Waterstone's Reviews | Glassdoor

Waterstone's Reviews

Updated April 15, 2019
209 reviews

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2.8
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Waterstone's Managing Director James Daunt
James Daunt
95 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • "One member of staff was not given holiday even when cover was available" (in 20 reviews)

  • "Minimum wage pay even for key holders with responsibility" (in 20 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "A nice company to work for"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bookseller
    Former Employee - Bookseller
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Waterstone's full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    If you love books and reading, then this is a great job. Company values staff and is involved in its own personal development. You are expected to be knowledgeable about what you sell, and you get a lovely staff discount too.

    Cons

    At my branch, it was well known that my boss could say inappropriate things to members of staff (she had an odd attitude in how to direct staff, including changing long established shift hours for no reason, then complaining at staff when they had to be changed back and it was well known you had to be on her good side if you had any requests). Concerns were made to regional management, but whether anything was done I do not know.

    Advice to Management

    If you ever decide to open branches in the USA let me know! Also, please have accountability for bookstore managers.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Perfectly fine, but not looking to improve"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Waterstone's part-time

    Pros

    you get a discount on great books

    Cons

    the company is really stagnant

  3. "Lead Barista at Cafe W"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Lead Barista in Bristol, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Lead Barista in Bristol, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Waterstone's full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great work culture, lovely team, 50% discount on books, very good coffee which is free on shift.

    Cons

    Training on paperwork and company policies/procedures leaves a lot to be desired. Definitely needs improvement to make sure every staff member understands these and can follow them properly.

    Unfortunately since late last year Cafe W is slowly getting more regimented and corporate in its approach to products. Cakes and sandwiches are no longer made locally or handmade but factory produced and noticeably overpriced. Allergies and dietary requirements are no longer being catered to at the standard they were.

    Advice to Management

    Improve training on company policies and procedures.


  4. "A fun and engaging place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Cashier/Barista in Coventry, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Cashier/Barista in Coventry, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Waterstone's part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Very friendly environment and helpful management

    Cons

    I can not say any cons :)


  5. "pretty good"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Buyer
    Current Employee - Assistant Buyer
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Waterstone's full-time

    Pros

    good staff discount, nice working atmosphere

    Cons

    low pay compared to industry, expected extra work due to the love of it


  6. "Good Atmosphere and Better than average pay"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bookseller in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Bookseller in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Waterstone's part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Enjoyable work and positive atmosphere in most stores

    Cons

    Very few cons, shift work as would be expected in retail


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Demanding work for minimum pay"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Bookseller in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Senior Bookseller in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Waterstone's part-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Booksellers really are best colleagues you will ever have
    50% staff discount on books is pure joy
    You get to talk to customers about books
    One and a half hour’s worth of breaks (but you only get paid for the half hour)

    Cons

    The company also only cares about their staff selling the four ‘Books of the Month’ - basically books that they have made a deal with publishers to sell in high quantity. Your success at your job will be measured SOLELY on this, which they refer to as ‘handselling’. Every review you have will focus on your ability to ‘handsell’ and future ‘handselling’ targets. Forget talking about books you’re genuinely enthusiastic about, no one cares if you sell those unless they happen to be a current book of the month.

    This is a minimum wage job, with no room for career progression unless you want to become a shop manager. I have worked here for five years and earn less than a pound more per hour than when I started. Despite the low pay, as an employee you are expected to be highly educated and have expertise in a range of genres. The vast majority of my colleagues are highly educated, many to Masters level, yet we still get paid less than supermarket workers.

    You are expected to read at least one of the ‘Books of the Month’, every month. Though this is not enforced, you will be frowned upon and viewed as though you don’t care about your job by management if you do not.

    You’re on your feet all day, which is physically draining and causes a lot of back, shoulder, leg and foot issues.

    Your shift ends when the shop closes, at which point you stop getting paid. However, you have to stay and cash up after closing for as long as that takes and get no time in lieu for this.

    Managers are extremely disproportionately white and male. In five years working in several shops under countless managers, I’ve yet to come across a single manager who isn’t white, and I’ve only known three who are female. I live in London, so the demographics are extremely off here.

    You’re expected to cover over branches at short notice, sometimes travelling 1-2 hours to get there and getting no extra pay for this.

    Everyone has to work weekends (every other weekend for full timers, every weekend for part timers), and no extra pay for Sundays or bank holidays. Christmas Day and Easter have to be taken as holiday despite the shops being closed on these days.

    Advice to Management

    Pay a REAL living wage. You are losing countless dedicated, knowledgable and enthusiastic employees who genuinely love their jobs due to the fact that it is impossible to live a comfortable, happy life on this meagre salary. The high standards you expect of your staff is not reflected in what we are paid. I have seen so many talented colleagues come and go due to the low pay I have genuinely lost count.

    Seek to achieve more diversity among staff and management

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Very cliquey but ALL THE BOOKS"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Cheltenham, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Cheltenham, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Waterstone's full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Surrounded by books all day. Customers are mostly pleasant. Great staff discount. Opportunity to get involved in events, author signings, arts and crafts for the kids, Cheltenham lit festival etc

    Cons

    Management have a very rigid idea of who they want working for waterstones - people who mimic the personality of butlins reps. If you are slightly unusual, have your own ideas or your face doesnt fit, they may try to subtly get you to leave. Reducing your hours, giving you boring repetitive tasks and generally being unwelcoming. It's not helped by management being friends with booksellers and chosing who they want to progress - their friends for example.

    Advice to Management

    Be honest, open and clear with employees. Instead of playing mind games to the benefit of yourself and your 'friends'


  9. "Overall 50/50"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Waterstone's full-time

    Pros

    50% discount card for books and coffee shop. Decent enough starting pay

    Cons

    No clear way of being promoted/moving up through the company

    Advice to Management

    More honesty/transparency when it comes to pay + promotions


  10. "Terrible company for bullying and violence"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Lead Bookseller in Manchester, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Lead Bookseller in Manchester, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Waterstone's part-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Good staff discount, some colleagues are great.

    Cons

    Psycho upper managers, the job is nearly all politics. Managers and their favourites blatantly sit around in the staff room and after work drinks discussing how they can frame and get rid of employees.
    Flexibility is demanded but of course only goes one way.

    Advice to Management

    Quit.