Waterstone's Reviews | Glassdoor.co.uk

Waterstone's Reviews

Updated 13 August 2018
176 reviews

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2.7
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Waterstone's Managing Director James Daunt
James Daunt
81 Ratings

176 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "It also allowed me to get a load of new books with my staff discount" (in 29 reviews)

  • "Working with books, in a lovely atmosphere with lovely colleagues" (in 13 reviews)

Cons
  • "Many stores have only one member of staff for most of the day" (in 18 reviews)

  • "Minimum wage for lots of responsibilities" (in 16 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great"

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

    I worked at Waterstone's (More than a year)

    Pros

    Generous retail salary, great employees and job tasks

    Cons

    Lack of communication with management at times


  2. "Bookseller"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Bookseller
    Former Employee - Senior Bookseller
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Waterstone's part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Staff discount

    Get access to loads of knowledge about the book industry as well as learning loads about books

    Bookshop work is great as you can interact with customers

    Fellow colleagues were great

    Cons

    After about a year and a half working there and the cafe in my store opened, almost all my shifts were spent working in the cafe - which I wouldn’t mind if it was the job I’d actually applied for

    Sales targets can be quite demanding depending on the market your store is located in

    Very few opportunities for those working full time to advance in the company

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Bookseller"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Waterstone's full-time

    Pros

    Great colleagues, friendly working environment

    Cons

    Paid me for my first 2 months 3 months late due to payroll issues


  4. "Not as nice as you'd think"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Waterstone's full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Free proof copies of books, good discounts on books, nice to work with people with a love of books

    Cons

    Too much is asked of booksellers, management is constantly changing the expectations, constantly understaffed but are then expected to be delivering outstanding customer service and planning amazing events and to have the store looking immaculate but we can barely serve the customers there's so few of us most days. Very frustrating.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in staff. Stop cutting hours.


  5. "Books"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Waterstone's full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Good staff discount, nice people to work with

    Cons

    Poor pay, no career prospects

    Advice to Management

    Pay staff decent wage. Listen to experienced staff. Give more independence to shops.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Constant drudgery"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Lead Bookseller in Market Harborough, England
    Former Employee - Lead Bookseller in Market Harborough, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Waterstone's full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Free proof reading books
    The staff discount

    Cons

    Poor pay
    Poor working conditions
    Poor treatment
    Atmosphere of bullying
    Too many middle managers
    Back breaking work
    Nonexistent health and safety
    No prospects for promotion
    No praise for a job well done
    Written off as management material after becoming a parent

    Advice to Management

    There is absolutely no respect for the staff on the shop floor by the middle management or by James Daunt. It seems that the company suffers from a real "them and us" mentality, whereby those that work in the operations departments view the shop floor staff with utter distain. I was a lead bookseller, assistant manager, branch manager and then returned as senior bookseller after having children, giving up almost a decade of my working life to a company which started off as being wonderful to work for but went rapidly downhill after being sold and cost cutting measures were enforced.
    The cleaning contracts were cancelled and Booksellers were expected to clean the stores on top of their other duties (outside of store hours, unpaid). The totes were often delivered late (again, strictly no over time was paid), totes often weighed in excess of the h&s guidelines, putting Booksellers at risk.
    Our branch had 5 managers in a very short amount of time, some left due to mental health issues, others took voluntary redundancy when they saw how rapidly the company was changing for the worse.

    In all, sales are considered priority over all else, the upper echelons of management view the lowly shop staff as being a nuisance, the tills and HHTs aren't fit for purpose, the intranet Compass/Watson is beyond unusable and the work is soul destroying.
    I jumped ship and have very few happy memories of working for Waterstones because of the way the staff are treated. My branch always did well, as we are based in a small, upper class market town but in the immortal words of James Daunt "any shop doing well is by happy coincidence, not by hard work" and with that line in one of his emails, I knew it was time for me to leave.

    I would absolutely not recommended working here to anyone, you are expected to be fully flexible, without any other commitments, hobbies or life. The pay is appalling considering the amount of knowledge you are expected to have and you cannot take time off to suit you, it must suit the entire cluster (a group of several shops).


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Great Work, Bad Company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Bookseller in London, England
    Former Employee - Senior Bookseller in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Waterstone's full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Working with books.
    - Making amazing friends with same-minded colleagues.
    - Receiving advanced copies of books yet to be published.

    Cons

    - I received no employment contract throughout my employment, which was 1 year and 5 months (and not for a lack of trying to get one).
    - There's often one person on the shop floor, leaving you with a stressful amount of tasks that can't be accomplished.
    - Have been asked to skip my lunch breaks many times, because staff has been placed in the back-of-house disproportionately, leaving the floor unattended.
    - I was told I was not progressing, because I was not actively doing overtime work outside of my shift hours.
    - In my personal experience, promotions are made on a highly subjective basis. I have observed staff members not being progressed for two years with no reason, other than the manager simply not liking them.
    - You can only receive your pay slips if you have Internet Explorer on a Windows computer.
    - Payroll sent my P45 to an address I had changed a year prior. When I asked what they could do about this, they were very reluctant to fix the situation, despite the fact it was their mistake. I still haven't received the document.
    - In fact, forget about any formal documentation. No contract, no sick days, no holiday requests, no pay slips, no P45.
    - No staff bonuses.

    Advice to Management

    Take care of your employees. Don't use them as a pair of hands, use them as people.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Oh boy..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Bookseller in Corby, Northamptonshire, East Midlands, England
    Former Employee - Senior Bookseller in Corby, Northamptonshire, East Midlands, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Waterstone's part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Discount
    Proof reads
    Is a book shop! You can enjoy the wonderful stuff!

    Cons

    *salary is poor.
    *communication is atrocious
    *management is not existant
    *you find yourself covering for managerial roles, without the pay!
    *issues with equipment are ongoing. This affects the shop's security and integrity and staff safety at all times!
    *you rely on a cluster system that affects your holidays, the sick covers and the movement of people within shops.
    *if management likes you? You will do great! If not? Then prepare yourself!
    *in 2 years 6 managers. What does that say????
    *your flexibility has to be extreme. To the point you find yourself covering constantly. Which is fine and good, but leaves you 0 chance to live beyond the shop.
    *no offers of progression or full time.
    * book of the month became a pressure building scheme. No matter how much the shop makes, the book of the month is the only thing that matters. And frankly some choices are absolutely poor!

    Advice to Management

    Learn to respect the hard work of your employees. Praise their hard work and the fact they are covering for the lack of an actual manager. Promote the people who are willing to put their back to the hard work, don't push them away. Pay them a just salary, get rid of the useless middle management! Pay them their bonus! Focus on the strenght of your employees!


  9. "Waterstones is much sought after as a place to work but the work is exhausting and the pay is terrible. Be warned .."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Bookseller in Brighton, England
    Current Employee - Senior Bookseller in Brighton, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Waterstone's full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Staff discount, get to see all the new books

    Cons

    Total lack of rewards for hard work. Awful awful pay, long hours.

    Advice to Management

    Change your pay. Or you will lose people


  10. "Seasonal Bookseller"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    -Surrounded by books
    -Pleasant environment to work in
    -Supportive and cooperative management and staff
    - 50% Discount

    Cons

    -understaffed, you're expected to single-handedly complete the work of several people.
    -requires complete flexibility throughout week


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