There are newer employer reviews for Williams-Sonoma

4 people found this helpful  

Enjoy the employee discount!

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

I worked at Williams-Sonoma

Pros

Fantastic brand and opportunity to be surrounded by beautiful things. Williams-Sonoma employees really do live the lifestyle of sophisticated, worldly, affluent people (just like their customers), and it can be very inspiring to be part of this organization. Also, in spite of the recession, Williams-Sonoma is well-managed from a fiscal standpoint; while other retailers are going bankrupt, this company is likely to survive. And the 40% employee discount doesn't hurt.

Cons

The company-wide downsides are likely related to Williams-Sonoma's very disciplined fiscal management. Benefits are not very generous, also this is in part because they offer the same benefits package to corporate employees as the thousands of retail store employees (unlike Wal-Mart, for example, which is generous at HQ but stingy at the stores). Computers are practically ancient, with few rank-and-file employees having laptops, let alone any other advanced hardware. IT systems are also creaky, again due in part to cost-control (although the company's inability to attract top IT talent because of Silicon Valley being right next door also plays a major role). Within specific teams, the company is notorious for gridlock, politics, drama and obstructiveness. Finally, there's also a preponderance of "Marina girls" -- named after a district in San Francisco known for uber-blonde, slightly ditzy, recent college grads....which can be a very good thing for some, or a terrible thing for others.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Serious attention needs to be given to streamlining processes and improving IT systems -- and not fancy solutions that take 4-5 years to roll out. Employee frustration often occurs because it can take 10 minutes to do a single manual task (that needs to be repeated literally thousands of times) that should be executed automatically by an IT system (e.g., re-pricing thousands of markdown SKU's.) This impacts morale, and impairs employees' abilities to be intelligent and strategic in their jobs.

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630 Other Employee Reviews for Williams-Sonoma (View Most Recent)

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    "Many perks... but WS losing edge to other companies due to training and operation efficiencies"

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Former Employee
    Former Employee - Former Employee

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma

    Pros

    The people you work with & product

    Cons

    No training consistency, operations outdated

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hard to say... On a store level... the field teams have been getting burned out for a few years and there is a cultural shift happening...which means high demands... low payroll. People that work for WS love their job... tha's why they put up with it so long... and all retailers have their share of issues to work on. It seems as though their has to be a change in how Williams-Sonoma (cooking stores) does their business... It has gotten so detailed and mircroscopic...but there is no adequate way to efficiently run the stores to get a moment of peace. Besides cooking every hour of the day... cleaning... serving people...cleaning the store... stocking.... and doing stock by yourself... on 2-3 people... there is little reward at the end of your shift. INVEST MONEY IN CONSISTENT TRAINING FOR MGRS TO HELP THEM DO THEIR JOB BETTER AND STREAMLINE BEST PRACTICES/EXPECTATIONS... YOU ARE LOSING YOUR BEST PEOPLE MORE AND MORE. SOMETHING I THOUGHT WOULD NOT HAPPEN TO THIS COMPANY.

    Recommends
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  2. 4 people found this helpful  

    WAKE UP!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - General Manager in North Charleston, SC
    Former Employee - General Manager in North Charleston, SC

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma

    Pros

    Empowerment to do what it takes to make the customer happy when a customer situation arises. Good quality products. Generous Employee Discount at all divisions of WSI, Decent Health benefit packages. Hearing the history of Chuck Williams and Howard Lester and how their unique partnership grew the company.

    Cons

    Corporate does not ask feedback from the field. If an employee does give feedback it is ignored. Constantly asking employees to do more with less, but does not waiver on store standards. Refusal to see that the extra workload with not enough payroll to execute really does impact the business. Store standards and service are so important and yes...payroll is an issue with every retailer, it really is a fine line between what is realistic and what is not before the business is effected. Like asking stores to execute cooking classes and daily cooking Demonstrations even though there are only 2 people to run the floor. It may be bringing customers thru the door, but if no one is there to wait on them what is the point?

    No real succession plans. Very little room for growth. Nothing between store manager and DM with plenty of people waiting in line to move up.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to people in the field. Not only listen...but take the advice. Even if it is some minor request/need from the field. Employees just want to know that they are being listened too, no matter what company. Keep employees engaged. For most people it is not about the money if they feel as if they are working towards a goal as well as feeling valued. Put together task forces with some of the managers who are out there to ask for advice about certain topics. IT DOESN'T COST ANY MONEY to do that and managers would feel as if they were contributing and in turn feel valued which at the end of the day will make people work harder. MAKING AN EMPLOYEE FEEL VALUED DOES NOT COST A CENT AND THE PAYOFF IS HUGE!

    As far as driving the business is concerned, there needs to be more training on visual/restock execution. Corporate visual is so stringent with the visual packed that stores do not know how to execute features when there is no direction or out of merchandise that has been called for. If stores can't do something exactly like the picture that is sent over...they have no idea what to do, or they are afraid to stray from the direction. In which case they leave something empty or it does not look appealing. One would think that it is simple to do...but it is not. Not everybody has that vision. Stores need training on how to react to the needs of the business while still staying within the company guidelines and standards.

    There needs to be a new focus and that comes with training. Stores spend so much energy on what they don't have...that they don't see what they do have and how to work with that. This is a direct result of Senior Mgt telling stores" don't change from the direction that we sent over" or on a visit saying "why did you do that"? Once again...it is important to follow company directive...it is that way for a reason but when stores cannot follow for whatever reason....need to teach them how to make it work. This WILL effect the bottom line.

    No opinion of CEO
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