offices, onsite cafeteria, gymnasium, walking trail etc etc

    Salaries very generous

    Cons

    Its a good old boys club. If you are "in" with top management and they like you, then you will be fine. I had a high level job but was told numerous times by the VP I reported to that it was his way on the highway. So not a good fit to say the least.

    Also I joined the gym and used it twice in two years as my manager frowned upon it. Meetings were sometimes booked at 7:30am on a regular basis which makes a poor life/work balance for families.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire based on talent and not who is friends with who

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

W.W. Grainger Photos

Outside a W.W. Grainger branch, this one located at 2915 Boardwalk Ann Arbor Michigan 48104-6765 (Photo attributed to Dwight Burdette - licensed under the CCL Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0)
Grainger Atrium
Grainger Industrial Supply (Photo thanks to Flickr user rbieber, available under by-nc-nd v2.0)

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