Williams-Sonoma Reviews | Glassdoor

Williams-Sonoma Reviews

Updated July 15, 2017
242 reviews

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

242 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 (1)

    "Caution, Fellow Reviews Regarding Corporate Culture are Accurate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • 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
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - great co-workers (HIGHLY depends on team)
    -sample sale where you can purchase a lot of goods [the only perk]
    - shuttle from downtown SF to corporate offices

    Cons

    - there is no culture, unless you count "work hard for no overtime, because you're salaried" as culture
    - everything is based on the budget, which is then allocated with favoritism toward select departments
    - no office supplies, because budget (all expenses were halted during year-end to hide from the financial books)
    - technology is literally 10 years behind. all of the software used is archaic, and it feels terrible to know that you're not learning anything that can be applicable outside of WS, Inc.
    - no work from home
    - 2 weeks PTO for the first 5 years is a bit ridiculous, seeing as other Bay Area companies offer substantially more
    - projects begin, workers are expected to drop everything to hustle... only to find out the project has been canceled. Great to see all the overtime efforts come to fruition
    - company turnover is extremely high. you'll never know who to contact in other departments to get things done. there have also been continual lay-offs under the guise of "performance-based firing".. can performance REALLY be bad enough to the point that it's more effective to train and pay someone new, than to encourage and motivate current employees??
    - extremely few perks [eg. free snacks, company events, holiday parties]
    - upstairs cafe is extremely overpriced, but executives are still flabbergasted as to why no one is willing to purchase a $13 taco. well surprise, employees here are underpaid compared to the bay area average
    - extremely slow promotion rate. people work 10+ years to promote. vertical movement only occurs when people leave/quit [or if you're in one of the department with big budgets (corporate political favoritism, trickling down from executives)]. lateral movement is the only way to gain any new skills
    - lack of diversity (majority white female or gay male)... diversity initiatives are nothing but a PR ploy

    Advice to Management

    not sure what can be done at this point, other than an overhaul. workers are depressed and quickly become unmotivated at the stale culture and daily grind


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Racist and trashy"

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

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The benefits are good! You work with nice associates for the most part. Good discounts and outstanding merchandise. You represent Pottery Barn and West Elm as well as Mark&Graham.

    Cons

    There are no opportunities to move up and very low pay. If you are a minority, they want to keep you in customer service or working in a warehouse. No minorities in leadership positions in the state that I work in. Leadership has the "good ol boy" mentality and lots of favoritism. Supervisors are lazy! They gossip about associates. Very unprofessional place to work. The training is horrible and they have very unrealistic standards to judge you on. The pay raises are a joke!

    Advice to Management

    You have misrepresented a great company.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "awful"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Huntington, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Huntington, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    discount, co-workers, some of the merchandise is exclusive

    Cons

    because they give you a good discount they think they can treat you horrible, I have experience workplace bully, schedule not flexable, not enough staff because of payroll, give all to the customer and nothing ever given back to there employees, no supplies in the store, not a happy place

    Advice to Management

    you should have to work in a store so you can see how your ideas affect the people that work in the stores, you should see the workloads that gets passed down to the employees, have district managers be more involved hands on with the stores and help when needed, listen to your employees ask for feedback and address problems.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Don't stay long"

    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

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time

    Pros

    Great discount 40% of there and their sister brands

    Cons

    Good stepping stone for retail experience but don't stay long. Work life balance is awful. There is no rhyme or reason to pay raises. Try seem to keep associates and managers that are subpar and run away good ones. Their expectations for both associates and management are unrealistic for the amount they pay.


  5. Helpful (2)

    "The Walmart Factor at Williams-Sonoma"

    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
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma part-time

    Pros

    Employee Discount is 40% for most items.

    Cons

    The list is long. Only management is scheduled to work 40 hours per week. Sales associates are part time only and pay hovers barely above minimum wage. For a store catering to the upper economic brackets the staff is treated as if they are Walmart associates. No other benefits. Serious disconnect between management and what is needed to make the stores successful. Nothing done to motivate sale associates except pressure them. Employees do not receive commission of benefits so there is no true incentive. Communication is poor and mainly for cya purposes. Senior management's disdain for the sales associates is palpable. Chuck must be rolling in his grave.

    Advice to Management

    Engage with the sales associates in meaningful ways by getting their feedback on merchandise, systems and empowering them. Despite all the signs posting "Howard's Rules" the work environment is not particularly respectful. Invest in IT systems that work well, everything is outdated. Get over loss prevention systems sending the wrong message. The stores are being robbed blind due to chronic understaffing. There are discreet loss prevention systems available in today's world. Try the concept of promoting from within. Try offering a true living wage and offering real benefits to the people on the front line. Many stores are lacking full time stock people so lots of ladder climbing on some pretty rickety ladders by sales associates.


  6. Helpful (5)

    "Employees are only numbers. Awful morale. Dead End"

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

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

    Pros

    Discount on Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn and West Elm.
    Great coworkers.

    Cons

    No room for growth. Management that is completely touch of touch and have no desire to provide a heathy work/personal life balance, The business comes first but no incentives that are worthwhile. Extremely high turn over.

    Advice to Management

    Realize that your employees are your strongest assets not the same tired product lines that barely surviving.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Rigid Corporate Environment, Cliquey Senior Leadership"

    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
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Sample Sales, and Discount (both of which require you to spend your below average compensation.)

