Williams-Sonoma

  www.williams-sonomainc.com
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Williams-Sonoma Reviews

Updated Jul 29, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

2.9 581 reviews

43% Approve of the CEO

Williams-Sonoma President, CEO and Director Laura J. Alber

Laura J. Alber

(236 ratings)

44% of employees recommend this company to a friend

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
581 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
in
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Overall, a good company to work for

    General Manager (Current Employee) Sydney

    ProsAllows autonomy, financially secure, well paying

    Consnot as flexible and open minded as they should be

    Advice to Senior Managementopen up to new ideas in new countries

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Corporate

    Part Time Sales Associate (Former Employee) Atlanta, GA (US)

    ProsI loved my coworkers, I had no issues with the management team, and I completely adored my job! The discount on items was ok.

    ConsThe upper management was WAY too corporate. They would rather spend money on the company jet and store visits than on incentives and whatnot. They also felt that the employees were expendable. I guess they actually were.

    Advice to Senior ManagementSometimes it's ok to ask questions rather than just fire people. And some people would rather have a paycheck than a discount. Especially if the discount isn't THAT great.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    I feel good about what I do, and I love my co-workers, but none of us are ever going to get promoted.

    Stock Associate (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA (US)

    ProsThe people are great
    The management team mostly tries to make you feel good about what you do
    You're allowed to be pretty independent

    ConsRaises are really, really small
    Promotions basically don't happen
    Limitations on employee discount - doesn't stack with most other promotions
    Lacks a culture of cross-training, especially when you're seasonal

    Advice to Senior ManagementInvest more time, money and development into your team

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Just not for me

    FSA/Furniture Customer Service Representative (Former Employee) Las Vegas, NV (US)

    ProsYou can look on their products online and great 40% off discount.

    ConsTraining starts way to early, the point system is unfair.....they like to embarass you and walk you out and then come back and get your belongings ...no dignity even when its a termination 5 days before christmas...they are cut throat and if you are not favored you will not be spared.....turn over rate is to high

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    Great discount for a part-time job

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsDiscount discount discount flexibility part-time

    Consholiday hours and schedule are difficult

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Great people, fun place to work

    Sales Associate (Former Employee) Portland, OR (US)

    ProsGreat people, fun place/culture, good discount, reputable products.

    ConsThey lost me when they rolled out their company credit card they wanted to push on customers, along with high sales goals without any sort of incentives.

    Advice to Senior ManagementFor paying your employees such a small salary, don't expect your numbers to be where you want them to be. Also stop having associates ask so many ridiculous and daunting questions when customers are checking out (i.e., what's your zip code, e-mail address, would you like to open a credit card, etc.) makes for a frustrating shopping experience for all parties - customer, associate, and long line of people just wanting to pay for their product(s) and get on with their day.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Disorganized, profit oriented.

    Associate (Current Employee) Las Vegas, NV (US)

    ProsAssociates get good discount, even on most sale items. Most associates and some of the managers were nice to work with.

    ConsInconsistent schedule. Poor distribution of hours to associates - favorites get more hours. Lower pay in comparison to other retailers.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTreat associates decently and fairly. Invest time training associates instead of constantly having to hire to replace those who left out of frustration.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Director

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA (US)

    ProsInnovative, Creative, Marketing Experts, Leaders in Product Development

    ConsI never had a bad day at Williams-Sonoma.

    Advice to Senior ManagementKeep it up. Stay positive. Drive Results

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

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

    Casual Associate (Current Employee)

    ProsThe 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

    Cons1) 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 Senior Management1) 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    When do I get to sell to my guests?

    Anonymous (Current Employee)

    ProsI love my store, it feels like my second home. I get to play with quality product, cookware, electrics, etc. My customers respect my knowledge and all of my coworkers are intelligent, considerate. I feel valued by my manager and my DM. I get to cook and run Culinary, which is a thrill!

    ConsWhen do I get to sell to my guests? On 200 hours, it is one manager and one associate all throughout the day. I am running like a chicken trying to do floor set, webinars, conference calls, cleaning, clienteling (more on that in a sec) fielding literally dozens of corporate emails a day. My associate is trying to unpack Shipment, replenish and put out samples. All the while, petrified that a Secret Shopper is going to come in and spot us scurrying around! Easily 75% of my day is spent responding to or participating in corporate detail that leaves me feeling tied to a ball and chain. 200 hours for payroll is NOT ENOUGH to run the business! You are hearing this from many stores because it is true. We are struggling. Sales numbers will sink, that's a reality when we are tied up on all of these tasks with no team on the floor. It is very frustrating when we get a flood of emails (both on our outlook email PLUS StoreMail!) with immediate, large-scale changes to projects we were already struggling with. The computer system and POS systems are ancient and freeze/crash constantly. I have to call store support almost daily. So frustrating when our equipment cannot handle the workload. Please give us tools for success! Many of us are working on our own time, verboten, yet necessary to meet the demands, because we cherish our store and desperately want to succeed. Exempt managers are working 60+ hours a week and still feel behind the 8-ball. Are we on the Titanic? It feels like it. We can field calls, webinars, emails on levers, drivers, channels, and promos all day, but unless we have actual time to dedicate to SELLING, it's all just one big moot point. Doesn't anyone out there see the irony in this

    Advice to Senior ManagementEnough with clienteling. The SWW system is ancient and freezes up. I am tied to my computer emailing and calling people who MIGHT come in to the store in the future, versus actively engaging with my guests that are actually in the store at that moment. I have gotten so many complaints because people say please, take me off your list! Very embarrassing, but we must meet our weekly quota. It comes across as desperate and the guests can smell that a mile away. They are already receiving multiple EDMs from corporate a day, and frankly do not want to be pestered by their local store associate...puts us in an awkward position of responding to them feeling imposed upon. Also, too many promotions! Last week, we had 32 active promotions. How are we, or our customers, supposed to remember all of these efficiently? It's lowering the value of the brand, when everything at some point or another is on promo. Customers are getting confused and think we are pulling a fast one when they come in to store from an EDM and the promo has already ended. The savvy customer is being trained to watch for sales and therefore limit their purchases to a future date at a lower price. Not good. Please reconsider demos and food...(and I LOVE Culinary) but it is a slap in the face to spend $200 a week on free samples when we don't have enough payroll for even one more 4-hour shift in the day. No matter how frugal we are, the food cost (and displays, with all real food and flowers that have to be changed out frequently) is astronomical. Put the money in your team instead for right now, till we get back on track. Scale back on the grass-fed beef expectations and be a bit realistic about this.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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