Williams-Sonoma

  www.williams-sonomainc.com
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Williams-Sonoma Reviews

Updated Jul 30, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

2.9 582 reviews

43% Approve of the CEO

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

Laura J. Alber

(236 ratings)

44% of employees recommend this company to a friend

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
582 Employee Reviews
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Director

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA (US)

    ProsInnovative, Creative, Marketing Experts, Leaders in Product Development

    ConsI never had a bad day at Williams-Sonoma.

    Advice to Senior ManagementKeep it up. Stay positive. Drive Results

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    The first rule of any business is to treat employees as valued members of a team

    Casual Associate (Current Employee)

    ProsThe employee discount available at all brands (WS, Pottery Barn, PBKids, etc) is a huge incentive for the casual/seasonal employee.
    Very pleasant and agreeable fellow casual/seasonal employees, as well as assistant manager , make the annoyances of job enjoyable.
    Opportunity to learn new cooking skills and learn a wide range of product knowledge skills is excellent
    GM does a great job with requests for time off, if not asked for too frequently
    Most customers are pleasant and easy to work with

    Cons1) Expectations are at the absurd level. With two employees scheduled, one cannot set up a display, stock shelves, unpack shipment, conduct clienteling calls and/or email, and help customers all the while meeting ever increasing sph, upt, email capture, and credit card selling goals.
    2) Employee productivity based on inaccurate and incomplete spreadsheets cause low morale of hard working employees. Spread sheets that document sph, upt, credit card sales, and emails ignore the breadth of tasks the employee is assigned during a given work day.
    3) Low pay and rare training for the casual and seasonal worker, especially unseasoned hires, is not aligned with company's expected employee product knowledge and work performance. One cannot be an expert about a product after watching a training video, when adequate hours on the floor given to practice the skill are absent. Corporate expects those scheduled 0 - 10.5 hours a week to perform at high levels with little training and no follow up sales time to practice skills.
    4) The required policy that employees must be on-call two days a week forces non-managerial employees to hold off on any plans until an hour before work could possibly start. Continually putting low paid employees' lives on hold is not conducive to high morale and illustrates a disregard for them. Few people are willing to put their life on hold for the possibility they may get a chance to work for less than $10 an hour on a given day at WS.

    Advice to Senior Management1) Align employee expectations with what you are willing to give to your GMs in payroll. If you only grant payroll for a manager and a casual employee to run the entire operation, set realistic expectations for what can actually be accomplished.
    2) Data and metrics need to reflect the actual work that is being tasked and completed. Current metrics are seriously flawed and don't reveal the scope of work being completed.
    3) Align pay with skill expectations, skills performed, and local business pay practices. WS cooking instructors are completing high level skills but being paid close to minimum wage. All employees are multi-tasking and performing numerous tasks besides customer service. All employees are expected to learn product knowledge on their own time at home. Sales personnel in neighboring stores who sell clothing only make more per hour. WS Pay per hour needs to reflect these realities. Because there are virtually no career opportunities, employees need to feel they are making an important contribution with their current status. You will continue to lose quality employees if you choose to maintain your current behavioral path.
    4) Revamp the work schedule plan and employee performance metric so all employees have a work/life balance and feel valued. Current practices degrade employees and don't promote an environment where we feel valued and appreciated.
    5) WS customers are attracted to the store because we carry high end merchandise. You have now established a model that treats them like a number, and you are forcing employees to comply with this non-customer service model. Customers might as well go online or to Costco with this new model. Turn back before it's too late.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    Program Manager

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsLaid back culture and just infront of Fisherman Wharf

    ConsSenior Management Shys away from taking responsibility

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
    • Culture & Values
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    • Disapproves of CEO

    5 people found this helpful  

    When do I get to sell to my guests?

    Anonymous (Current Employee)

    ProsI 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!

    ConsWhen 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 Senior ManagementEnough 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

    5 people found this helpful  

    Good place to work part time

    Casual Associate (Current Employee)

    ProsFlexible scheduling, although now you are required to work three days a week
    Excellent discount across all company brands
    Learn a lot about the products and cooking
    Great team at the store makes it a fun place to work

    ConsNew leadership is changing the policies of what made this brand so great for consumers.
    Having on-call shifts every week and only being able to call one hour before shift makes it difficult to schedule other jobs.
    Long hours during holidays and little training of seasonal workers makes job difficult, as well as payroll cuts that leave you without enough people working critical days.
    Can be difficult to deal with rude customers, especially for the pay.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStop cutting the hours, especially in the stock room We have not had a full time stock person for 5+ years and it shows. We cannot unpack boxes, stock and keep the back clean without dedicated staff.
    Change the on-call policy--having to wait till one hour before shift is ridiculous and is a time waster for many of us, keeping us from other jobs.
    Create a better tool for communication with casual people, especially emailing our schedules during the holidays.
    Bring back the contests where we actually win something!
    Eroding the corporate culture from 10 years ago--where we were there for the customer--is going to lose us customers. Already they are going to Macy's, Costco and other brands rather than Williams-Sonoma, because we aren't offering to be there for them. People go to Nordstrom's and Williams-Sonoma and pay higher prices because of how we care for them.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

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

    Sales Associate (Current Employee) South Portland, ME (US)

    ProsThe 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.

    ConsNo 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 Senior ManagementLook 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?

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    It Was Fun Working At The Call Center!

    Furniture Specialist (Former Employee) Las Vegas, NV (US)

    ProsThe Pros of working at Williams-Sonoma were great employees , everyone had a welcoming type of feel! The managers really try and help you succeed & there is always room from advancement! They are always giving away free things & having raffles to keep all the employee's engaged! PLUS there is ALOT of overtime available especially around the holidays & summertime!

    ConsThe pay could be better ;

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Great work life balance culture

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsWilliams-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.

    ConsStill 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

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
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    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Great products, difficult to advance

    Retail Associate (Former Employee) The Woodlands, TX (US)

    ProsThe 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.

    ConsReally 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 Senior ManagementPay attention to the big picture when it comes to resources given to the store to conduct business.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Great Experience

    Sales Associate (Current Employee) Oakbrook Terrace, IL (US)

    ProsExcellent Discount! Wide array of products for the kitchen enthusiast to learn about. Friendly coworkers. Great cross-branding with sister companies.

    ConsSome times corporate is not always in-touch with what is actually happening in the stores. They setup policies (especially return policies) and then when the associates try to abide by the policies, if the guest is not satisfied, they complain to corporate and corporate caves in and gives the customer what they want. This really makes the associates look foolish.

    Advice to Senior ManagementInvest a little time with each associate to develop their product knowledge. The more knowledgeable the associate is, the better they can sell the products to the guests.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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