Williams-Sonoma

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

Williams-Sonoma Reviews in San Francisco, CA

Updated October 23, 2014
Updated October 23, 2014
636 Reviews
2.7
636 Reviews
Rating Trends

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

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great discount for to enable everyone to spend their salary in store (in 84 reviews)

  • Best Reason to work here is the employee discount and the Sample Sales (in 55 reviews)


Cons
  • Work/life balance is often unbalanced especially during the holiday seasons (in 30 reviews)

  • Upper management never visits the stores- causing a complete disconnect from stores to corporate (in 37 reviews)

More Highlights

166 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great brand but could always be better!

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

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

    Pros

    Great discount in multiple brands (Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn and West Elm), opportunities for advancement as long as you are very patient, beautiful location of corporate office, amazing product and amazing employees who share a passion for the product. Strong heritage and 99 year old founder still visits the building from time to time. Love the WS mission to "bring people together around food".

    Cons

    CEO micromanages from the top which comes off as lacking trust in associates from top to bottom, improvement to broken processes is slow at best, low base salaries compared to similar companies in the Bay Area and annual raises that can't even keep up with inflation. Work/life balance is often unbalanced especially during the holiday seasons.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    130% bonuses to execs and 2% raises to low level associates won't allow you to build and MAINTAIN the best possible teams in Retail. Associates (the worker-bees) need more recognition for hard work than a "catch the spirit" plaque and a $100 gift card.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Seasonal Sales Associate

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

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

    Pros

    The people were wonderful to work with and the products were mostly top of the line

    Cons

    The scheduling was a little unpredictable

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Corporate upper management might want to be more friendly and less intimidating to working staff and store managers

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  3.  

    Their "People First" philosophy is a joke

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

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

    Pros

    Great discount
    Stellar product
    Sense of community within district
    Feedback from the field is actually utilized
    Contests really help rally the teams

    Cons

    Out of control work load
    No quality of life
    Hard work goes unnoticed
    Terminated as a result of a chronic disease. All they care about is $$, so heaven forbid you should stand in the way of that.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Realize that we are human beings and not hamsters just running the wheel. All the 911's were incredibly stressful and then we were expected to provide "world class service" in addition with little to no coverage. Also, go away from the rigid structure of the secret shops and allow store associates to build relationships in a less robotic way.

    Also, hire HR managers who aren't putting you at risk for a lawsuit.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Demoralizing experience / highly political and micro managed

    • 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 3 years)

    Pros

    Customer service team is well intending and promising. High stress / expectation / micro-managed culture does breed good results. Design team is strong which means the product is strong which is central to the company's success.

    Cons

    CEO micro-manages so this floats down hill to all leaders which means everyone is performing at lower levels than they're likely capable of. Highly charged political environment of favoritism. Far too many meetings for meetings for meetings. Systems need an overhaul as do most large box retailers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Acknowledge and empower your middle management. They all have something to offer and can likely take on tasks you've reserved for VP's and above.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Some of the nicest people I have ever worked with !

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

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    Inclusive Culture, Work Life Balance, Learning and Development are not only encouraged, but ample opportunity to do so. Along with the appropriate offering of training in house.
    I really enjoyed the ALL Hands San Francisco Associates Conference held at the Historic Galileo High School - followed by a Wellness Carnival at the Maritime Museums Bocce Ball Courts this week.
    I was inspired by the leaderships presentation and speeches.It has invigorated my ability to 'dare to dream' ! It was an all round wonderful day of learning and engaging. Lunch was provided by a great selection of food trucks, followed by camaraderie and physical activity with fellow co-workers.

    Cons

    to be honest, I have not experienced any yet.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    In it for the long term

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

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    we have a rich culture of service to our external customers and internal associates. It's possible for any associate to make a difference. Amazing products- proud to be part of the team.

    Cons

    we sometimes need to slow down and listen to associates- ask them to actively be part of the solution.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep your vision and dream. Never forget our values-it's what has made us great.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 7 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
  11. 4 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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