We work hard to cultivate a great work environment for our team members because they are critical to the success of our business. We know that a great customer experience starts with a great team member experience, and those experiences are driven by engaged and effective leaders. We provide our team members with training and development designed to help them succeed and grow their careers. We focus our efforts in three areas: talent management, team member wellbeing and creating an inclusive and diverse workplace.

Team Member Experience

Grainger is continuously improving our team member experience. We support each team member through talent management and team member learning programs, and we encourage career and leadership development at each stage of a team member’s tenure.

LATAM Leadership Recognition
Rudy Juarez has been honored as a 2017 Business Leader of Color by Chicago United, an organization that helps advance multiracial leadership in corporate governance, executive level management and business diversity in Chicago. Rudy, along with 49 other honorees, was recognized for the effect made at Grainger and the broader business community.

Rudy has been Vice President of Latin America & Export since October 2016 and is part of the Grainger International Leadership Team. He has helped prioritize profitable growth and high standards of ethics and integrity in key geographies and has direct responsibility for Mexico, Caribe and Export. Rudy’s leadership has helped us increase the effectiveness of sales teams, focus on the right metrics and invest in what customers’ value the most in these markets with high-growth potential.

“It’s an honor to receive this recognition and it’s great that our company continues to be highly respected for having an inclusive culture where dedicated, talented people can thrive”
Rudy Juarez   Vice President, Latin America & Export

Talent Management     We offer a comprehensive talent program that begins at orientation and continues throughout a team member’s career. This is aligned to our business strategy; our company succeeds when we equip and energize team members to excel. Our talent program is comprised of career management, team member learning, performance management, and leadership development offerings to help grow and mobilize our team members to grow and succeed.

Streamlining talent management activities within Grainger has been a focus since launching the Global Talent Excellence Suite (GTES) in 2013. Providing team members and leaders with one, easy-to-use tool for all talent related activities drives productivity and creates efficiencies across the business. In 2017, two additional modules were added to the GTES: annual compensation planning and learning management. Annual compensation planning is now managed through the tool, creating an enhanced pay-for-performance process and ensuring top talent is recognized and rewarded.

Team Member Learning     Our team members continue to learn and develop as the needs of our business change. Whether a team member requires role-specific training, foundational skills training or leadership training, Grainger offers more than 1,300 courses through our Learning Management System and more than 800 courses through our mobile learning platform for sales, formal mentoring opportunities and on-the-job development. Through these resources, team members can grow in their current roles while developing skills for the future. In total, Grainger team members completed more than 279,520 non-operational training hours in 2017. The average number of training hours per team member was 11.3.

In 2017, Grainger transitioned to a new Learning Management System (LMS) within GTES. This enhancement links learning to other talent excellence systems to drive an integrated and simplified team member experience. The LMS module was implemented in Canada in the first half of 2017, with the remainder of North American and parts of Asia to go live in early 2018.

This new LMS integration will provide our team members with an enhanced experience and capabilities, including a refreshed look and feel, convenient access through a cloud-based system and broader opportunities to grow and develop through just-in-time learning solutions. The new GTES module will increase collaborative learning across the business, expand the total learning repository and enable all countries to leverage and localize content.

Team Member Participation in Leadership Training Programs

Leadership Development     We create a sustainable workforce through the development of strong leaders from all parts of the business. Our leadership development process succeeds by:

  • Creating a strong bench of well-prepared leaders and
  • Enhancing organizational effectiveness and team member engagement through strong leadership.

Grainger’s commitment to the growth of its team members is exhibited through its leadership development programs. These multi-week, cross-functional sessions are targeted toward key team members world-wide. Offerings include Grainger’s Global Emerging Leader Program, First Time Manager Program and Global Experienced Manager, a program added in 2014 for frontline and mid-level managers. Each program is designed to provide guidance to leaders wherever they are on their leadership journey.

Grainger continues to be committed to leadership effectiveness as part of its people strategy. This includes our people leader effectiveness goal, the upward feedback survey and accelerating participation in leadership programs. Of the 2,276 leaders eligible to participate in 2017, 87 percent received a report, based on the requisite number of respondents to ensure confidentiality. Increasing the investment in leader effectiveness enables strong people leaders at every level of the company, which in turn has a significant effect on Team Member Experience and, ultimately, customer experience and business results.

Women in Leadership
Grainger recognizes the value of diverse talent and provides opportunities for individuals to attend external programs to continue their growth and development. High potential women had the opportunity to take part in a multi-dimensional Leading Womens Executive Program, as well as a number of programs through the Executive Leadership Council.

Leading Women Executives is a leadership program for high-potential female professionals that focuses on three critical elements for success: organizational support, leadership skill building, and ongoing networking. This year, Grainger sent 3 team members to this program. Erin Ptacek, Director of Internal Communications, shared her experience.

