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Williams-Sonoma will never be the same without Howard Lester

Assistant Store Manager (Current Employee) Boston, MA

ProsGreat discount across all company brands (Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Williams Home, PBTeen, PBKids, Mark and Graham). Great people in the stores.

ConsAlmost too many to list. Infuriating email marketing techniques make the company look cheap and shady, leaves the customers confused and bombarded and undercuts the integrity of the brand. Absolutely NO transparency at the corporate level. Those of us in the stores never know what's going on, have no clear why decisions are made as hastily as they are, no communication about job openings even in our own districts, extremely poor communication about business models and goals. Completely unattainable email capture expectations (even in states where it is illegal to ask for email). Too many "promotions," "sales," and "specials" to keep track of or to properly use to the stores' or customers' advantage. Members of the corporate team never provide support or feedback to stores; it is next to impossible to get a return phone call or email even for customer service or product issues. Pay is embarrassingly low and fails to provide the vast majority of in-store employees a livable wage. District and Regional managers are poorly picked, poorly groomed, and poorly trained leaving them as ineffectual, often times dismissive and petty leaders of field teams. Most do not belong in management, are insulting and condescending to store employees, and create environments lacking in open dialogue, honesty, or respect.

Advice to Senior ManagementYou get what you pay for. You want a more profitable company? You have to pay for it. Your staff is over-worked, under-paid, under-trained, and completely demoralized. Extensive, corporate paid for training programs in EVERY store, for EVERY employee is severely needed to bring tenured employees up to date, round out the knowledge of newer associates, and maximize the passion and associate buy-in to the company and the product. STOP the email marketing insanity. It is KILLING the brand. We sound like we're going out of business. The emails are incredibly misleading so much so we often remark to ourselves in the stores how amazing it is that we haven't been sued for the emails. Our customers are smart. They know our product and our pricing. They aren't fooled by your tactics. They aren't fooled by your poor sale markdowns that you leave to languish on sales floors for a year. Customers who haven't left our fold do to the terrible practices of the last few years are about to abandon ship if we don't go back to our classic practices: Two sales every year, prices reduced each week till sold out in a months time. It works, but more importantly our customers expect it, they plan for it, and they respond to it. Fix the payroll situation. We are so understaffed that our stores are hotbeds for theft and poor service. Not because employees are negligent, but because there aren't enough employees in the store at any given time to properly run the store. INVEST IN TECHNOLOGY. Enough with slow, out-dated systems. Quit talking about ipads and new registers, do it already. We're losing customers' trust and patience the longer they have to wait - and trust me, we have so many system issues they're often waiting a while to complete simple transactions. Last, stop taking your staff for granted. We all feel dumped on perpetually by DM-level and above. It's YOUR job to change that, otherwise you're not running a business, you're running a very expensive training program for your competitors and vendors.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO


    Room for Improvement

    Sales Associate (Current Employee) Las Vegas, NV

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

    Pros: Great discount. WS is a great brand. Cons: Not much opportunity for growth if you are stuck at the store level. Managers don't seem to be… Advice to Senior Management: Keep an eye out for talented people that might want to grow with the co. Don't insult us by offering a .25 increase in pay.… No, I would not recommend this company to a friend More


    Overall, I've enjoyed my time as a contractor.

    ECommerce Creative (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma as a contractor for more than a year

    Pros: I really like the people I work with. Cons: Unfortunately, I'm still a contractor without any benefits. More

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