Williams-Sonoma

  www.williams-sonomainc.com
  www.williams-sonomainc.com
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Williams-Sonoma Reviews

Updated September 12, 2014
Updated September 12, 2014
619 Reviews
2.7
619 Reviews
Rating Trends

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

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great discount for to enable everyone to spend their salary in store (in 84 reviews)

  • Best Reason to work here is the employee discount and the Sample Sales (in 54 reviews)


Cons
  • Work/life balance is often unbalanced especially during the holiday seasons (in 30 reviews)

  • Upper management never visits the stores- causing a complete disconnect from stores to corporate (in 37 reviews)

More Highlights

93 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Upgrade technology and ditch coupons

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate Store Manager  in  Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Associate Store Manager in Atlanta, GA

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

    Pros

    I love my co-workers and my managers.

    Cons

    Store systems are ancient. Registers, Store Wide Web system, printers and faxes are impractical and obsolete. Very frustrating. WS does not provide the proper technology/equipment that I need in order to help WS customers. Promotions are degrading the brand. Customers are treating the store like a flea market and berating me for not giving them extra discounts. They have been conditioned by WS to expect discounts and deals. Because they get so many emails, they expect flexibility on what item can be discounted. I have had three people this week ask me if WS is going out of business. I am beginning to search for a new job that provides me with the tools, payroll, and backing to support my responsibilities. Know that if you work for WS, your main job will be to work around technological obstacles. Are you willing to be frustrate day in, day out?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Update your technology. It is becoming a major issue in the stores. Change the website, as the new look/visual is clinical instead of warm/inviting. The overall tone has become very corporate, unfriendly, greedy, and alienating high-end customers. Stop making employees accountable for people who don't want to give their email. Please realize that it does appear that the company is going out of business.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Room For Improvement

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Temporary Assistant Buyer  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Temporary Assistant Buyer in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    They paid well.
    Had a good discount.

    Cons

    The people who worked there treated other employees horribly unless they were friends.
    Lied when telling me the temporary position had ended.
    No good management.
    No good training programs.
    Would take time to help you.
    Snobby people.
    People were leaving left and right because of how people treated each other and the work ethics.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Change the people you have working for you.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    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
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    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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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    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
    Former Employee - Fsa in Las Vegas, NV

    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
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    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
    Former Employee - Seasonal Sales Associate in Las Vegas, NV

    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
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Horrific Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  The Colony, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in The Colony, TX

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

    Pros

    The 40% off discount is ALL there is that's good.

    Cons

    The point system is childish, someone certainly needs to unionize this company. They promise you roses to get you to commit & deliver NOTHING. The good, educated people need not apply, this company is seeking low income people that will work for nothing that lives pay check to pY check, sadly enough.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I've been with this company 1.5 years, make millions of dollars in revenue for this company and denied a small raise? It's sad but I am too educated to be here & the company is finally showing me this. The revolving door I have seen while working in 3 different departments would certainly not put a smile on Chuck's face- if only he knew the good people that have been lost because they have shown a sense of intelligence, I'm sure he would've never allowed it. The management in this building feels threatened by anyone who has some wits about them & they find a way to run them off. Sad way to run a business & it's unfortunate a company held to the standards W&S is....that this is allowed.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    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

  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    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
    Former Employee - FSA/Furniture Associate in Las Vegas, NV

    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
  10. 4 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
    Former Employee - General Manager in Miami, FL

    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
  11. 4 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

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