“Participating in the Leading Women Executives program provided me a meaningful opportunity to advance and extend my leadership development both internally and externally. Having the ability to network with and learn from other women professionals while also gaining valuable insight from the program curriculum and speakers created a very enriching experience.”
Erin Ptacek   Director, Internal Communications


Performance Management     Performance Management is a continuous process that helps team members focus on the right priorities. Team members receive regular feedback and coaching to improve their performance and are provided with opportunities to help them grow and develop. Each team member develops three to five clear, meaningful goals that are aligned to company strategy and receive biannual performance assessments based on progress against goals and demonstrated behaviors.


Team members are encouraged to have a robust Individual Development Plan (IDP). An IDP is a documented plan shared between a team member and their leader that outlines a team member’s plan to grow and develop in their current role and prepare for future roles at Grainger. Additionally, we offer career planning tools for team members to explore new roles in different parts of Grainger’s business. A role library provides real life stories from team members who work in different functions, and self-assessments allow team members to discern opportunities that might be a strong fit.

Total Rewards

At Grainger, our long-term success is the direct result of team member collaboration and individual contribution. In return for everything our team members do, we deliver an above-market Total Rewards programs that offers flexibility and choice, and the opportunity for our team members to actively participate in the benefits that are most important to them and their families.

Our Total Rewards programs are designed to meet the diverse needs of our team members and support their health and well-being, financial future and work-life balance. We encourage our team members to take charge of their health and create their own wellness journey. Team members are given access to health plan resources which include disease management, tobacco cessation, maternity support, stress management and weight loss programs with access to online support communities, 24-hour virtual health services and many other resources so they can get timely health-related advice.

In addition, we provide retirement savings, paid holiday and time off, educational assistance and income protection benefits as well as a variety of other programs to U.S. team members.

We regularly seek team member feedback and conduct external compensation and benefits-related benchmarking to remain competitive in each of the markets in which we operate.

Grainger Creates a Great Team Member Experience    In 2017, we traveled to 20 of our largest facilities to conduct the Total Rewards Roadshow, an expansion of our health and benefits fair, with representatives from many of our core programs. The Total Rewards team and our program partners were on-site to engage in personalized dialogue with team members. Our approach is innovative and builds awareness and accountability for our team members around the services available to them as a member of Grainger’s team. Our team’s purpose during the roadshow was to:

  • Reinforce the value of Grainger’s Total Rewards offerings
  • Increase awareness, engagement, utilization and program and plan participation
  • Create a closer, personal connection between team members and the Total Rewards program; and
  • Help team members understand the tools and resources available.

An Inclusive and Diverse Culture

At Grainger, focusing on our common purpose and leveraging our differences makes us extraordinary. We are deeply committed to a culture of inclusion that is meaningful to our team members, allowing us to attract, develop, engage and retain the best talent available. We serve the business needs of an increasingly global and diverse customer base and we strive to ensure our team reflects this rapidly changing world. Inclusion and diversity is integral to Grainger’s business success, and the company is committed to fostering an inclusive environment where all team members feel safe, valued and encouraged to voice their opinions regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, veteran status, disabilities or backgrounds.


The Asian Pacific Islander BRG 
The mission of the Asian Pacific Islander Business Resource Group (API BRG) is twofold:

    • To unlock the full potential of API team member talent, drive cultural awareness within Grainger and drive business results.
    • Market Grainger to the API community (internal and external) as a great place to work, where API team members thrive and add significant value to the business and the community.

In 2017, the API BRG hosted events including: Cross Connections Development Event for 600+ team members; Junior Achievement Day at Grainger with mock interviews, job shadowing and leadership panels for 30 students; Asian Heritage Month events in partnership with other area company BRGs; Drove community presence through involvement in our Dragon Boat Program in four cities across the U.S.; Contributed to customer value generation through translation services.


Training     The company reinforces its commitment to inclusion and diversity by offering instructor-led and e-learning courses such as Inclusion and Diversity: A Business Imperative and The Inclusive Team Member, which help team members understand the business case for diversity, explore the enabling mindset and behaviors that facilitate inclusion in the workplace, respond effectively to differences and increase the level of inclusion in their work area. Another offering, The Inclusive Leader, equips people leaders with inclusive behaviors, skills and best practices around attracting, developing, engaging and retaining the best and brightest people at Grainger.

Business Resource Groups (BRGs)    Grainger has eight BRGs that foster team member engagement and help team members share information, ideas, experiences and resources. These groups provide peer support, career development and mentoring opportunities, in addition to raising awareness through a variety of discussion groups and activities that are open to all.


  • Administrative Business Partner
  • African American
  • Asian-Pacific Islander
  • Disability
  • Equality Alliance
  • Generational
  • Latino
  • Veterans and Military Supporters
  • Women’s

Approximately 3,500 U.S. team members participate in the BRGs thanks in large part to our BRG Roadshow, designed to attract new members. Every BRG has an executive sponsor who works with these team member-led groups to help us create the right workplace by fostering inclusion and create the right workforce by attracting, developing and retaining top diverse talent. They have helped support the business strategy by creating unique value for different customers and reducing cost, and they have contributed to our communities as responsible stewards.

