GrafTech International

  www.graftech.com
  www.graftech.com

GrafTech International Reviews

Updated November 13, 2014
Updated November 13, 2014
31 Reviews
2.1
31 Reviews
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Joel L. Hawthorne
4 Ratings

15 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    This should be a cautionary tale taught in business schools

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

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

    Pros

    Lots of dedicated employees who have shown resilience and perseverance through the ridiculous and then the sublime as set forth by GTI Management. 125 years of making the product, definitely accounts for something.

    Cons

    Where do you start? A former egomaniacal CEO who surrounded himself with nothing but "Yes" men all thinking that "the plan" would yield mega riches to themselves. Never wanting to understand nor accept true market conditions. A poor investment decision which has done little to help vertically integrate the company with cheap, quality raw materials and brought in outsiders who would soon turn things upside. And a general arrogance!!. An arrogance towards employees, towards customers and throughout the supply chain. Current CEO a nice guy but completely overmatched. There are no answers here.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Well now, you reap what you sowed. Unfortunately a lot, and I mean a lot, of hardworking people undeservedly have lost their jobs because of your arrogance and no one willing to stand up to "the King". Those in management roles right now or recently retired should apologize to those left and those who are gone that you weren't willing to stand up to previous management. Again, the damage is done, really not much you guys can do.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Lacking in compassion for the people that make the product!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    Treat your people like they have value.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 4 people found this helpful  

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

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

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

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Doesn't Recommend
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Vote for a Change.

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

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

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Dictatorship has created unrealistic expectations

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

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

    Leadership devolving into dictatorship

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

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

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    No one challenges the kings

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

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

    Pros

    Good, dedicated people who try and do the right thing. Fairly decent salaries.

    Cons

    Wow...Top management never admits their mistakes. Victim of "flavor of the month" management style. Impatience to see anything through. Manages through consultants (why have managers?) Unwielding to the "boss". He is always right, yes man can apply, those who voice their dissent aren't long.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Read the "Emperor's New Clothes". It is a fable that is applicable to GTI. Be realistic and listen to those who have been "around".

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Former employee

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Technician in Lakewood, OH
    Former Employee - Technician in Lakewood, OH

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

    Pros

    Can't think of one now.

    Cons

    Very poor benefits to most employees.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get more involved on the floor.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Worked at GrafTech for 2 years

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Technician in Parma, OH
    Current Employee - Research Technician in Parma, OH

    I have been working at GrafTech International full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    work environment looks ok and people are friendly

    Cons

    Unresponsive even to internal job applicants

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    none

  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    This has to be the worst company I have ever worked for.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Engineer in Parma, OH
    Current Employee - Research Engineer in Parma, OH

    I have been working at GrafTech International

    Pros

    The work can be challenging.
    Many of my peers are enjoyable to work with.

    Cons

    Benefits are terrible except for perks offered to upper management.
    The company appears to lack a true visionary at the helm.
    Many of the managers seem to have gotten their positions through connections to senior management and not due to ability.
    Many managers will take credit for their employees work to greatly advance their own careers while throwing the employee a bone to keep up performance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop trying to find a magic business plan in the book of the month and use your own innovation and ideas to create a successful company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

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