Williams-Sonoma Reviews

Updated July 29, 2015
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Williams-Sonoma President, CEO and Director Laura J. Alber
Laura J. Alber
74 Ratings

Pros
  • Great Product Great discount Great contests (in 87 reviews)

  • Work life balance - is great as long as you get what you need done (in 26 reviews)

Cons
  • Do not work for this company if you value a work life balance (in 31 reviews)

  • Upper management always want more but don't pay more (in 39 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

130 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Sales Associate

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Phoenix, AZ
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Phoenix, AZ

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Reasonable discount. Decent product line.

    Cons

    Typical terrible retail management experience. Most mgrs have NO mngment training or exper, only promoted because they know the 'right' people or been working for company a long time. Corporate Management / HR totally useless, never responded to serious problems. Discount is OK, but its min wage, and low hours so good luck affording anything worthwhile. Huge turn-over, but poor scheduling, megalomaniac managers, unreasonable sales goals, low pay is the immediate cause.

    Advice to Management

    Send all Corporate HR management to training courses or hire new management that will bring in fresh ideas. Sack or retrain all current store management. There are good people who enjoy working for the company because of the product, but are forced to leave because of terrible management, low pay, limited hours and some unreasonable expectations.


  2. Helpful (2)

    Don't settle - you can do better!

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

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    I am only writing this because it's obvious that there are false reviews to inflate the company rating. I didn't love working for WS, nor did I hate it. It was a typical retail experience. Like this forum, only numbers matter, not people and experience. The economy is better: you can find a better place to work with better pay and growth opportunity.

    Cons

    Everything that has been said here is true. The pressure put on the overall team to deliver results is unrealistic. Only managers who know how to manipulate the numbers move forward. It's such a joke.

    Advice to Management

    Why? No one listens or cares. If you think they do, you're a fool. The model feels dated and hopeless. The In-home initiative is absurd. Oh wait, here's some advice: What about canceling the ridiculous manager conference and investing that money in training?


  3. Helpful (5)

    Totally Disconnected

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - General Manager in South Portland, ME
    Former Employee - General Manager in South Portland, ME

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great discounts and loved my staff!!

    Cons

    Unfortunately, upper management and corporate have expectations that are well beyond unattainable and unrealistic.

    Advice to Management

    Care enough to have an exit interview and listen to the feedback!


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  5. Helpful (10)

    I left, and you should too.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Store Manager in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Associate Store Manager in Houston, TX

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    I loved the product and the people that I worked with. loyalty with my staff kept me there until I had to decide for redefine my priorities.

    Cons

    It's a pity that WS has slid so far downhill. I used to get so uncomfortable when customers would ask if the business is closing down. Now I wonder, is it? After awhile, I had to stop thinking that my loyalty to my team was worth coming to work to validate. I left, and we are still dear friends. I now work for a competitor, and have used the same skill set that I brought to WS but am earning commission plus salary in addition to having multiple employees on the sales floor. Sadly, at WS, we were placed everywhere BUT in front of customers on the floor. We were on the phone "dialing for dollars," emailing old customers in the hopes they'd return someday, out in the community on forced "in-home" experiments, and drowning in promo lists/papers/memos/updates/markdowns, plus back-to-back floor sets. At my new job, my duty is to sell, which I do, and the company supports my valuable time on the sales floor. Sure, we have other duties. But when the doors are open for business, there are absolutely no activities that do not involve actively selling to each customer. WS is led by Laura Alber, who has a very poor reputation in the retail world. I hear a lot of snickering. I didn't know how bad it was until I left! Yikes. It's such a shame...WS used to be a really big deal, and it's become the laughingstock of its competitors. I'm almost embarassed to mention it now that I'm through the interview process at my new job. I felt compelled to write this review in the hopes that dismayed and deflated WS employees seek better jobs, for better companies and "vote with their feet." WS panics, grabs the wheel of their broken-down jalopy and veers in any direction that might work. Other companies have a map, a plan, and reliable transportation. I'm afraid WS is getting left in the dust. Such a pity and very sad to watch (now from afar.)

    Advice to Management

    Pay your sales people commission and let them sell. Use corporate cubicle-dwellers to clientele and call, so the only "to-do" during store business hours is to SELL. Stop experimenting and role-playing as in-home experts (what is that, even? What are you thinking?). Pay for email capture: $5 to customer for their email (or some other bonus) or accept the "no." Don't punish employees for crappy store sales by cutting their hours/paycheck. Hire cleaning crews so that trained sales staff isn't on their hands and knees with a bucket and scrub brush in the kitchen, the bathroom, the sales floor. UPDATE YOUR EMBARASSING DOS-based TECHNOLOGY! Stop borrowing technology (smartphones that are simply a billion times more efficient) and supplies from your employees. Enough with the Corporate Kumbaya. Pay for the store you wish to see by giving payroll hours (Currently, you are purchasing messy stores and deflated employees). And most importantly, realize that you are getting dominated by companies who figured all of this out long ago. WS is an experiment now, and one that is not working.


  6. Helpful (7)

    General manager

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

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Associate discount. Building relationships with your team & customers. Vendor interaction.

    Cons

    No payroll to achieve the high expectations given per corporate. Well unless your having a corporate visit & then it's use all that you can. You will pay for the overages in the months to come keeping you from making your monthly bonus. No work/life balance. They micro manage every part of your job. Always reactive to business & expect your whole team to report to work at a moments notice to make store changes. Upper management is rude & not supportive. Hr is a total joke & always fault the associate when upper management has done wrong. Pips are a dime a dozen to force your out. To many negatives!! Run from this company.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your teams running your stores.


  7. Helpful (2)

    Home Stylist

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Home Stylist in Minneapolis, MN
    Current Employee - Home Stylist in Minneapolis, MN

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The employee discount is 40 percent.

