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Autor: anton • November 5, 2010 • 1,196 Words (5 Pages) • 742 Views
Williams-Sonoma is a nationwide specialty retailer that sells high quality, upscale products for the home through its 478 retail stores and various direct-to-customer channels. Its retail concepts are comprised of Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Pottery Barn Teen, Chambers, West Elm and Hold Everything. Williams-Sonoma, a San Francisco based company, generated $2,361 million in revenue dollars. The company employs approximately 6,000 people nationwide. Locally, there are approximately 900 people employed at its four distribution centers. Williams-Sonoma operates the largest distribution center, over a million square feet, in the Memphis area. The organization rates a 10 in job satisfaction because it pays well and offers excellent health benefits; however, opportunities for advancement are limited locally due to employee loyalty and long tenures. It rates a 12 on the functioning of small groups due to its commitment to customer service and its ability to maintain a 98% service level of a two day product delivery within its direct-to-customer channels. Company culture rates an 11 because of high employee loyalty. Its employees are highly committed and loyal to the company in partly due to its "Friends and Family" referral program, in which employees are allowed to refer friends and family for work during peak shipping seasons. The average tenure in the distribution center is between 6-10 years. Finally, Williams-Sonoma rates a 12 in organizational performance because of its high product delivery rate, high customer service level and high customer. Williams-Sonoma is a sales leader in the gourmet cuisine and cookware industry and is a favorite among high profile celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart.
One of Williams-Sonoma's organizational strengths is its ability to shape and reinforce culture through employee recognition programs discussed in chapter 16. Employees with perfect attendance quarterly receive $100 rewards and an additional $600 if they are able to achieve perfect attendance for one year. This equates to a potential $1,000 in incentive pay above and beyond an employee's annual base salary. In addition, employees may be recognized for exceptional work performance each month through the company's "Catch The Spirit" award of $50. Each month, departmental managers nominate and recognize employees who exemplified high performance. In order to promote workplace safety, drawings are held for each that a loss time accident doe not transpire in the warehouse. Prizes include $50, $100 and various company products. Finally, employees receive cash rewards of $1,000 for reporting employees who abuse the company discount program in its retail stores. With the use of such incentive and employee recognition programs, Williams-Sonoma is able to minimize employee turnover and maintain high employee loyalty in the distribution centers.
The distribution centers are comprised of an extremely diverse workforce that includes large Asian, Hispanic and African-American and Caucasian populations. Another company strength is its ability to acknowledge cultural differences and preventing communication barriers mentioned in Chapter 8 of the text. Each year, the company allows its Asian employees time off to conduct their annual voyage back to their homelands. They are typically off work between 6-8 weeks without penalty to their job security. In addition, Williams-Sonoma does an excellent job of posting company information in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Each department, especially Human Resources, also has typically one employee who is fluent in English and his native tongue. As a result, management is able to communicate to those who are not fluent in English.
Williams-Sonoma falls short in taking advantage of today's information highway and technological advances when it comes to accessing and retrieving relevant data needed for decision making. Its information support systems are slow and antiquated. The company operates on aged serves, aged 386 personal computers and Windows 95. Several times a week, operations are halted due to server and desktop crashes. As discussed in Chapter 10, the ability to get data quickly and accurately crucial to decision making among management. However, this is major weakness for this organization.
Although the company has a various recognition programs and a high employee loyalty, management does a poor job in enforcing performance standards and rates in the distribution center. Each department has own set of productivity rates. