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Waterstone's Reviews

Updated February 21, 2018
151 reviews

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2.6
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Waterstone's Managing Director James Daunt
James Daunt
66 Ratings

151 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • It also allowed me to get a load of new books with my staff discount (in 27 reviews)

  • Working with books, in a lovely atmosphere with lovely colleagues (in 13 reviews)

Cons
  • Many stores have only one member of staff for most of the day (in 17 reviews)

  • Minimum wage for lots of responsibilities (in 16 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. "amazing"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Waterstone's part-time

    Pros

    -friendly staff
    -good pay
    -nice Environment

    Cons

    -shift hours
    -management
    -customers
    nothing else I have to complain

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Don’t bother"

    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)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good discount and you meet, and work alongside, some great people.

    Cons

    Unfortunately Waterstones seem to be pulling the same stunt as lots of other big companies by hiring people and then either extending their probabtionary period or getting rid of them near the end of it, presumably because it saves the hassle of the obligations such as pension payments that come with fully contracted members of staff.
    The emphasis on hand selling specific titles such as the books of the month is ridiculous and distracting for booksellers and the push towards RP - related products (toys and tat) is literally taking over the stores.
    Management is generally useless and spend most of their time in the stock room or wandering around looking for things that don’t look good. Managers from head office, including the saintly Daunt himself, don’t even acknowledge the existence of booksellers when they visit shops, only bothering to talk with fellow managers.
    Given how hard most booksellers work and how knowledgable they are, the salary is so low its insulting. I worked with expert booksellers who were on 8.45 an hour after 10 or 15 years. Not much of an increase from the £7.50 starting rate. Even in London.
    From what I saw, even though profit rose last year, the company is still in trouble and it’s due to an epidemic of laziness and fuzzy thinking that runs from shop management all the way up to head office.
    Again like other big companies, career progression seems to be based on getting friendly with the right people and then remaining their best friend until your promotion.

    Advice to Management

    Sack most of your middle management and pay greater attention to what your booksellers actually do rather than their sales figures.


  4. "Great colleagues"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Weekend Sales Associate in Islington, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Weekend Sales Associate in Islington, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    The shop staff are all interesting, everyone had a second string to their bow.

    Cons

    The company is becoming more corporate, with pressure to upsell add ons and gift items.


  5. "Great Team"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Waterstone's full-time

    Pros

    Excellent staff discount and the team is great.

    Cons

    Lots of heavy lifting and physical aspects of the job for which there was no training.


  6. "If you have a good branch manager, it's great"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Christmas Sales Assistant in Telford, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Christmas Sales Assistant in Telford, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    - They know people come in for the staff's knowledge of book and friendliness. Attentiveness to customers and just chatting with them is encouraged (and lovely to do!)
    - 50% discount on books!

    Cons

    - Christmas period is mega busy and branch managers are under pressure to hit targets. I had a great manager who didn't pressure staff too much but heard other branches aren't so lucky.

    Advice to Management

    Offer clear career progression to sales staff so they can stay with the company if they want to.
    Chill out with the 'book of the month'.


  7. "Bookseller"

    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)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The smell of books was probably the only good thing aside from some nice colleagues

    Cons

    Low pay, bad hours, horrible (cruel) management

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Bookseller"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Dublin, Co. Dublin (Ireland)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Dublin, Co. Dublin (Ireland)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    good discount
    SOME staff are fun to work with and knowledgeable

    Cons

    micromanagement
    unhealthy standards - no hot water in building, no temperature control so have to work when its freezing
    disrepectful to staff

    Advice to Management

    stop micromanaging and trust your staff that they know how to do their job
    fix up the shop so it isn't falling apart and get hot water
    put employees in sections they actually like instead of placing them somewhere they don't as punishment or to try to push them out of the store


  9. "Don't trust anyone"

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

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

    Pros

    The discount. 50% is ridiculous for any company that is under performing but that's what they offer.

    Cons

    Work bank holidays
    christmas hours
    no motivation
    managers patronising staff
    less about book selling more about making money however they do it.

    Advice to Management

    Don't sack people and tell them they are good in most areas of the job.
    Go to the root cause of a problem a staff member has (usually an out of control, power mad, branch manager


  10. "Bookseller"

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

    I worked at Waterstone's full-time

    Pros

    Top-notch colleagues, all very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Great discount on books.

    Cons

    Terrible wages, have to work every other weekend, poor holiday over Christmas- the usual retail complaints!

    Advice to Management

    Pay your staff better, that's all.


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