Williams-Sonoma

  www.williams-sonomainc.com
  www.williams-sonomainc.com
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Williams-Sonoma Reviews

Updated 12 September 2014
Updated 12 September 2014
609 Reviews
2.7
609 Reviews
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Williams-Sonoma President, CEO and Director Laura J. Alber
Laura J. Alber
251 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great discount for to enable everyone to spend their salary in store (in 82 reviews)

  • Best Reason to work here is the employee discount and the Sample Sales (in 50 reviews)


Cons
  • No work life balance, payroll constantly being cut some DMs had little pets who could do no wrong (in 25 reviews)

  • The current upper management does not appear to care about the employees or their customers (in 33 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Great discount for a part-time job

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

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma

    Pros

    Discount discount discount flexibility part-time

    Cons

    holiday hours and schedule are difficult

  2.  

    Room For Improvement

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Temporary Assistant Buyer  in  San Francisco, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Temporary Assistant Buyer in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    They paid well.
    Had a good discount.

    Cons

    The people who worked there treated other employees horribly unless they were friends.
    Lied when telling me the temporary position had ended.
    No good management.
    No good training programs.
    Would take time to help you.
    Snobby people.
    People were leaving left and right because of how people treated each other and the work ethics.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Change the people you have working for you.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 6 people found this helpful  

    Unappreciated

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Distribution Planner  in  San Francisco, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Distribution Planner in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Great discount and sample sales are really fun. Great benefits. For the most part the employees are really smart and dedicated to their business which makes it a nice place to work. I worked at WS for 8 years and was highly satisfied until 2 years ago when management shifted.

    Cons

    Career pathing is non-existent so very little room for advancement. It's nearly impossible to move up unless you're in the "in" crowd or get lucky and a manager decides to leave. Managers are not trained and, in my experience, have no people management skills thereby over-working their direct reports with no regard for work/life balance. Having to work every weekend (mandatory!) through peak as a corporate employee speaks to mis-management and disregard for work/life balance.
    HR is under-utilized and under-staffed. They seem absorbed with hiring only and lose track after the initial hire. I returned from a 6-week LOA and had zero contact from HR. When I decided to leave the company (giving 6 weeks notice) I had to contact HR the day before my last day about scheduling my exit interview.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on training all managers. HR is uninvolved and should be engaging and meeting with all employees to have an idea of job satisfaction, etc...Providing breakfast and lunch is not a reward when asking employees to work extended hours.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 9 people found this helpful  

    The first rule of any business is to treat employees as valued members of a team

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

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    The employee discount available at all brands (WS, Pottery Barn, PBKids, etc) is a huge incentive for the casual/seasonal employee.
    Very pleasant and agreeable fellow casual/seasonal employees, as well as assistant manager , make the annoyances of job enjoyable.
    Opportunity to learn new cooking skills and learn a wide range of product knowledge skills is excellent
    GM does a great job with requests for time off, if not asked for too frequently
    Most customers are pleasant and easy to work with

    Cons

    1) Expectations are at the absurd level. With two employees scheduled, one cannot set up a display, stock shelves, unpack shipment, conduct clienteling calls and/or email, and help customers all the while meeting ever increasing sph, upt, email capture, and credit card selling goals.
    2) Employee productivity based on inaccurate and incomplete spreadsheets cause low morale of hard working employees. Spread sheets that document sph, upt, credit card sales, and emails ignore the breadth of tasks the employee is assigned during a given work day.
    3) Low pay and rare training for the casual and seasonal worker, especially unseasoned hires, is not aligned with company's expected employee product knowledge and work performance. One cannot be an expert about a product after watching a training video, when adequate hours on the floor given to practice the skill are absent. Corporate expects those scheduled 0 - 10.5 hours a week to perform at high levels with little training and no follow up sales time to practice skills.
    4) The required policy that employees must be on-call two days a week forces non-managerial employees to hold off on any plans until an hour before work could possibly start. Continually putting low paid employees' lives on hold is not conducive to high morale and illustrates a disregard for them. Few people are willing to put their life on hold for the possibility they may get a chance to work for less than $10 an hour on a given day at WS.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1) Align employee expectations with what you are willing to give to your GMs in payroll. If you only grant payroll for a manager and a casual employee to run the entire operation, set realistic expectations for what can actually be accomplished.
    2) Data and metrics need to reflect the actual work that is being tasked and completed. Current metrics are seriously flawed and don't reveal the scope of work being completed.
    3) Align pay with skill expectations, skills performed, and local business pay practices. WS cooking instructors are completing high level skills but being paid close to minimum wage. All employees are multi-tasking and performing numerous tasks besides customer service. All employees are expected to learn product knowledge on their own time at home. Sales personnel in neighboring stores who sell clothing only make more per hour. WS Pay per hour needs to reflect these realities. Because there are virtually no career opportunities, employees need to feel they are making an important contribution with their current status. You will continue to lose quality employees if you choose to maintain your current behavioral path.
    4) Revamp the work schedule plan and employee performance metric so all employees have a work/life balance and feel valued. Current practices degrade employees and don't promote an environment where we feel valued and appreciated.
    5) WS customers are attracted to the store because we carry high end merchandise. You have now established a model that treats them like a number, and you are forcing employees to comply with this non-customer service model. Customers might as well go online or to Costco with this new model. Turn back before it's too late.

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

    Demoralizing culture that drives best talent away

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    40% Discount, Sample Sale, Working on high quality brands, Smart co-workers

    Cons

    Leadership: For the most part, the leadership is extremely weak. Management is insecure about their decisions and compensate by micro-managing their reports - all from the top down. My own manager was terrific, but it's difficult to see good workers treated poorly, and unprofessionally by unreasonable leaders, who demand excellence, but only give ineptitude. Our department has very weak leadership that cannot stand up to their own employees abusing the system, yet nitpicks on petty issues. Cronyism is alive and well at this company, so make some friends if you want that 1.5% raise.

