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3 people found this helpful  

Dumbing down of Williams-Sonoma

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Casual Associate  in  Cambridge, MA (US)
Current Employee - Casual Associate in Cambridge, MA (US)

I have been working at Williams-Sonoma part-time for more than 5 years

Pros

-Hired when the associates were bright, fun, hardworking, and informed about product.
-40% is a good discount but as an associate, there are no benefits and the hourly is not competitive

Cons

-Product is getting stale and dated while prices going up too much without increased quality to customer.
-Customer service taking a huge nose-dive due in large part to all of the corporate directives
-Cutting hours, hiring inexperienced staff with no particular interest in kitchen stuff and given no training, useless "secret shopper"
-Slow and still antiquated computer systems
-Sloppy new dress code - what kind of first impression does an associate make who is dressed in sloppy jeans and a motley shirt. Let's go back to a classic look or moniter the dress of your staff better.
-Weekly scheduling is done last minute and hours are sporadic.
-Rarely promote from within at the store level
-Tracking individual sales does not promote team approach to selling
-Hawking for email, zip code, VISA etc.is annoying
-Too much favoritism and small-time power play that goes with many retail businesses

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Go back to what Chuck thought was important - sell a great product, put your people first, and give great customer service. All else follows.

Doesn't Recommend
Negative Outlook
No opinion of CEO

620 Other Employee Reviews for Williams-Sonoma (View Most Recent)

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Just when you think it can't get worse.....

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

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma part-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Great people--some of the best in this type of retail business
    Good products

    Cons

    Aggressively clueless upper management.
    Pressure to perform as a top tier comissioned sales person with no commission or incentive and a limited set of business tools (only notepads/paper, cryptic computer system).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Refocus on core business concepts like service and employee satisfaction. Bad financial deals on the new WS credit card have skewed priorities--$25 is not an incentive for a high end customer to sign up for a new credit card. Make it meaningful or don't do it--a transaction discount at the time of purchase would help. The holiday business has literally been "blown up" by pulling all payroll from stores. Sales numbers were down, but the decision to underserve customers at a critical time of year is reckless. Multple customers walked out in anger over the very busy weekend--years of building business and customer loyalty can be lost in a single season. Every season, WS becomes less special--the customers can get this stuff elsewhere. Don't fool yourself into thinking you can run a sophisticated clientelle-based business without any business intelligence tools--it's 2012. (And associates are not paid or treated well like the Nordstrom employees this approach is taken from.) Don't think that associates who build a strong clientelle (despite the limitaions) won't take their talents elsewhere when they wake up to the reality that they could make a living wage elsewhere. The knee jerk reactions in payroll management, discount/markdown strategy, are amateurish and inexcusable for a retailer with a pedigree like WS. I can only hope the board takes a hard look at leadership when the stock crashes post holiday (and it will--big time). They may realize that a good furniture buyer, who was in the right place at the right time may not have the fortitude, conviction (and love) to run a large organization with the values that built the Williams Sonoma brand. The hard decisions that demonstrate "people first" have not been made--she has not walked the walk of Howard or Chuck (or Gary!)--very sad.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 16 people found this helpful  

    After a blissful decade, I am now embarrassed to work at Williams-Sonoma.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - General Manager  in  Washington, DC (US)
    Current Employee - General Manager in Washington, DC (US)

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    -Great Discount
    -Mostly Fun, Energetic, Passionate Co-Workers
    -Awesome Products

    Cons

    For the first time in a decade of tenure, this week I became embarrassed to work for Williams-Sonoma. I don’t say that lightly-for many years I have laughed when recruiters from other companies have tried to lure me away, but I always knew that Williams-Sonoma Inc. was the gold standard. Not any more.

    It’s not that Williams-Sonoma was a perfect workplace; like anywhere, there have always been pros and cons. The difference was that previously there was not the disconnect that exists today between upper management and the field. There have been signs of these issues for over a year, but this week it became clear that the Williams-Sonoma culture that I used to love so much is in the past tense. Despite the fact that my store is on target for all payroll costs and earnings YTD, I and every single one of my fellow GM’s have been directed to cut our payroll this week and next to a minimum that we normally use during the slowest times of the year. I run a mid-volume store and tomorrow, a Saturday in December, I will run the store with myself and ONE other person all day. All of the things that my company has always said separates us from the competition is out the window. Need a gift wrap? Sorry, you’ll have to take some ‘giftwrap to go’. Buying a 15 piece set of cookware? Sorry, I won’t have staff to help you to your car because I literally will not have one extra person to do so. Need some one-on-one help with some new cutlery? Maybe Sur la Table can help you. No customer will be greeted when they enter the store tomorrow because I and my one other person will be at the register all day. I hope I don’t have to have a bathroom break. Incidentally, the previous guidelines from the same Saturday in previous years would call for 8-12 people working at any given time.

    We had a conference call earlier this week with an EVP of the company in which she demonstrated, with breathtaking clarity, her utter lack of understanding of our operational practices. She was literally instructing every GM in the company about computer processes for payroll management that don’t exist. Disturbing. I would crawl over broken glass for my DM and RVP, but there is a point at which the corporate leadership has to lead the culture, or else the culture dies. It’s dead.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    At this point I don't even know where to start. See above.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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