Williams-Sonoma Reviews

Updated 28 August 2014
Updated 28 August 2014
612 Reviews

2.7
612 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Williams-Sonoma President, CEO and Director Laura J. Alber
Laura J. Alber
253 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. 3 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
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    The company slogan is "Winning with talent" , it should be abusive & non appreciative of talent.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - General Manager  in  Miami, FL (US)
    Former Employee - General Manager in Miami, FL (US)

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

    Pros

    Great assortment of product and standard full time benefits.

    Cons

    Extremely poor quality of life for exempt managers. Extremely HIGH workload placed squarely on the backs of the exempt managers. Poor balance of payroll hours during 1st - 3rd quarter of fiscal calendar year. Their open door policy on discussing payroll opportunities is handled by their use of closing the door. Do not work for this company if you value a work life balance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Complete transparent discussing when recruiting and interviewing salary management candidates.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Outdated system, hard to please upper management

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma

    Pros

    discount on products, in a nice part of town

    Cons

    overworked schedules, uncomfortable seating, no permanent desks

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  5.  

    The worst waste of a year of my life!

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

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

    Pros

    My former co-workers. They made coming in every day worth it.
    Free coffee and tea.
    Clean building, climate controlled.

    Cons

    Favoritism abounds.
    Antiquated technology.
    No communication from upper management. Apparently the people actually taking the calls and speaking with the very upset customers that corporate lies to don't "need to know" anything.
    If you are considered a threat to your supervisors job, you get nothing from them. NOTHING.
    Awful point system for attendance. Seriously? You make people wait a WHOLE YEAR before a point comes off of their attendance? That makes the work/life balance you so proudly promote moot.
    Promoting the unqualified because you "like" them. It's business people, not a popularity contest!
    Clueless directors and a general manager that is getting played so hard by her favorites.
    Shoddy products that make for terrible calls.
    Age discrimination abounds.
    Allowing regular associates access to other associates performance reviews.
    Gossip is a way of life.
    No time frames from site to site. Customers have zero idea when they are going to be updated with information on their orders that cost thousands of dollars.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please please please read what I have wrote, learn from it and change it!
    There is a saying in the call center industry that you should learn and apply on a daily basis.
    "The only constant in a call center is change"
    Changing for the better. Improving your successful areas and revamping what is not working with improve both the customers experience with the service department but also to improve your employees morale.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 8 people found this helpful  

    When do I get to sell to my guests?

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

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I 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!

    Cons

    When 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 ManagementAdvice

    Enough 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    You Need to Open Your Eyes

    • 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 8 years

    Pros

    Co-workers are great to work with. Without them, the place would be nothing

    Cons

    Management styles, mangers, district managers all need to be knowledgable in the industry, not someone who does not know how to cook. Problem employees/managers need to be dealt with and not given empty threats so they continure the behavior. Shows poor skill level for running what used to be a million dollar store.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take a close look at what people are telling you. It's not a bunch of complaints, it's fact. You will run this business into the ground unless you look at past successes and continue that path. Just because you were successful at PBK does not mean you will be successful at WS. Listen and know your customers. Stop the foolish email campaigns and work on real skillset selling. Numbers are down from last year becasue of these changes. Financials don't lie.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Heartbreaking Disregard for Integrity

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

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

    Pros

    During my tenure, my GM peers and my store teams were some of the most engaging, caring and effective retailers I've ever had the pleasure of working with. Benefits, including time off, were competitive. The salaries were at the high end of retail expectations. The corporate culture was steeped in insightful realism and created an environment where the associates flourished at all levels, felt uniquely valued and took deep pride in being able to say "I work for Williams-Sonoma". Our guests (not clients) were able to trust us to provide them with the best information and service without any pressure to purchase. If they didn't purchase that day, they invariably would return to purchase shortly thereafter. It was the quality of leader in the store that drove a profitable and comping business through her or his staff. Well informed team members with team/store goals in mind resulted in success. The field leadership of the company respected suggestions and opinions in any form while holding the store management accountable in a responsible, respectful yet challenging manner. This was retail at its best and my hope is for Williams-Sonoma to one day be so again.

    Cons

    Sadly, My tenure ended due to the complete 180 degree change in corporate culture. This, in turn, changed everything about the quality of the guest experience and of the associate work experience. Unrealistic work load and related deadlines are the norm. The new philosophy of "Push for more than is possible and your result will be maximized." is desperate and exhausting. The micro-management within some Districts results in a degrading work environment. The practice of shifting a high percentage of store management from Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids/Teen in order to "fix" Williams-Sonoma made many tenured managers wary of their job security. I have watched 4 DMs in my region and at least 14 GMs in my district resign in the last 18 months. Most are now very successful and very happy at other retailers. Training and personal growth opportunities are well-intended but not considered a priority. Expect a 50+ hour work week! every week, in order to meet the minimum store performance expectations.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Recommit, reconfigure and renew or resign.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Director

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

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

    Pros

    Innovative, Creative, Marketing Experts, Leaders in Product Development

    Cons

    I never had a bad day at Williams-Sonoma.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep it up. Stay positive. Drive Results

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    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
  11. 6 people found this helpful  

    Good place to work part time

    • 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 more than 8 years

    Pros

    Flexible scheduling, although now you are required to work three days a week
    Excellent discount across all company brands
    Learn a lot about the products and cooking
    Great team at the store makes it a fun place to work

    Cons

    New leadership is changing the policies of what made this brand so great for consumers.
    Having on-call shifts every week and only being able to call one hour before shift makes it difficult to schedule other jobs.
    Long hours during holidays and little training of seasonal workers makes job difficult, as well as payroll cuts that leave you without enough people working critical days.
    Can be difficult to deal with rude customers, especially for the pay.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop cutting the hours, especially in the stock room We have not had a full time stock person for 5+ years and it shows. We cannot unpack boxes, stock and keep the back clean without dedicated staff.
    Change the on-call policy--having to wait till one hour before shift is ridiculous and is a time waster for many of us, keeping us from other jobs.
    Create a better tool for communication with casual people, especially emailing our schedules during the holidays.
    Bring back the contests where we actually win something!
    Eroding the corporate culture from 10 years ago--where we were there for the customer--is going to lose us customers. Already they are going to Macy's, Costco and other brands rather than Williams-Sonoma, because we aren't offering to be there for them. People go to Nordstrom's and Williams-Sonoma and pay higher prices because of how we care for them.

    Recommends

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