W.W. Grainger Reviews

Updated October 8, 2014
Updated October 8, 2014
558 Reviews
3.5
558 Reviews
Rating Trends

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

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The profit sharing is very generous and it is a good reason to stay with the company (in 133 reviews)

  • Company strives for work/life balance and provides opportunities for growth (in 32 reviews)


Cons
  • The company projects a strong work/life balance, but in reality this is hardly the case (in 19 reviews)

  • Middle and upper management was very disappointing (in 19 reviews)

More Highlights

91 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    An eh experience

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

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

    Pros

    It's a solid company. The benefits are great. The profit-sharing plan is phenomenal. The company pays tuition reimbursement. There were a lot of incentives: company events/meals and merchandise. There was a gym on the premises.

    Cons

    The office wasn't as diverse as it could be. Not really enough flexibility for a middle-level manager. Middle and upper management was very disappointing. My salary was disgusting. I took an extremely severe pay cut. I had an incompetent manager, which made my job unbearable. She had a "my way or the highway" attitude. Do what she says. Don't think. Don't ask any questions. That's not a good fit for my personality and creativeness. And you can't move to another position or location without the blessing and support of your current manager. So, I was screwed.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Perhaps you should invest in management training and hiring a more diverse management team.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good ol' boys club.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - CSA in Lincolnshire, IL
    Current Employee - CSA in Lincolnshire, IL

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

    Pros

    Pay check and the benefits.

    Cons

    Advancement for African-Americans with a degree.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Trim the fat off middle management.

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

    Leaders lack leadership qualities

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Financial Shared Services Supervisor in Lake Forest, IL
    Current Employee - Financial Shared Services Supervisor in Lake Forest, IL

    I have been working at W.W. Grainger full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    PST is great. It's the best in the industry. Where else can you get up to 20% of your salary (after being fully vested at 7 years; progressive growth in percent contribution) given to you annually for your retirement? Other benefits are comparable with the industry.

    Cons

    I've had the opportunity to work in several functional areas around the company over the 6+ years I've been there and although each department had its own culture, one thing remained the same...big corporate politics ruled. If you enjoy having meetings to discuss the next meeting, and progress moves slower than snails, then you may like it here. Nothing moves fast here and it's likely because middle management doesn't have a clue. (Managers up to Directors) I've never worked for an organization as siloed as Grainger. Getting anything done requires talking to 7 or more people. Management is consistently turning over - likely the reason why they don't know anything - and people are promoted based on popularity, not fully on performance. In Supply Chain, they've had at least 5 Directors in the last for years. Where's the continuity? It's hard to follow a vision when there isn't one. In Product Management, arrogance rules. Everyone keeps info to themselves in hopes of being the one to have the "grand idea." Look out for yourself there because your DPP won't support you. In Credit/Collections, putting unqualified people in manager roles is the true theme there. They don't understand the concept of "it's a good thing to communicate with your direct staff of supervisors and indirect reports." Overall, the senior leaders (VP level and above) seem to get it. It's their direct staff who can't carry out the basic needs of managing their functional areas. Grainger offers a lot of job opportunities, but be forewarned, these jobs are very typically focused on one or two functions and are not wholistic like you may expect from a smaller company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to you teams, truly dig in and act on those action plans focused on improving our company's Employee Engagement Survey scores. People feel like numbers here. Depending on the role, balancing work and home life is a challenge. Stop "over engineering" everything and try making things simple!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Mediocre

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Inside Sales Representative in Lincolnshire, IL
    Current Employee - Inside Sales Representative in Lincolnshire, IL

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

    Pros

    Company benefits are good. Work/Life balance.

    Cons

    Compensation is terrible. Rarely saw any promotions within the company. It's hard to take the managers seriously when they aren't doing the job right.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    In order to keep your employees happy, start promoting within the company. It's hard to keep a positive attitude when you see more than qualified coworkers working in the same position for 3 years.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Low commission structure

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Commercial Account Manager in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Commercial Account Manager in Los Angeles, CA

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

    Pros

    Great profit sharing program match!

