Williams-Sonoma Reviews | Glassdoor

Williams-Sonoma Reviews

Updated August 18, 2017
245 reviews

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

245 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great discount 40% off of most merchandise 20%off electrics (in 177 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 (1)

    "Decent place to furnish your home cheaply. Terrible place to advance your career"

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

    Pros

    The ONLY reason to work for Williams Sonoma? The sample sales. You get merchandise at ridiculously low prices - even the 40% regular discount is great. Only problem is - they really do sell junk. NOTHING I purchased from Williams-Sonoma - a high end housewares store - still works. 100% failure.

    Cons

    Lousy benefits. Poor Pay. Lack of belief in anything but profit producing departments. Everything is driven by the numbers - and if you're unlucky enough to find yourself working in IT, HR, or other essential but non-profit producing departments, you'll find no support from top management.

    Advice to Management

    Quit.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Standard-issue corporation"

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

    Pros

    It's a decent corporation, nothing special. It's fairly competitive though if your skill set is exceptional, you can do better. The product is fun, and Chuck Williams, the founder of the company, is a sweet old man and is an inspiration.

    The benefits are decent, again nothing special. Two weeks vacation for a full time corporate position, plus health/dental/vision and standard holidays.

    It's a company made up of several brands, which makes it more interesting. There are more female employees than male employees, which should make it a more woman-friendly place to work, but I haven't noticed any such effect.

    Cons

    The corporate culture is very stiff. The dress code is stringent, at least in the corporate headquarters. The communication is poor, people are expected to suck up and people snitch on each other as if they're in middle school.

    Employees are not trusted. The "people first" policy is basically bull.

    Employees are forced to use a time-clock if they are non-exempt.

    Different departments vary but the corporate culture overall is secretive, authoritative and top-down. Petty disputes and grudges take precedence over smooth operation. Employee satisfaction is not high on their list of priorities - the idea is that people should be grateful to have a job.

    "At-will" employment is taken very literally here.

    Advice to Management

    They should care more about employee happiness and satisfaction.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "If nothing changes, nothing changes"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Leadership Team in Harrisburg, PA
    Current Employee - Leadership Team in Harrisburg, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    There used to be a lot of great reasons to work for WSI. Not anymore. The environment used to be happy and funloving. Now you could cut the tension with a knife. It's not about the people anymore whatsoever. Only about the numbers and how fast they can work. Harder, faster, with absolutely no room for error. The level of customer service has also declined with the more stringent policies. They need to find a happy medium and stick to it instead of constantly changing the policies!! No wonder some of the people have trouble making good judgment calls - the policies constantly change and people are on information overload on a daily basis! Most definitely not even close to enough pay for what we endure day in and out. Hoping things will change but remaining skeptical.

    Cons

    layoffs, not good work life balance, too much work not enough people

    Advice to Management

    LISTEN


  4. Helpful (4)

    "Outdated approach to business and insular senior management create biggest challenge to future of Williams-Sonoma."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - General Manager in Cincinnati, OH
    Current Employee - General Manager in Cincinnati, OH
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    High quality products and dedicated co-workers. An engaged and intelligent customer base. Beautiful store merchandising and presentation.

    Cons

    Low pay with no recognition or positve feedback even though all goals are exceeded. Not allowed to review staff at the level they deserve to be reviewed. No 5's (superior) or 4's (exceeds expectations) allowed to be distributed even thought staff is working at an outstanding level.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to what the staff with their hands on the pulse of the customer are saying. Senior management no longer is in tune with the customer. Time to revisit the value proposition of the merchandise--expensive does not always mean high quality.


  5. "Run, Forest, Run!"

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

    Pros

    Great discount. It is a good name to put on your resume.

    Cons

    Very top heavy in management. The way upper management treats their employees is not acceptable and they will continue to loose their talent unless they change. If you can survive working here, you can work anywhere.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your team, they may know more than you.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Not Peoples First"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Williams Sonoma carries a good assortment of products to work with. Their employee discount is very generous. Their associates are generally very nice people.

    Cons

    Corporate officers and management are very disconnected from today's consumer. Terrible pay. Ridiculous expectations of employees. Too much micromanaging. No positive reinforcement.

    Advice to Management

    The biggest issues I see is that their higher ups are disconnected with today’s consumer. Instead of bringing in people with a fresh prospective, the company is run as though we're still living in the 50's. Their lucky streak seems to be nearing the end. The “build it and they will come” business theory has blessed Williams Sonoma with years of profits but its ending. The evidence is in the scrambling of the upper management. Spend some money on advertisements, loosen up your ties, you can still have world class service, welcome to the 21st century.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Look elsewhere"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Stock Associate in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Stock Associate in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    This company is fun with the people they employ. I've never had a bad time working here. The atmosphere is great. But that's pretty much about it.

    Cons

    The pay is OK, but nothing to live off of, especially in San Diego. Communication with this company really needs work. Manager's will tell you what you want to hear, but don't expect anything to happen. This includes raises and promotions. If you want to move forward in a company, this one is definitely NOT the one for you. Look elsewhere!

