Williams-Sonoma

  www.williams-sonomainc.com
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Williams-Sonoma Reviews

Updated 19 August 2014
Updated 19 August 2014
608 Reviews

2.8
608 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Williams-Sonoma President, CEO and Director Laura J. Alber
Laura J. Alber
250 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great discount for to enable everyone to spend their salary in store (in 82 reviews)

  • Best Reason to work here is the employee discount and the Sample Sales (in 50 reviews)


Cons
  • No work life balance, payroll constantly being cut some DMs had little pets who could do no wrong (in 25 reviews)

  • The current upper management does not appear to care about the employees or their customers (in 33 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Outdated system, hard to please upper management

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    discount on products, in a nice part of town

    Cons

    overworked schedules, uncomfortable seating, no permanent desks

  2.  

    The worst waste of a year of my life!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - FSA/Furniture Associate  in  Las Vegas, NV (US)
    Former Employee - FSA/Furniture Associate in Las Vegas, NV (US)

    Pros

    My former co-workers. They made coming in every day worth it.
    Free coffee and tea.
    Clean building, climate controlled.

    Cons

    Favoritism abounds.
    Antiquated technology.
    No communication from upper management. Apparently the people actually taking the calls and speaking with the very upset customers that corporate lies to don't "need to know" anything.
    If you are considered a threat to your supervisors job, you get nothing from them. NOTHING.
    Awful point system for attendance. Seriously? You make people wait a WHOLE YEAR before a point comes off of their attendance? That makes the work/life balance you so proudly promote moot.
    Promoting the unqualified because you "like" them. It's business people, not a popularity contest!
    Clueless directors and a general manager that is getting played so hard by her favorites.
    Shoddy products that make for terrible calls.
    Age discrimination abounds.
    Allowing regular associates access to other associates performance reviews.
    Gossip is a way of life.
    No time frames from site to site. Customers have zero idea when they are going to be updated with information on their orders that cost thousands of dollars.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please please please read what I have wrote, learn from it and change it!
    There is a saying in the call center industry that you should learn and apply on a daily basis.
    "The only constant in a call center is change"
    Changing for the better. Improving your successful areas and revamping what is not working with improve both the customers experience with the service department but also to improve your employees morale.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great products, difficult to advance

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Retail Associate  in  The Woodlands, TX (US)
    Former Employee - Retail Associate in The Woodlands, TX (US)

    Pros

    The company offers casual associates the ability to determine what days they want to work. Great employee discount and great products. People want to shop at WS so customers are generally great to deal with.

    Cons

    Really difficult to move up. Movement seems to be highly based on who you know not what you know. Policies are generally inconsistently enforced. Hours can be extremely unpredictable and go from excessive to nothing between December and March.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay attention to the big picture when it comes to resources given to the store to conduct business.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Great work life balance culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Williams-Sonoma is very understanding about their workers having family and encourages to balance those aspects. Peers and co-workers are all very supportive and take pride in the work we do which makes it a good place to work. They accommodate (do not prefer) remote working conditions which can help with the work life balance aspect of things.

    Cons

    Still very corporate which makes project completion a bit hectic at times since there are a lot of departments to go through to get consensus. Need to be able to adjust to project changing in the last minute which can make things more stressful

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    The company slogan is "Winning with talent" , it should be abusive & non appreciative of talent.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - General Manager  in  Miami, FL (US)
    Former Employee - General Manager in Miami, FL (US)

    Pros

    Great assortment of product and standard full time benefits.

    Cons

    Extremely poor quality of life for exempt managers. Extremely HIGH workload placed squarely on the backs of the exempt managers. Poor balance of payroll hours during 1st - 3rd quarter of fiscal calendar year. Their open door policy on discussing payroll opportunities is handled by their use of closing the door. Do not work for this company if you value a work life balance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Complete transparent discussing when recruiting and interviewing salary management candidates.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Director

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA (US)

    Pros

    Innovative, Creative, Marketing Experts, Leaders in Product Development

    Cons

    I never had a bad day at Williams-Sonoma.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep it up. Stay positive. Drive Results

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    You Need to Open Your Eyes

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Co-workers are great to work with. Without them, the place would be nothing

    Cons

    Management styles, mangers, district managers all need to be knowledgable in the industry, not someone who does not know how to cook. Problem employees/managers need to be dealt with and not given empty threats so they continure the behavior. Shows poor skill level for running what used to be a million dollar store.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take a close look at what people are telling you. It's not a bunch of complaints, it's fact. You will run this business into the ground unless you look at past successes and continue that path. Just because you were successful at PBK does not mean you will be successful at WS. Listen and know your customers. Stop the foolish email campaigns and work on real skillset selling. Numbers are down from last year becasue of these changes. Financials don't lie.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    Heartbreaking Disregard for Integrity

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - General Manager
    Former Employee - General Manager

    Pros

    During my tenure, my GM peers and my store teams were some of the most engaging, caring and effective retailers I've ever had the pleasure of working with. Benefits, including time off, were competitive. The salaries were at the high end of retail expectations. The corporate culture was steeped in insightful realism and created an environment where the associates flourished at all levels, felt uniquely valued and took deep pride in being able to say "I work for Williams-Sonoma". Our guests (not clients) were able to trust us to provide them with the best information and service without any pressure to purchase. If they didn't purchase that day, they invariably would return to purchase shortly thereafter. It was the quality of leader in the store that drove a profitable and comping business through her or his staff. Well informed team members with team/store goals in mind resulted in success. The field leadership of the company respected suggestions and opinions in any form while holding the store management accountable in a responsible, respectful yet challenging manner. This was retail at its best and my hope is for Williams-Sonoma to one day be so again.

