GrafTech International Reviews

Updated August 1, 2014
Updated August 1, 2014
26 Reviews

2.3
26 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Joel L. Hawthorne
2 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    This is a new company that just bought us out about 3 years ago.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Operator  in  North Seadrift, TX
    Current Employee - Operator in North Seadrift, TX

    I have been working at GrafTech International full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Pay is good for the area.

    Cons

    They have to many individual projects that are hard to keep up.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need more younger help.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 1 person 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 for 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
  3.  

    New CEO

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

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

    Pros

    I'm excited about our new CEO Joel Hawthorne. Craig Shular did a great job motivating employees and he picked an excellent replacement in Joel. Graftech is a good company that treats its employees fairly.

    Cons

    Uncertainty caused by the recent proxy fight. Steel industry cycle that has affected company profits.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stick with your plan, econemy is improving.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    It is an OK place to work, especially in Cleveland area.

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

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

    Pros

    There were quite some highly skilled and very inspirational people working there and culture is also a positive. Flexible time, ok compensation.

    Cons

    The benefits are not good and getting worse every year. Hard to get promotion just by working hard. Travel policy really sucks.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I don't think management values people working for them enough.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Technically okay but confusing directions

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Staff Scientist, Engineer  in  Parma, OH
    Former Employee - Staff Scientist, Engineer in Parma, OH

    I worked at GrafTech International full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Good people to work with. Good location and benefits. Flexible hours.

    Cons

    Confusing directions from the management, not much market emphasis.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need to have better focus and less confusion. Need to reduce the layers of management.

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

    Bureaucratic and arrogant

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

    I have been working at GrafTech International full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Global company with great people

    Cons

    Senior management is arrogant & delusional.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Cut some top level fat and work on being more customer centric.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Interesting company, poor people management

    • 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 for more than a year

    Pros

    One of the tech companies in the area
    Decent salaries
    Freedom to work on some interesting ideas
    Many great co-workers

    Cons

    Archaic management style in company
    Old boy network management clique
    Short sighted to new opportunities outside traditional markets
    Always threatened with salary cuts/etc due to reliance on steel industry for revenues

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn to expand into new markets; adapt and be flexible
    Treat people with better decency

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 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 for 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
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Top heavy organization only focused on current quarter results

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

    I have been working at GrafTech International full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    They have a fair compensation scale in my opinion and average benefits. They are active in some exciting growth markets.

    Cons

    Frequent rationalization has the employee base at large constantly fearful of losing their job. They are an extremely top heavy organization and rarely if ever make cuts at senior levels. Innovation is a foreign word to the company in the last 10 years and they struggle to even meet their own quality specifications on standard products.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take care of the people actually doing the work and thin out or replace those in current management roles.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Stagnant career and wage growth

    • 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 for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Dedicated, hard-working people at most levels. Real desire to innovate. Commitment to safety.

    Cons

    Horrible morale due to the constant threat of downsizing/restructuring - a fear that has proven to be justified too many times. If you want to get ahead, hard work alone will not be enough - be an expert at glad-handing the top management and put in hours and hours of "face time" and maybe, just maybe, you might get noticed by the inner circle. Benefits are not bad, but wage growth has been non-existent and is not keeping up with the cost of living. There is little room for promotion unless it comes about due to restructuring. Too much emphasis on finding "the next big thing" in management theory and not nearly enough attention paid to valuing and developing the skills that employees already bring to the table and processes that already work. Because the company's success is so closely linked to the global economy, I see no end to the instability that has become standard operating procedure in the last ten years without a major change in how the company is run.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay attention to the reviews on this site - they are mostly spot-on. The company is too top-heavy. Time for a change at the very top.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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