Williams-Sonoma

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

Williams-Sonoma Reviews in San Francisco, CA

Updated October 31, 2014
Updated October 31, 2014
662 Reviews
2.8
662 Reviews
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Williams-Sonoma President, CEO and Director Laura J. Alber
Laura J. Alber
286 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

169 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 6 people found this helpful  

    Nice people, work/life balance, leadership varies

    • Comp & Benefits
    • 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 full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Low politics between teams who focus on getting the work done, big company feel where there's good work/ life balance, great discount across suite of brands (includes Pottery Barn and West Elm)

    Cons

    Some units at leadership level are increasingly political, micromanagement of finances, cheap (no funds for trainings, celebrations), below market salaries and/or abyssmal bonuses, teams foster relationships amongst themselves but leadership doesn't have a people-focus to decision making

    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 3 people 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
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    From Employee To Foodie

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

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

    Pros

    Williams-Sonoma is the mecca when it comes to food and it does so diligently by training their staff on the how-to's. I learned so much from being there, cultivating my passion for food and what to have and what not to do.

    Food bridges the gap to communication and in turn brings forever lasting friendship.

    There is so much to learn and everything is life appropriate.

    Getting to yes is their policy and it's something unique that many companies do not do.

    Cons

    It's difficult to grow in the saturated retail world. Always look for corporate or office job.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There has been great and relentless members in management. All I'll say is to "always park ones ego at the door" and never bring it to work.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 6 people found this helpful  

    The Epitome of Greed

    • 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 10 years)

    Pros

    40% discount, Sample Sales, sexy company - it impresses people when you say your work there.

    Cons

    Weak leadership. Very political and promotions are based on favoritism. They profess to value their people but in fact the only thing they value is money. When times were tough no one got a raise but executives still got bonuses.They are dishonest, unfair and under-handed. Human Resources is run very poorly. Toxic environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Live the core values you say you have.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 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
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    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
  8.  

    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
  9. 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
  10.  

    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
  11. 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

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