In 2017, the BRGs contributed more than $65,000 in donations and volunteered more than 1,100 hours with 14 different organizations including One Million Degrees, Uhlich Children’s Advantage Network, i.c. stars and Junior Achievement. Many of these volunteer initiatives include mentoring opportunities. Internally, Grainger also has a BRG Mentoring Program, which includes more than 160 team members, serving as role models and inspiration for students. Learn more about the ways out BRG Community Fund.

The Latino BRG
The Latino BRG is leading the pack in terms of chapter development and field involvement with 18 total chapters, seven new chapters created in 2017. Additionally, the Latino BRG was involved in a variety of community efforts including: CIS-Communities of Schools Gala in Houston; Local college fair benefiting high school students and families in New York city; Latino Student Fund Gala in Washington DC. They also held an event in Mira Loma, CA for Hispanic Heritage Month for development of top talent Latinos/Latinas across the company.

A Commitment to Advance Diversity     In 2017, a group of more than 150 CEOs, including Grainger’s DG Macpherson, signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. By signing on to this commitment, CEOs are pledging to take action to cultivate a workplace where diverse perspectives and experiences are welcomed and respected.

With that commitment in mind, our 2017 report marks an important milestone in our CSR story. This year’s report provides additional insight into the diversity and inclusiveness of our organization by delivering insights on our diversity performance. We believe that the development of an inclusive workforce is essential to our success. To better serve those stakeholders, we are working to improve our performance every year.

Global Workforce     In 2017, Grainger employed approximately 25,000 people worldwide: 77 percent of our team members are based in North America, 12 percent in Europe, 6 percent in Asia Pacific and 4 percent in Central and South America.

U.S. Workforce Demographics     In 2017, Grainger’s workforce was 37.4 percent women overall and 29.6 percent women in leadership positions. Also, Grainger’s workforce was 31.8 percent racial and ethnically diverse team members overall and 23.3 percent racial and ethnically diverse leaders. According to the 2015 Job Patterns for Minorities and Women in Private Industry EEO-1 National Aggregate Report, our current performance outpaces the NAICS Industry Composite for both digital and industrial distributors.

U.S. Workforce Demographics
US BLN Going for the Gold
Since 2014, Grainger has partnered with the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USLBN) as part of their Going for the Gold Initiative. Going for Gold connects participating corporate partners with USBLN subject matter experts and unites them around disability inclusion through leading practices and tools. Since the partnership began, we’ve hired 277 team members with disabilities, an increase of 857 percent. Earning a score of 80 percent, we have been recognized as a 2017 Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion on the Disability Equality Index, which measures how effective companies are with respect to disability inclusion. We are proud of this recognition and look forward to further strengthening Grainger as a Great Place to Work for everyone.

University Partnerships     We partner with several Historically Black Colleges and Universities to help strengthen the diversity of our talent pipeline. These include Howard University, Albany State University and Florida A&M University. Lastly, we strengthen our early-career talent pipeline through our internship program and direct placements. Our emphasis with these and other strategic organizations is on building deeper and more meaningful partnerships that can continually improve our ability to develop, attract and retain a diverse workforce.

Strategic Alliance Partnerships     We actively recruit from, and maintain relationships with several strategic alliance partnerships. Strategic alliances are critical to Grainger’s success. In 2017, Grainger built new and built on previously existing strategic alliances with 10 organizations to build our reputation as a top employer for diverse talent. Since 2014, Grainger has hired more than 270 team members through strategic alliance partnerships. These organizations include:

  • National Association of Women MBAs
  • National Sales Network
  • National Black MBA
  • Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement
  • Indo American Career Services
  • Reaching Out MBA
  • HirePurpose
  • US Business Leadership Network
  • Skills for Chicagoland’s Future
  • Out and Equal
  • Recruit Military
  • National Association of Asian American Professionals
  • Ascend
  • Blacks in Tech


2017 Awards and Recognition

  • Fortune Most Admired Companies: #1 in Diversified Wholesalers
  • HRC Corporate Equality Index 4th consecutive year
  • North America Dow Jones Sustainability Index
  • #17 on HR Executive Magazine’s Most Admired in HR List
  • 2017 Executive Leadership Council Ambassador Company
  • Newsweek.com Top Green Companies in the U.S. 2017
  • FTSE4Good Member Company
  • Fortune’s 2018 World’s Most Admired Companies 5th consecutive year
  • PR Award they attended in DC
  • 2017 Disability Equality Index
  • Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion
  • 2018 Best Company to Work for Millennials by The Women’s Choice Award
  • Working Mother Mexico Best Companies 2017
  • Mexican Center for Philanthropy (Cemefi) and the Alliance for Corporate Social
    Responsibility’s (AliaRSE) Distinctive ESR® 2018 award, 4th consecutive year
  • Black Enterprise’s 2018 List of Top Executives in Corporate Diversity

FORWARD: What’s Coming in Our 2019 Report

  • Valuing Our People becomes part of People and Purpose
  • Subjects include Health and Safety, Performance Management, Leadership Development, Inclusion and Diversity
  • Metrics include EHS Safety, Talent Attraction and Retention, Team Member Diversity