    Cons

    I was excited to have been offered an opportunity at Williams Sonoma, only to come across an archaic corporate structure that is desperately trying to stay relevant. There are a handful of incredibly talented, loyal people that work here but they are hardly ever recognized because the bubble-headed President is too busy running around picking favorites, and praising people within her own circle. Miserable work environment. Gross, dirty shared kitchens. Crappy free coffee. Nice view of the ocean from the Van Ness office, but the workload is so unbalanced don't even expect to see the light of day. I had high hopes for WS, but was really turned off by their small clan of mean-girl leadership, depressing work environment, and lack of professional growth. WOULD NOT RECOMMEND.

    Advice to Management

    Ditch the Senior Leadership and promote some of the millennial's you are so desperately trying to chase.

  8. Helpful (16)

    "Run... Far, far away"

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

    I worked at Williams-Sonoma full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    None. Aside from meeting a handful (as in you can literally count them in several fingers) of quality folks who were innocently caught up in this web of lies or bureaucratic nonsense, there is zero advantage for working here. This place will not make you smarter. You will not learn a skill that you didn't have beforehand. Instead the brick and mortar will kill your very soul. You will start to wonder if there is a God or a higher power. Because if such an entity existed, why would They allow this atrocity to even occur much less continue.

    Cons

    This archaic institution is a farce of a legacy. WSI normally draws to mind high end kitchen cutlery and savvy home decor. Peel away a well paved marketing campaign and you find the scurge of retail. There is "somewhat behind" and then there is Williams-Sonoma...

    You know something is wrong when EVERY TIME someone quits, they NEVER let you know WHERE they are going.

    It's basically a hodgepodge of problems. The work load is uneven. You're either working 24/7 or you're not working at all and trying to take credit for someone else's work. For every ineffective 20 lukewarm bodies, you have one star employee. Management is composed of semi-retirees. Executives are even worse. They are just highly paid sheep.

    This is the most political environment and in the worst way. If you are "favored", you can bat your eyelashes and work the system to your advantage (translation: "work from home" and AS MANY VACATION DAYS YOU WANT). If you are "unfavored", well remember that guy who recently committed suicide in Uber (from stress)? You are on the same trajectory.

    You will learn nothing here, except marvel how cheap Corporate America can be. How such an unhealthy environment exists. And dream of leaving.

    There is a reason why everyone in the corporate office looks like life has been sucked out of them and they're a hair-breath away from dropping dead.

    Advice to Management

    Fire all the executives and management. They've done and accomplished nothing. Start fresh. Stick to your budgets and your schedules. It's pointless to have a plan if you're not going to adhere to it. And get rid of useless practices - example: offshore has a 60-70% accuracy rate. Why on earth do you even use them KNOWING THIS?!


  9. Helpful (13)

    "Zero Leadership"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - IT Product Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - IT Product Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Employee discount (which you don't use much)
    Brand Name (still exists somewhat)

    Cons

    - Politics
    - Bullying
    - People fired based on whims and Fancies
    - Very reactive work environment instead of proactive
    - IT leadership invests in costly systems that nobody uses. Blame lower people for failure and fire them
    - No structured policy around bonus payout. You might end up getting lower bonus if you have a manager's pet in your team (even though you both have the same appraisal ratings). Bonus payout is completely at the discretion of management.
    - Lots of politics. You will have to align with some VP or SVP to survive
    - All about visibility and shouting the loudest.

    It is a horrible work place to work at. There are bullies in each department according to whom rest of the employees are mere bodies. The so called leadership always stands by the bullies instead of keeping them in check. The SVPs and VPs are mostly bullies. A mere disagreement or a discussion with leadership is enough to get you fired. In last 3-4 years, good managers who tried to stand their grounds have been fired. The best talent is not valued and credit is given to those who can shout the loudest. The best employees and contractors have either been fired, or have left already or are looking for new opportunities. The so called leadership is completely absent and always ready to blame and fire people who had to bear the burden of leadership's bad decisions. If you plan to join this company, be ready to lose your creativity, free thought, honest conversations etc.
    Bad leadership breeds bad culture amongst the employees. Now you never know who is going to rat you out.

    Advice to Management

    You are headed for a train crash if you don't stop blaming workers for lack of your leadership and direction. Stop changing the course ever so often. Value your good employees. Groom them professionally instead of attacking them personally.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Williams Sonoma"

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

    I have been working at Williams-Sonoma part-time

    Pros

    The discount is supposed to be the best part (20%-40%), but sometimes you can still get things cheaper by using regular promotion codes. Or on Amazon. And if anything goes wrong with an associate order, the company doesn't care.

    Cons

    This company cares very little for their employees. They treat their customers poorly too. The employees are supposed to act like they care about customers, while being urged on their earpiece to sell them credit cards and more items. They also want emails from as many customers as possible. What do you get if you sell more items, credit cards and get emails? Nothing. And then you are told you need to sell at least one more credit card today and then continue to get 80% of emails, pushing the customer if necessary. You need to try to "get past their objections."

    Advice to Management

    Treat your employees like they matter. Tell them to offer great customer service as their number one priority, and mean it. Update your POS system. Improve employee training; I was never even shown a handbook. Don't change payroll once the schedule has already been posted for the next week (this happens regularly).


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