    Advice to Management

    Keep everyone in the loop with communication. There seems to be some sort of disconnect with everyone in this company, which leads to frustration and angry employees! Especially with managers and FOH/BOH employees!

  8. Helpful (2)

    "The only thing good about working here.. is the discount."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales Associate/Culinary Demonstrator in Costa Mesa, CA
    Former Employee - Sales Associate/Culinary Demonstrator in Costa Mesa, CA
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    GREAT discount even off of sale items 40%.
    If you sell certain items they are pushing, you can earn prizes and rewards. For instance I have won entire cookware sets.

    Cons

    I transferred from another store (which by the way was the most amazing work experience ever), expecting to have the same environment that I came from. I have always been the top sales person and have gotten awards for excellent customer service, even have made great relationships with my district manager and regional vice president (this is uncommon for a regular sales associate.)
    I was told I would come into this store getting a majority of the hours since I was so highly recommended. The most hours I could expect was between 10-15! For such a high volume store this is just ridiculous. Not only that, they stuck me behind the counter and I was never given a chance to prove my sales ability. I was screamed at for absolutely nothing by management, in front of customers and a customer even complained about my manager for yelling at me, because it intimidated her. I was yelled at for multi tasking by ringing up a customer and answering the phone at the same time! OH and DO NOT ever ever ever get sick here or god forbid you will get 6 points if you call in sick! 8 points and your fired!! I had a doctors note and didnt call in for an ON CALL shift until 2 hours past time and was written up.. I WAS AT THE DOCTOR for emergency surgery. Also if you call and say you are running a few minutes late they act like they are supportive of your situation, then you clock in 8 minutes late and they write you up for being 15 minutes late!! When I pointed this out thinking it was an honest mistake, I was told that after 8 minutes you are rounded up to 15... and receive a point. WOW so then dont say at 15 minutes you get a point say... at 8 minutes!

    Also if you have a family emergency and give them two days notice that you can't make your shift... they will tell you that if the head manager is not there they cannot approve someone to cover it. So two days later.. the day of my shift I had to call to see if I could get a cover, and finally it was approved. (NO ONE will cover a shift if you only give them a few hours notice on a saturday) And the list they gave me of available associates was only 5 people long.. I know there is more options when there is over 60 people who work there. When I was unable to find a cover I called back let them know that I tried to find a cover and I wouldnt be able to make it in.. then I was informed that if I didnt show up that would be 6 points and I would be fired because I already had three points.. (two for the day I was at the doctor, and one for the day i was 8 minutes late.) Well I simply couldn't be fired so I had to resign over the phone.

    DO NOT WORK HERE IF YOU WANT TO BE TREATED WITH RESPECT!

    Advice to Management

    Take the time to learn your associates strengths and weaknesses. It is not worth it to have 60 people on your schedule and only have 5 associates that can sell well... its called wasted space! Then the good associates are stuck with only 5 or 10 hours a week. Also awful pay!

    If Howard or Chuck knew how you were running this location he would be VERY disappointed, Williams-Sonoma was founded on the idea of having WORLD CLASS SERVICE. So you should value your employees who weren't just there to ride out the clock. I cared about the company and wanted to grow with it.. but i was treated like dirt.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Only work there because there is no other option"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Indianapolis, IN
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Indianapolis, IN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Only work there because of the lame job market and it is kind of close to my house.

    Cons

    Management doesn't communicate and training is practically non-existent. Little respect for your availability and someone working 40 hours a week is still considered part-time. Employees feel like they are using us due to the job market and management makes jokes about how tired we are due to the holidays.
    It is a pity that a company with such a recognizable respectful brand treats its employees so badly.
    The only reason why we treat the clients well is because it is not their fault.

    Advice to Management

    People are afraid of retaliation. So when senior management comes visit, don't ask questions to employees. Come as "under-cover boss" and observe. Try t be treated like one of us and you will understand.


  10. Helpful (4)

    "HORRIBLE, HUMILIATING, JUVENILE, NEPOTISM ABOUNDS"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in Houston, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Discount. Thats it, nothing more.

    Cons

    Pay is below par. Decency doesn't exist. Do as I say not as I Do attitude w/Mgrs. and Assistants. Micromanagement to the point of BULLYING.
    Sell, sell, sell, aways on the "little" people, always finding criticisms with trivial things.
    NOT the Williams-Sonoma of old, now a lean and MEAN Corporate machine. NO life balance.
    Count on being marked for termination if you fall legitimately ill or take your vacation time when you had it properly scheduled.
    If you like being treated like CHATTLE and a small child with NO common sense, you will like working here.
    Otherwise, don't do it.

    Advice to Management

    The more you focus on the "bottom line" (the almighty dollar), the less you focus on the people who labor for the company in the individual stores. Stop micromanaging your employees to the point that they become resentful. Stop allowing the Mgrs and Asst Mgrs to "run" all over everyone, even in front of some customers. This creates a very uncomfortable atmosphere. You cannot rule your people with fear over minor incidences. That style of management went out in the 50's and has long since been proven inaffective and destructive to the company - but I shouldn't have to tell you that.


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