    Cons

    I don't make enough money to take advantage of the employee discount!!!

    Advice to Management

    High turnover. Invest in your employees with fair compensation and benefits. We are the face of the company. Take notes from Howard Shultz- Starbucks CEO.


  8. Helpful (7)

    Rampant with nepotism and leadership lacks imagination.

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

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    A great collection of brands that sell themselves. 40% employee discounts were a great perk. A good place to learn about the retail landscape.

    Cons

    There are many old timers in leadership and senior positions and they hire their friends and former colleagues and also protect them and their incompetence. There is a complete lack of imagination when it comes to technology and all decisions come from the top. The processes that are in place just slows down everything and any form of constructive criticism is not acceptable. All the good talent either gets burned out and leaves or is literally forced out. Base salaries are sub par by the SF Bay Area standards and bonuses are a joke.

    Advice to Management

    Please open your eyes and ears and wake up to where the world is headed around you. When you use fancy industry buzzwords, please have an understanding of what it means and how to implement them or if its even feasible to implement them.


  9. Helpful (8)

    Lots of cons

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

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Friendly people, good salary, good office

    Cons

    Horrible work-life balance, terrible senior management, no support for thinking outside of the box, ridiculous systems and reporting tools

    Advice to Management

    Treat people with respect. Horror stories abound of how senior management talk to people behind doors, and I saw it first hand.


  10. Helpful (7)

    West Elm of Williams Sonoma

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

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma part-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Upon first impression this company seems inviting, progressive and ethical. This serves to draw in the most wonderful people I have worked alongside of. They will, each and every one of them, eventually suffer the cons.

    Cons

    Being lied to about promotions, raises, work status, and how many hours an employee has to file an injury claim, having hours cut to better serve shareholder profits, being classified as terminated after establishing leave of absence, an established culture of management and corporate representatives attacking subordinates character as well as "public shaming", rescheduling employees within hours posted without notice, chronic lateness by key holders upon opening leaving employees for sometimes hours on end to wait outside premise until their arrival with no ramifications to said key holders, exposure to dangerously unsafe conditions and substances treated as unimportant in lieu of "the bottom dollar" and a cyclical hiring trend evident of a painfully edifying turnover rate in which new employees are subjected to all of the above said (in their naive tolerance of such) with abandon until they secure employment elsewhere.

    Advice to Management

    This company is destroying itself from the top down. If the shareholders and upper management are seeking this end in the name of instant gratification then so be it. Stop pandering to your subordinates that it is their lack of effort as to why there is no oxygen in space. Read the companies founders commandments and reconsider your slash and burn agenda.


  11. Helpful (9)

    Our safety is being sacrificed for payroll dollars

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Store Manager in Salt Lake (Australia)
    Current Employee - Associate Store Manager in Salt Lake (Australia)

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    I love the people that I work with. We all fight the good fight together and keep trying to make it work despite all of the land mines we face. We've bonded. Great customers, too!

    Cons

    Unsafe work environment, which will be brought to the attention of upper management. Nearly every honest review (not fake, corporate attempts to raise the ratings on Glassdoor; yes, we know you do it!) describes the negative effects from lack of payroll. Here's something that causes even more concern than all of the other negative consequences of payroll cuts...safety. Often, we have only two employees in the store for the day. When one of us is in the stockroom to pull product, how am I to do so safely when no one else is there to help me hoist a large box while I am standing on a ladder? We all know the guidelines: hand the box to someone standing below you. Ask for help if something is too heavy or unwieldy. Use proper ladder technique by having someone closeby when dealing with delicate objects without slipping or falling. How are we to do this when the only other employee in the store has to remain on the sales floor? So now, I am being tasked with risking my own personal safety in order to save a few bucks on payroll. Workman's comp or lawsuits will cost the company far more than whatever sales are gained or payroll saved. Sure, there are times when there are more than two employees in the store. But on 220 hours, there are plenty of times when that is not the case. And those are the times when the company is willingly risking our safety and massive monetary loss of dollars. It is an outright insult to shave off a 4 or 6 hour shifts of a cheap sales associate, who usually make roughly $8/ hr. So, for 32 dollars, you are risking huge losses, and our personal safety? Someone could fall and break their back. Someone could drop a box on their head. Think about it: is the company that desperate for dollars? No, of course not. They are desperate to maintain stock value, entice the shareholders, and keep those personal jets shiny and in motion. It is disgusting. Why should I risk myself for you? There have been many times when we have simply said that we do not have the item in stock. Offer to RTC, and when the customer inevitably chooses not to, as they often do, it's just an "oh well!" moment for us. Not my problem; we are not going to risk it for the sale. No way. There are a whole host of other "cons," which have been thoroughly covered by other honest employees: the decrepit and embarrassing technology, the ridiculous floor sets, having to paint and do janitorial work, eternal emails, in-home expectations, and oh dear Lord, the stupid email capture. The list goes on. But nothing is as problematic as our basic right to safety in the workplace. Plus, think about Loss Prevention: when there are two employees in the store, floor coverage is such that product WILL and HAS walked out the front door. We have all seen it happen. Priorities are so backwards in this company! I'm quite sure that higher-ups know this; the question becomes, is anyone influential or effective in communicating and solving? Or is the overall message from the top down to like it or lump it? I think we all know the answer. It's a shame, and a very risky, costly one at that.

    Advice to Management

    You really need to be honest and look at the problems that lack of payroll create. It's real, and it could easily cost the company millions. Know that we feel a general sense of disgust at the low value you place on your teams, all in the name of bonuses for the top tier and happy shareholders. You have an obligation to us; please take steps to put your money into payroll, so that your stores stay open. Please think of our safety. Know that nothing would make us happier than to put an apron on you and watch you struggle like we do...



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