Williams-Sonoma Reviews

Updated June 30, 2015
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3.3
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Williams-Sonoma President, CEO and Director Laura J. Alber
Laura J. Alber
81 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

193 Employee Reviews

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  1. Video Producer

    Former Employee - Video Producer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Video Producer in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    A great company to work with. Good, smart people with great creative energy. Everyone was gracious with getting a very complex script and training video produced.

    Cons

    A large company with a lot of turn over. It seems that everyone that I worked with moved on to other companies very quickly.

    Advice to Management

    Good job at inspiring smart people.


  2. Helpful (24)

    A Great Brand, But Sr Management will Burn You Out!

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

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma

    Pros

    The brand is excellent and the company's performance has been superb over the last 15 years. It has a wonderful heritage and they make efforts to preserve it. There are some very talented people working at Williams-Sonoma, as well that are experts at what they do. The location in the city is wonderful and there are some above average perks with working in the corporate office.

    Cons

    Leadership is extremely short sighted, so you need to have outrageously huge patience and flexibility. The top down mentality permeates every brand and provides all of the corporate pain you can take. Most of the best talent burns out or realizes it is time to go, before ever really making a difference. Pay definitely does not match the workload.

    Advice to Management

    Trust your talent. Let them do their jobs and stop assuming you know more - you don't. You will never make the comps you hope for by overworking all your best people.


  3. Helpful (2)

    Management

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

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma

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

    Pros

    Great brands to stand behind. Great discount for associates. Have the pleasure of working with skilled co-workers.

    Cons

    Corporate Leadership is all lip service. Their decisions and actions make it feel they do what is best for themselves then what is best for company and associates. Not accountable for their own decisions.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    Decent place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Freelance Product Design in San Francisco, CA
    Former Contractor - Freelance Product Design in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma as a contractor (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Employee discount, good people, inspiring architecture at the "ice house ", interesting work, project oriented , employee training opportunities,

    Cons

    Unrealistic deadlines at times, sometimes there can be a snobby attitude from upper management, departments are very separated, silo feeling

    Advice to Management

    Close the gap between worker bee and upper management


  6. Helpful (3)

    Williams-Sonoma

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

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The workload is not too strenuous, with good hours. Managers are generally supportive and want to see their direct reports succeed. A great company to start out with - you will learn the ropes of the retail world quickly. Most people are pleasant and easy to work with.

    Cons

    Outdated upper management who ask for innovation but are resistant to change. Not much room for growth within your field - you typically don't stray from your assigned medium or projects. Compensation and vacation time is below average for the area.

    Advice to Management

    Embrace the 2000's and let go of the 90's. Allow workers more flexibility and creativity.


  7. Helpful (1)

    Summer Intern

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Intern - Global Merchandising in San Francisco, CA
    Current Intern - Global Merchandising in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma as an intern (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Friendly environment, fast-paced, worked with many different departments, mainly independent work. Did a great job having me meet the other interns, scheduled activities for us to do. Everyone seems happy working here

    Cons

    Hiring process took an incredibly long time.

    Advice to Management

    Wish this would have led to a full-time offer after graduation. No one from our "intern class" received one. More communication/updates in hiring process too.


  8. Helpful (3)

    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. Great Place!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Corte Madera, CA
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Corte Madera, CA

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Management is extremely helpful and great at training

    Cons

    Between 10-20 hours a week, so not very many hours


  10. Helpful (11)

    Sr-level Corporate Employee

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    - Employees share the same passion and vision that inspired Chuck Williams to start the company almost 50 years ago.
    - Company is based in San Francisco and has a wonderful story, and a culture that's still rooted in that story. Chuck still pops in now and then and says hello.
    - Four corporate offices located in San Francisco, most of which have beautiful views, art, character, and a good vibe.
    - A "come-as-you-are" work culture. Employees are free to be their whole, unique selves at work and are encouraged to bring their thoughts and ideas to the table.
    - Lean, scrappy teams mean if you have an idea to make things better, go for it.
    - A very high bar for talent. Even when teams are very lean and putting in long hours, people are willing to wait to find the right fit for the team.
    - Intelligent, dedicated, talented, friendly employees that are fun to work with.
    - Employee recognition programs.
    - Generous discount on the entire family of brands. And quarterly sample sales.
    - Internal promotions are common.
    - A lot of tenure at the Director and Executive level.
    - Fantastic products = pride in the company.
    - Financially successful.
    - Executives make it clear that the stores and customers are the heartbeat of the company.
    - Innovation in marketing and design.
    - Management (in my experience) is available, but hands-off. Meaning, you are free to do the job you were hired to do. This always depends on the manager, of course.

    Cons

    - Outdated internal systems and tools. Most processes are very manual.
    - Lack of transparency in how decisions are made, and WHY decisions are made.
    - It seems that some executive leads take action or move forward with directives based out of fear, rather than pushing back, asking why, and having a more strategic approach.
    - Resourcing is very lean and people are stretched to their limit.
    - Total rewards needs an overhaul in order to stay relevant in the San Francisco job market. Benefits are very basic and behind the curve, and don't match the "people first" philosophy that the company projects. It's incredibly difficult to be competitive in this market with the current benefits offering.

    Advice to Management

    Truly put people first. Listen to your employees- especially the new generation that's joining the company - they have great ideas. Don't just encourage individuality, but demand it. Push back when given direction from the executive committee on initiatives that aren't thought through or have a strategy behind them. Be transparent. Hire more people, so employees are able to be proactive and do quality work. Continue to make and sell excellent products. Continue to put design first in the products. Continue to reward great work and promote people from within. Most importantly: say hello to the employees you see in the hallway. Be approachable, friendly, and genuinely interested in the people that make up this great company.


  11. Helpful (6)

    Mixed bag in IT

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

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Good work-life balance.
    People are generally nice.
    Discounts are good if you need to furnish your home.
    Projects can be interesting if you can set aside the bureaucracy.

    Cons

    Level of competence varies widely at all levels.
    Contractors in IT produce poor quality code and then move on.
    Lots of gossip and pettiness makes it feel like high school at times.
    Advancement is based on tenure or squeaky wheel.
    Lots of bureaucracy and busy work; the documentation and approval cycle is endless.

    Advice to Management

    Don't accept a huge bonus from the board of directors and then give the shaft to employees, especially when the stock is soaring. If People First is indeed a company value, let the compensation scheme reflect it.



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