Pros: great co-workers, some talented and supportive managers, employee owned means private stock options, great vacation plan
Cons: inconsistent management, employee owned means promote from within which often leads to nepotism in hiring and promotions, reluctance to acknowledge competitors, struggles between one-size-fits-all nationwide inventory/regional and local inventory preferences, reinventing the wheel problem solving
Graybar Electric is a good company overall. They strive to be progressive. However, there is plenty of old-guard sprinkled throughout the company to thwart real change. You can always tell when a high-placed manager reads a new business book and uses the company as a controlled experiment.
Plenty of "golden-boys" that get on the fast track for promotion. – more... Tacit agreement to tow the line to remain in the good graces of surrogates keeps everyone in line. However, there are some very talented people and co-workers in this company. The work-life balance is pretty good and the vacation benefits are fantastic. Compensation (including bonuses) seems to run lower than the competitors.
The company is more logistics than sales focused which can drive a sales rep bonkers in competitive bid situations. Stingy credit lines for customers (even in good times), and the financial manager (FM) seems to have the real power and has a lot of latitude on granting credit based on "how they feel about the customer".
One interesting conversation I had with an FM was when he told me he met with our competitors FMs for breakfast each week to discuss accounts. He heavily weighted these breakfast meetings in his decision to extend credit to our customers. (I guess he never thought that our competition might "play" him for a stooge?) Graybar has massive corporate expenses and a lot of "specialists" (affectionately called by field personnel as: "corporate expense"). This corporate expense is fed by overinflated board costs and negotiated cost recoveries with vendors. The result is that corporate gets fed and the field suffers from not being competitive. – less