Williams-Sonoma Reviews

Updated 30 August 2014
Updated 30 August 2014
614 Reviews

2.7
614 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Williams-Sonoma President, CEO and Director Laura J. Alber
Laura J. Alber
255 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

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  1.  

    Little support

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - ACM
    Current Employee - ACM

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

    Pros

    The company offers great benefits from insurance to retirement plans. Cross brand discounts are great at 40% off retail. Rewarding associates trough contests and recognition of tenure is a nice touch.

    Cons

    Leadership can develop great initiatives but have no concept of the working conditions at the retail level. Expecting 2 people to run a store ( FOH, BOH ) is insane. I have had the pleasure of working at more than one brand of WSI and have experienced more disconnect with this brand. Disappointed in the leadership of this company but thankful for the experience and growth.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider the back end of an initiative. How will it be accomplished while both challenging our teams but realistically able to be completed and supported?
    Stop creating new visual sets every 3 weeks, they can't be done at current payroll restrictions. Consider creating signage that doesn't change every new set but carries over. Stop wasting food on props and let's cross brand with props. Live branches cut and mailed to stores to use in vases, really!!!
    What a waste of money.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Corporate

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Part Time Sales Associate  in  Atlanta, GA (US)
    Former Employee - Part Time Sales Associate in Atlanta, GA (US)

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma part-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

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

    Cons

    The 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 ManagementAdvice

    Sometimes 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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

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

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

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

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Raises 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 ManagementAdvice

    Invest more time, money and development into your team

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Just not for me

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

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

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Training 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

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

    Great people, fun place to work

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

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma part-time for more than a year

    Pros

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

    Cons

    They 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 ManagementAdvice

    For 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    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

  8. 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
  9.  

    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
  10.  

    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
  11.  

    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

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