    Cons

    Goals change 2x per year and your opportunity to make above the $24,400 are slim! Make sure the recruiter you interview with fully understands the commission structure and can quantify where she is getting her figures. Chances are if you do well in the 1st half of the year your gaol will increase the 2nd half to make it almost unattainable. An average increase can range fom 12%-30% above your LY numbers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make your compensation packages for commission realistic and attainable so you can retain the talent you want to attract!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    If you want to feel unappreciated and overworked...come here

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

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

    Pros

    Good benefits, awesome vacation time, fitness center, clinic is amazing!

    Cons

    It is hard to get time off when you want it, you continuously feel like you're doing a lot of work and moving nowhere, management will take credit for your work and never compensate you for it, management does not like to communicate and when they do it is cryptic and condescending.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider legitimately giving your employees a voice. The entry-level employees are the bread and butter of the business. A little respect goes a long way.

    Doesn't Recommend
  8.  

    Nothing too great

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Buyer in Janesville, WI
    Current Employee - Buyer in Janesville, WI

    I have been working at W.W. Grainger (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Flex work schedule, corporate discounts, free cake in the break room frequently

    Cons

    Pay is low if you don't work in IL. Mgmt loves jargon and having meetings upon meetings

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take time to get to know your employees, outside of the required monthly 1 on 1's.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    If you can handle the pressure you can be very successful as a territory sales rep...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Territory Sales Representative in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Territory Sales Representative in Chicago, IL

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

    Pros

    Flexible hours, potential for great pay, amazing people to work for.

    If you do well and network well there is room for growth.

    I like the company a lot, just not my position and it is different to make lateral movements in terms of entry level opportunities. The benefits, especially the profit sharing, are phenomenal.

    More relationship based than transactional, which is great except Grainger marks items up so much that you must discount items to win the business which comes straight out of the sales rep's pockets.

    Cons

    The base pay is pretty low and if you don't hit your goal you lose hundreds of dollars in commission by no fault of your own.

    About 30% turnover and it is clear if you don't make goal for the year there is little chance that you will be promoted. It is difficult to get out of the sales track and you're paid significantly less than account managers even though territory sales reps have hundreds of more accounts.

    The goals are extremely aggressive in the Chicagoland area and don't take into account one time project and hits that you can't count on the next year. You are evaluated every month so I feel like I'm starting from scratch every month.

    Overall it's a great sales job, but only if you can handle the extreme pressure of having to hit your numbers every single month. It is easier if you come into a "healthy" territory or one where it wasn't neglected by the precious rep.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The goals are too aggressive in the Chicagoland and Southern California area. You're setting the bar low for sales expansion and they blow up their numbers while established areas have a tougher time finding new business in this economy.

    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    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 an year)

    Pros

    Good benefits and profit sharing

    Cons

    Managers have no proper accountability
    Systems not in place to support employees

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    respond to HR complaints
    good territories are a crap shoot, which impacts income

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    Warehouse Associate, Full Time, 12+ years experience, former employee

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Warehouse Worker in Robbinsville, NJ
    Former Employee - Warehouse Worker in Robbinsville, NJ

    I worked at W.W. Grainger full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    For experienced, full time,warehouse or office grunts-- typical mediocre, corporate benefits that do provide some protection from health issues; somewhat laid back vacation/sick call policy. Cash pay, for low ranking workers, depending on department, is marginal to sub-standard.
    For experienced, higher ranking managers, with a well placed crony system that can sustain longevity, pay/bonus look much brighter. Warehouse DC Directors, Divisional VP's, CEO, CFO, HQ's people is where it's all at in terms of lion's share of worthwhile compensation.
    The Grainger fad for the last decade is to hire ex-McMaster Carr/McKinsey managers to fill senior DC slots and senior VP roles thru out the company.
    At the DC level, the common areas are fairly clean, the decor is tidy, but corporate cheap. As a matter of fact, always think cheap and stingy when thinking about this company's policies.

    Cons

    Everything revolves around manipulating contrived numbers in this company. Those numbers are sliced/diced and fudged thru out the chain of command. Finally, they reach corporate royalty in Niles, where the final touches are made, and another quarterly number is produced for Wall Street consumption. With the stock price successfully inflated for the year, senior management will feast on an orgy of stock option selling, where the usual millions are made.

    At the concrete floor, warehouse level, it's wall to wall everyday dysfunction. Top management could care less--they don't work there. Warehouse operations are just another number to manipulate.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None- no one listened before, and they won't be listening in the future.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves 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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