    Environment: Morale is lower today than in 2009 when we had a large round of layoffs. Why? Despite profits and signs of growth, the company has cut budget and operations at the expense of employees. The company is still operating at recession levels. This means: employee attrition, occasional furlough days, pushing much needed upgrades to systems and processes etc. Basic office supplies are in short order. Hot water disconnected for awhile. The one lasting perk of early Summer Fridays (which used to be year-round early Fridays) has finally disappeared. Working from home has been banished officially. The phrase 'Doing More With Less' is the go-to mantra. I've seen more passive aggressive arguments and co-workers in tears in the past 2 years than in a high school. The company's mission of 'People First' is laughable.

    Work-life balance: Very poor. Expectations of long hours, no WFH, and no comp time. Working mothers made to feel bad when they have sick children. In sharp contrast with other teams that do not show up to work, produce poor results and get promoted.

    Career growth: As mentioned in other reviews, growth is very slow unless you manage to become a one of the chosen few. Those that manage it see promotions every year. Others languish for years despite hitting all of their goals and producing consistent work. Moving departments is encouraged on paper, but rarely done; moving teams is much easier.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Being cheap with your employees is not going to cut it, so loosen the purse strings a little. Throw a real Christmas party. Employees are not asking for much and know WS is not a tech company. Take care of these people in real ways (not band-aid fixes like occasional breakfast treats), and you'll improve morale tremendously. Implement a manager feedback system if you really want to keep the best and brightest. Train your leaders on management techniques; remove the ineffectual ones. Analyze why people are unhappy and leaving; act on it.

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

    I felt misunderstood and teamed up against

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Seasonal Sales Associate  in  Las Vegas, NV (US)
    Former Employee - Seasonal Sales Associate in Las Vegas, NV (US)

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    The employee discount is good. It makes the overpriced product affordable for the underpaid employee. The building is clean and has food/drink machines in case you're a snacker or forgot your lunch. The food/drink machines take credit/debit cards. And there's a change machine, for people who bring $5 and $10 dollar bills and have no credit/debit card. My co-workers were wonderful.

    Cons

    My supervisor didn't care about my advancement or my questions or concerns. My supervisor literally belittled me on the phone, in front of other supervisors, and spoke harshly to me while I was talking to a customer (not on hold). He was so uncaring about my concerns, it got to where I didn't want to call him at all, as he was not helpful in the least. Then, he used that fact to belittle me more, saying things like, "See, you do know my number and know how to use the phone to call me. What is it that you don't know now?" Again, in front of his co-workers who were also supervisors. I was new, and didn't need belittling. I needed answers to my questions and adult behavior from my supervisor.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you want employees to be honest about their supervisor, please don't make us fill out our reviews while sitting next to our torturers. Nothing good can come of that. I was afraid to say anything bad. Who wouldn't be? The employees need more product info. Be it through classes, or simple "cheat sheets", or meetings. Make the meetings educational, and on the employee's level. We are far less concerned about who got the position of CEO, etc, than what a product is doing at this time. We need immediate heads-ups on back-orders, and recalls, etc.

    Also ... there's a lot of favoritism going on at WSI. You will not be promoted unless you are liked by just the right people and never complain about anything, constructive or otherwise.

    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    I worked there for a month and two weeks. I never met my manager.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Fsa  in  Las Vegas, NV (US)
    Former Employee - Fsa in Las Vegas, NV (US)

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Nice incentives. Ok pay. Great break room. Nice facility in a great part of town.

    Cons

    No hands on service training. Training is too much reading. There was no real hands on training and they definitely don't prepare you for the types of customers you get. My last day of service nesting I was on the phone with a customer for an hour after my shift because the nesting trainer was ready to go home and didn't want to help me with my call.

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

    Horrific Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  The Colony, TX (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in The Colony, TX (US)

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The 40% off discount is ALL there is that's good.

    Cons

    The point system is childish, someone certainly needs to unionize this company. They promise you roses to get you to commit & deliver NOTHING. The good, educated people need not apply, this company is seeking low income people that will work for nothing that lives pay check to pY check, sadly enough.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I've been with this company 1.5 years, make millions of dollars in revenue for this company and denied a small raise? It's sad but I am too educated to be here & the company is finally showing me this. The revolving door I have seen while working in 3 different departments would certainly not put a smile on Chuck's face- if only he knew the good people that have been lost because they have shown a sense of intelligence, I'm sure he would've never allowed it. The management in this building feels threatened by anyone who has some wits about them & they find a way to run them off. Sad way to run a business & it's unfortunate a company held to the standards W&S is....that this is allowed.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    Overworked, under payed and unreasonable expectations!!!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Stock Associate  in  Miami, FL (US)
    Current Employee - Stock Associate in Miami, FL (US)

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Generous employee discount. Flexible scheduling to fit you personal needs. Good open door policy.

    Cons

    Work load is extreme through out year. Even worst around the holiday season. Always cutting hours. How can anyone live on 10 to 15 hours. Wages extremely low, not competitive for industry. Most be extremely knowledgeable of product, customers want to know how things work, taste and where they are made. No training program for product knowledge. Upper management always want more but don't pay more.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop cutting hours. Be realistic with work load and give sufficient hours for task at hand. Stop categorizing people as casual and part time. Give people full time and enough hours to live a comfortable life.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Program Manager

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

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Laid back culture and just infront of Fisherman Wharf

    Cons

    Senior Management Shys away from taking responsibility

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

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