    Cons

    Sadly, My tenure ended due to the complete 180 degree change in corporate culture. This, in turn, changed everything about the quality of the guest experience and of the associate work experience. Unrealistic work load and related deadlines are the norm. The new philosophy of "Push for more than is possible and your result will be maximized." is desperate and exhausting. The micro-management within some Districts results in a degrading work environment. The practice of shifting a high percentage of store management from Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids/Teen in order to "fix" Williams-Sonoma made many tenured managers wary of their job security. I have watched 4 DMs in my region and at least 14 GMs in my district resign in the last 18 months. Most are now very successful and very happy at other retailers. Training and personal growth opportunities are well-intended but not considered a priority. Expect a 50+ hour work week! every week, in order to meet the minimum store performance expectations.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Recommit, reconfigure and renew or resign.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 6 people found this helpful  

    When do I get to sell to my guests?

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous
    Current Employee - Anonymous

    Pros

    I love my store, it feels like my second home. I get to play with quality product, cookware, electrics, etc. My customers respect my knowledge and all of my coworkers are intelligent, considerate. I feel valued by my manager and my DM. I get to cook and run Culinary, which is a thrill!

    Cons

    When do I get to sell to my guests? On 200 hours, it is one manager and one associate all throughout the day. I am running like a chicken trying to do floor set, webinars, conference calls, cleaning, clienteling (more on that in a sec) fielding literally dozens of corporate emails a day. My associate is trying to unpack Shipment, replenish and put out samples. All the while, petrified that a Secret Shopper is going to come in and spot us scurrying around! Easily 75% of my day is spent responding to or participating in corporate detail that leaves me feeling tied to a ball and chain. 200 hours for payroll is NOT ENOUGH to run the business! You are hearing this from many stores because it is true. We are struggling. Sales numbers will sink, that's a reality when we are tied up on all of these tasks with no team on the floor. It is very frustrating when we get a flood of emails (both on our outlook email PLUS StoreMail!) with immediate, large-scale changes to projects we were already struggling with. The computer system and POS systems are ancient and freeze/crash constantly. I have to call store support almost daily. So frustrating when our equipment cannot handle the workload. Please give us tools for success! Many of us are working on our own time, verboten, yet necessary to meet the demands, because we cherish our store and desperately want to succeed. Exempt managers are working 60+ hours a week and still feel behind the 8-ball. Are we on the Titanic? It feels like it. We can field calls, webinars, emails on levers, drivers, channels, and promos all day, but unless we have actual time to dedicate to SELLING, it's all just one big moot point. Doesn't anyone out there see the irony in this

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Enough with clienteling. The SWW system is ancient and freezes up. I am tied to my computer emailing and calling people who MIGHT come in to the store in the future, versus actively engaging with my guests that are actually in the store at that moment. I have gotten so many complaints because people say please, take me off your list! Very embarrassing, but we must meet our weekly quota. It comes across as desperate and the guests can smell that a mile away. They are already receiving multiple EDMs from corporate a day, and frankly do not want to be pestered by their local store associate...puts us in an awkward position of responding to them feeling imposed upon. Also, too many promotions! Last week, we had 32 active promotions. How are we, or our customers, supposed to remember all of these efficiently? It's lowering the value of the brand, when everything at some point or another is on promo. Customers are getting confused and think we are pulling a fast one when they come in to store from an EDM and the promo has already ended. The savvy customer is being trained to watch for sales and therefore limit their purchases to a future date at a lower price. Not good. Please reconsider demos and food...(and I LOVE Culinary) but it is a slap in the face to spend $200 a week on free samples when we don't have enough payroll for even one more 4-hour shift in the day. No matter how frugal we are, the food cost (and displays, with all real food and flowers that have to be changed out frequently) is astronomical. Put the money in your team instead for right now, till we get back on track. Scale back on the grass-fed beef expectations and be a bit realistic about this.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Worst corporate, district and regional management I have ever seen....

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Associate  in  South Portland, ME (US)
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in South Portland, ME (US)

    Pros

    The discount is great, especially because you can use it across all brands. I know I have stayed on simply for this reason alone and nothing else.

    Cons

    No work / life balance! Corporate started rolling out unrealistic expectations for the staff causing us to lose our management team and our tenured staff. Now we have a clueless, young GM who whines and complains about everything and sits in her office all day. Not an enjoyable work place environment for such little pay!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Look at your turnover rate of tenured staff, especially management! They are leaving for a reason and no exit interviews are ever conducted. Is that because you don't care?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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