GrafTech International Reviews

Updated June 5, 2015
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Joel L. Hawthorne
3 Ratings

19 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    Total Disaster

    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Technology in Cleveland, OH
    Former Employee - Technology in Cleveland, OH

    I worked at GrafTech International full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    If you could survive at Graftech, any other job is going to seem pleasant as far as everyday work responsibilities.

    Cons

    Just Google "Graftech", don't really need to get into anymore details.

    Advice to Management

    This is what you happen when you proclaim a Dictator without any checks and balances. Well done boys, you made a lot of money, but you should be ashamed of yourselves.


  2. Helpful (1)

    Internal conflict leading a fragmented vision and poor leadership

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

    I have been working at GrafTech International full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    I got a pay check

    Cons

    Lack of a consistent business management system leading to a high rate of errors, injuries, and equipment damage.

    Advice to Management

    Don't look to short-term solutions that result in long-term performance losses.


  3. Helpful (2)

    Must face reality - sell company or parts of it in order to remain viable

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

    I worked at GrafTech International

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Non-management colleagues are friendly, knowledgeable and supportive.

    Cons

    Current executive management team is virtually the same over the last 8 + years. CEO has been with the company for 15 + years - although in different positions. Unfortunately, they are more concerned with protecting their individual interests over the company's interests.

    Company is in a death spiral due to a lack of new products and very little innovation. Let's be honest - all of the talent has left for greener pastures leaving behind a company that is dead but does not know it yet.

    Advice to Management

    1. Move on and stop blaming external "challenging market conditions"- competing companies are doing fine.
    2. Accept that your decisions are what got the company where it is today.
    3. Sell all or parts of the company - sooner, or more painfully later this is inevitably the only way to shareholder value.


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  5. Highs and Lots of Lows

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

    I have been working at GrafTech International

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Good salary, good work-life balance

    Cons

    Multiple layoffs due to declining sales & profits. This has been going on for the last couple years. Questions regarding whether current strategy will lead to turnaround. If you have a current job, despite how bad you think it is, please don't leave it to take one here.

    Advice to Management

    New blood?


  6. Helpful (1)

    Benefits

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

    I worked at GrafTech International

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great, if you don't have a home life. They don't care.

    Cons

    I was there 20+ years and they took my pension system away!

    Advice to Management

    Grandfather clause


  7. Lacking in compassion for the people that make the product!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Finishing Team Member in Saint Marys, PA
    Former Employee - Finishing Team Member in Saint Marys, PA

    I worked at GrafTech International full-time (More than 8 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The work isn't hard, but the people in management know that they are not going to be there long so they are great at cutting each others throat

    Cons

    To much overtime HR people that have little if any training and experience. Managers that are to eager to put blame on subordinates.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your people like they have value.


  8. Helpful (5)

    The greatest example of corporate America greed and indifference you will find in the Cleveland area.

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

    I worked at GrafTech International full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    The people, great group of people to work with. Good compensation but don't depend on raises and bonus to make up for anything. Laid back office culture that treats you like an adult. 1/2 day Summer Fridays were nice too (voluntarily work the hours spread out during the week) go home 1/2 day.

    Cons

    Where to begin with challenges...Well working in an environment of constant fear; the fact that this is "the week" you will lose your job. Employees do not feel they have a direct impact on the bonus. The bonus system is horrible in fact (more below). Raises are inconsistent. It's definitely an "old boy's network" so you are not going to move very far if at all. Management is constantly taking on some "new theory" to practice instead of actually working on what should be worked on. They actually add to the administrative process at GrafTech! Travel policy is a joke, no business class flying on long flights, no paid lunches when you travel!

    Advice to Management

    You have a new CEO and a chance to really change things not just pay lip service! Most of these other reviews are spot on, especially about looking for the new book or program that will "change it all". What is the definition of insanity? Yes, doing the same things time and time again and expecting a different outcome. You will never attract or keep your talent because you (seemingly) don't care and it shows in everything you do. The bonus program that HR can't even explain is the most inane thing I've ever seen and I've run it by others who can't believe a company uses it. Also, why even have it when it's common knowledge that after managers "evaluate" everyone you get in a room and "re-evaluate" with people that may not even know your employees work achievements. Also, giving someone 80% while another gets 120%, really? Employees do not feel that they can have an impact on attaining the bonus anyway. Also, imagine every day worrying about whether your job would be cut or not, every week wondering if this is the week-a constant environment of fear and instability. I understand business but you need to have a little more foresight and IF layoffs are necessary try and keep them to once a year...not 4 or 5 times while the rumor mill goes crazy.


