Williams-Sonoma Reviews | Glassdoor

Williams-Sonoma Reviews

Updated July 19, 2017
375 reviews

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3.0
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Williams-Sonoma President, CEO and Director Laura J. Alber
Laura J. Alber
120 Ratings

375 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great discount 40% off of most merchandise 20%off electrics (in 175 reviews)

  • decent work/life balance, depending on the time of year (in 47 reviews)

Cons
  • Tuff work life balance for entry-level employees (in 60 reviews)

  • A lot of work, the pay doesn't cover how much the upper management requires of you (in 77 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (4)

    "Some positive experiences, but the problems are known and not going away"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Finance Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Finance Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The finance team is a terrific training ground, has some sharp people and opportunities to tackle real problems. Overall, the “jerk factor” is low at WSI: coworkers are supportive of one another and it’s rare to walk around the office and not see a lot of folks smiling. The executive team is frighteningly intelligent and hardworking.

    Cons

    Compensation is uncompetitive in San Francisco on all fronts: salary, bonus, benefits, and no equity below the Director level. Not to mention only two weeks of vacation until you hit five years of service, and each year-end CEO Laura has employees take the final two days of the year as PTO so that the company can hit its EPS targets… cold comfort to non-bonus, non-equity compensated employees who then have a whopping eight days of PTO remaining for the year.

    IT is laughable; investment is paltry so that more cash can be returned to investors, and the corresponding gains in share price flow (internally) to Director-level and above, who don’t have to feel as much of the pain of the archaic technology that they ask their employees to do their jobs with.

    Advice to Management

    Listen more and dictate less. The sense among the staff is that we spend most of our time reacting to changing direction from the top, and that advice that flows up to you is ignored. You want to know what the details are, but often don’t take the time to understand them.

    Finally, claiming that you are “People First” is a relic of the past. This company is “Shareholders First”, so have the decency to be honest with your people and align their compensation accordingly.


  2. "Analyst"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time

    Pros

    The people were nice and there was a very professional structure

    Cons

    Tough for career progression and at time unrealistic job expectations

  3. Helpful (3)

    "Sales Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Saint Paul, MN
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Saint Paul, MN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma part-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Good product, discount and people

    Cons

    Corporate is more concerned about email captures and credit card captures than hiring and keeping good general managers at the store level. The part time salaries are some of the lowest in this retail market.

    Advice to Management

    Concern yourself more with keeping the great people you have at the retail level and less about the metrics.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Pleasant place to work. Pay isn't a living wage."

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

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    It's a pleasant atmosphere to be in. The air always smells like bacon or vanilla or both. The staff is friendly and intelligent. Discount is 40%.

    Cons

    The amount and quality of work that is expected far exceeds the quality of pay. There is no room for advancement. There is no connection between pay and performance, yet there is constant pressure to increase sales numbers and recruit new credit card applications.

    Advice to Management

    Reward hard work and experience with a living wage. People make more at the entry level at most other retail stores in Chicago, with more opportunities for raises.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Good people, lack of career support + guidance"

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

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time

    Pros

    great discount and positive brand awareness.

    Cons

    not much room for growth and career guidance. communication of changes in the organization are not a priority and very archaic in terms of technology and industry evolution within the world of online retail.

    Advice to Management

    be more transparent with the state of the organization and what the future looks like for your employees.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Great discount, tough clientele"

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

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma part-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great discount, friendly co-workers, room to advance (sometimes), clean, special events, energetic managers, LGBTQ friendly,

    Cons

    Too many managers, shift extensions, lack of general supplies (bags, catalogues, staplers, etc), won't take breaks on time, bad pay, multiple promotions prevent customers from purchasing larger ticket items.
    Employee contests in store often reward the GM or DM not the people who actually are doing the work.

    Advice to Management

    Calling something a "contest" does not create the desire to work harder. If sales are low, try taking one less promotion out of the picture.
    Managers should posess the knowledge and skill to help when needed. Offer to help out when traffic seems high instead of micromanaging. Sometimes if you do not put enough people on the schedule you won't have happy customers. Who would you rather deal with, a cranky rich woman or someone who works for the company?


  7. "Paralegal"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Paralegal in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Paralegal in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good team even though small

    Cons

    Often short handed with small team

  8. "Moving up in Retail"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Warehouse Coordinator in Plano, TX
    Former Employee - Warehouse Coordinator in Plano, TX
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Easy going atmosphere. Fun customers. Great location to work

    Cons

    Not easy to get a day off
    Saw on numerous occasions, ideal jobs were given to "pretty" people over experience and results.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Upper Management Needs to Tune In"

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

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma part-time

    Pros

    employee discount - 40%, 20% on electrics
    free samples and coffee
    fellow associates

    Cons

    unrealistic expectations from upper management-- not every store can be held to the same standard, we have different resources and are appealing to different markets

    Advice to Management

    Pay more attention to employee feedback, and focus on individual store needs and goals


  10. Helpful (7)

    "Assistant Store Manager, Retail Location in Mall"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - ASM- Assistant Store Manager
    Current Employee - ASM- Assistant Store Manager
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Discount is good, I work with a great team, pay is average, fun tools and gadgets to work with, most customers are great and value our knowledge and insight.

    Cons

    Payroll is kept way to thin, to much inconsistency between what catalog customer service will tell a guest vs retail stores, outdated look in most stores, constant "rebranding" of products makes packaging inconsistent and confuses guests

    Advice to Management

    Stop spending money on stupid stuff and reinvest it in your people. For what you probably spent on the companies "rebrand" that did nothing more then change the font and company colors, you forgot to include a true remodel of outdated store layouts. It also seems like it's incredibly shortsighted of you to remove the Associate Manager position from most stores, but keep assistant managers as hourly. Spend a few extra grand a year to make them salary so when you have extended holiday hours, massive floor set changes and corporate visits, you alleviate some of the pressure from your GMs. Instead you have GMs working 60+ hours to get ready for these visits and doing floorsets. (because let's face it, if you see one dust bunny we will totally be shamed so we better have everything looking amazing) and assistant managers capped at 40 hours, when there is no need for it to be so unbalanced. Stop making every other weekend 20% off. It ruins the appeal and more and more customers will wait to purchase something because "it will just be on sale in a week". All the exclusions for promos and sales are getting to be a bit much too. And WTH with the exclusions for military discounts??? These families deserve that 15% break, but it's gotten to a point that most of the time, nothing they get is qualified. Let your employees know you truly have their back. It goes a long way in the end.


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