Williams-Sonoma

  www.williams-sonomainc.com
  www.williams-sonomainc.com

Williams-Sonoma Reviews

Updated November 25, 2014
Updated November 25, 2014
656 Reviews
2.8
656 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Williams-Sonoma President, CEO and Director Laura J. Alber
Laura J. Alber
283 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great discount for to enable everyone to spend their salary in store (in 87 reviews)

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


Cons
  • Work/life balance is often unbalanced especially during the holiday seasons (in 31 reviews)

  • Upper management never visits the stores- causing a complete disconnect from stores to corporate (in 39 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 9 people found this helpful  

    Unappreciated

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

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

    Pros

    Great discount and sample sales are really fun. Great benefits. For the most part the employees are really smart and dedicated to their business which makes it a nice place to work. I worked at WS for 8 years and was highly satisfied until 2 years ago when management shifted.

    Cons

    Career pathing is non-existent so very little room for advancement. It's nearly impossible to move up unless you're in the "in" crowd or get lucky and a manager decides to leave. Managers are not trained and, in my experience, have no people management skills thereby over-working their direct reports with no regard for work/life balance. Having to work every weekend (mandatory!) through peak as a corporate employee speaks to mis-management and disregard for work/life balance.
    HR is under-utilized and under-staffed. They seem absorbed with hiring only and lose track after the initial hire. I returned from a 6-week LOA and had zero contact from HR. When I decided to leave the company (giving 6 weeks notice) I had to contact HR the day before my last day about scheduling my exit interview.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on training all managers. HR is uninvolved and should be engaging and meeting with all employees to have an idea of job satisfaction, etc...Providing breakfast and lunch is not a reward when asking employees to work extended hours.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Executive Leadership Team leads the way

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

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    What is most important to me today is to work at a place where I feel the leadership likes to win and succeed and also focuses on giving back to the communities where we do business. This exists everyday at Williams Sonoma, Inc. Acting like an entrepreneur is alive and well here which means hard work with a real sense of meaning and purpose.

    Cons

    It's retail so you have to love being flexible and not sweating change

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    What do you need from your associates to achieve the growth goals?

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    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 (less than an 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
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  5. 4 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
    Current Employee - Stock Associate in Miami, FL

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma full-time (more than an 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
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    Corporate

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Part Time Sales Associate in Atlanta, GA
    Former Employee - Part Time Sales Associate in Atlanta, GA

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma part-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    I loved my coworkers, I had no issues with the management team, and I completely adored my job! The discount on items was ok.

    Cons

    The upper management was WAY too corporate. They would rather spend money on the company jet and store visits than on incentives and whatnot. They also felt that the employees were expendable. I guess they actually were.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Sometimes it's ok to ask questions rather than just fire people. And some people would rather have a paycheck than a discount. Especially if the discount isn't THAT great.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    I feel good about what I do, and I love my co-workers, but none of us are ever going to get promoted.

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

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    The people are great
    The management team mostly tries to make you feel good about what you do
    You're allowed to be pretty independent

    Cons

    Raises are really, really small
    Promotions basically don't happen
    Limitations on employee discount - doesn't stack with most other promotions
    Lacks a culture of cross-training, especially when you're seasonal

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest more time, money and development into your team

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 5 people found this helpful  

    Great people, fun place to work

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

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Great people, fun place/culture, good discount, reputable products.

    Cons

    They lost me when they rolled out their company credit card they wanted to push on customers, along with high sales goals without any sort of incentives.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    For paying your employees such a small salary, don't expect your numbers to be where you want them to be. Also stop having associates ask so many ridiculous and daunting questions when customers are checking out (i.e., what's your zip code, e-mail address, would you like to open a credit card, etc.) makes for a frustrating shopping experience for all parties - customer, associate, and long line of people just wanting to pay for their product(s) and get on with their day.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Just not for me

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - FSA/Furniture Customer Service Representative in Las Vegas, NV
    Former Employee - FSA/Furniture Customer Service Representative in Las Vegas, NV

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    You can look on their products online and great 40% off discount.

    Cons

    Training starts way to early, the point system is unfair.....they like to embarass you and walk you out and then come back and get your belongings ...no dignity even when its a termination 5 days before christmas...they are cut throat and if you are not favored you will not be spared.....turn over rate is to high

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 13 people found this helpful  

    The first rule of any business is to treat employees as valued members of a team

    • 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 (less than an year)

    Pros

    The employee discount available at all brands (WS, Pottery Barn, PBKids, etc) is a huge incentive for the casual/seasonal employee.
    Very pleasant and agreeable fellow casual/seasonal employees, as well as assistant manager , make the annoyances of job enjoyable.
    Opportunity to learn new cooking skills and learn a wide range of product knowledge skills is excellent
    GM does a great job with requests for time off, if not asked for too frequently
    Most customers are pleasant and easy to work with

    Cons

    1) Expectations are at the absurd level. With two employees scheduled, one cannot set up a display, stock shelves, unpack shipment, conduct clienteling calls and/or email, and help customers all the while meeting ever increasing sph, upt, email capture, and credit card selling goals.
    2) Employee productivity based on inaccurate and incomplete spreadsheets cause low morale of hard working employees. Spread sheets that document sph, upt, credit card sales, and emails ignore the breadth of tasks the employee is assigned during a given work day.
    3) Low pay and rare training for the casual and seasonal worker, especially unseasoned hires, is not aligned with company's expected employee product knowledge and work performance. One cannot be an expert about a product after watching a training video, when adequate hours on the floor given to practice the skill are absent. Corporate expects those scheduled 0 - 10.5 hours a week to perform at high levels with little training and no follow up sales time to practice skills.
    4) The required policy that employees must be on-call two days a week forces non-managerial employees to hold off on any plans until an hour before work could possibly start. Continually putting low paid employees' lives on hold is not conducive to high morale and illustrates a disregard for them. Few people are willing to put their life on hold for the possibility they may get a chance to work for less than $10 an hour on a given day at WS.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1) Align employee expectations with what you are willing to give to your GMs in payroll. If you only grant payroll for a manager and a casual employee to run the entire operation, set realistic expectations for what can actually be accomplished.
    2) Data and metrics need to reflect the actual work that is being tasked and completed. Current metrics are seriously flawed and don't reveal the scope of work being completed.
    3) Align pay with skill expectations, skills performed, and local business pay practices. WS cooking instructors are completing high level skills but being paid close to minimum wage. All employees are multi-tasking and performing numerous tasks besides customer service. All employees are expected to learn product knowledge on their own time at home. Sales personnel in neighboring stores who sell clothing only make more per hour. WS Pay per hour needs to reflect these realities. Because there are virtually no career opportunities, employees need to feel they are making an important contribution with their current status. You will continue to lose quality employees if you choose to maintain your current behavioral path.
    4) Revamp the work schedule plan and employee performance metric so all employees have a work/life balance and feel valued. Current practices degrade employees and don't promote an environment where we feel valued and appreciated.
    5) WS customers are attracted to the store because we carry high end merchandise. You have now established a model that treats them like a number, and you are forcing employees to comply with this non-customer service model. Customers might as well go online or to Costco with this new model. Turn back before it's too late.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 6 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 (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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