  9. Helpful (4)

    Vote for a Change.

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

    I worked at GrafTech International full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The senior management makes it very easy to leave. They actually encourage people to leave because it makes it easier for them to sell the newer employees on their "plan". This is part of their ongoing restructuring strategy.

    Fortunately there is an alternative being presented to shareholders and I highly reccomend that it be taken. The vote in May is an opportunity to give someone else a chance to do something with the assets of Graftech.

    I mean....borrowing $100,000,000 to buy the stock back at $11.00 a share and not give raises or bonuses to employees or dividends to shareholders? The senior management pay package is grounded in a higher stock price so who do you think benefited from that transaction? The prospectus is a public document!

    Cons

    Lowest Moral and Highest level of confusion of any company I have ever worked for.

    There is an arrogance at the top including the Board that gives the impression that "you" are lucky to have their guidance. When you look at the record of this company you wonder how the "cover up" can be kept in place so long until you realize that the very few take care of only themselves and everyone else is just plain lucky to be able to be in their presence.

    There is one certainty about this company and that is that the senior management will restructure. There is very little interest in or influence over the customer and therefore it seems imperative to make it look like you know something and the only way for them to do that is to restructure. Operating results are of no interest to them. If something is going bad, restructure and give the new structure a new spin.

    The amount of money given to senior management by themselves and the Board for the results that have been achieved is way out of line. But then the Board pays themselves more than any manager at Graftech makes. The Board executive compensation committee is listening to some outside consultant who is beeing paid to support their position. Wouldn't you do the same if you were being paid$1,000,000 as a consultant to determine how much senior management should be paid?

    The company results are the worst in their industry and for sure make this the black sheep of the Cleveland industrial community. Proud to be a Graftech Employee?

    Advice to Management

    The approach you are taking will not cause a single employee to vote their stock in favor of continuing along the path you have structured when there is such a formidable opponent prepared to take over. There are so many options available to the employees when you are replaced that there can be only one acceptable course of action. Vote in favor of the new Board. Or maybe you just abstain which makes it easier for the new Board to win and doesn't expose you to the rath of senior management.

    I suggest that everyone take the time to look at the credentials of the new Board being proposed. Business leaders in the field of Steel and Electrodes. Competence in the Mergers and Acquisitions. Experience in the financial markets. None of this expertise resides on the existing Board.

    Stock that is issued in the 401k and other stock that has been issued to many employees both current and past is available to be voted. I have kept my stock because of the $40 per share promise made by senior management two years ago and I just think they may have set in motion an opportunity for that share price to be realized when the new Board puts in new management. So thanks Craig for the hubris in placing Nathan in the position you did.

    Vote for a change and keep your head up.


  10. Helpful (1)

    Dictatorship has created unrealistic expectations

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales and Markeing in Cleveland, OH
    Former Employee - Sales and Markeing in Cleveland, OH

    I worked at GrafTech International full-time (More than 8 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great people at the ground level, strong commitment to safety and ethics

    Cons

    I have read other reviews, and they nail it. The CEO has almost a cult like following with his minions. He is infallible in his eyes, therefore their eyes. Yes men are required, individuals need not apply. Politics are rewarded more than technology. If you are in the commercial end, horrid rules on T&E, which is not surprising since the customer is the last concern.

    Advice to Management

    Time for a change. You have created a bloated management force consisting of accountants and lawyer types who have to hire consultant after consultant to figure it out.


  11. Helpful (2)

    Leadership devolving into dictatorship

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

    I have been working at GrafTech International full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Strong commitment to safety and ethics, mostly great people at ground level and management that have been around longer than 15 years. History of market leadership, strong brand name.

    Cons

    Totally focused on the current quarter, forget about the future or even the next quarter. No corporate strategy. No dissent allowed (which a key board member and the last CFO learned the hard way). Culture of fear, only sycophants get invited to meetings and bad news never gets communicated upward. Senior management is afraid of customers, only wants to talk to bankers. HR thinks their only job is to facilitate headcount cuts.

    Advice to Management

    Show some true leadership, don't be afraid of dissenting opinions, look to the future (more than lip service to wishful product development). Show some respect for the customers. Be honest with the rank and file.



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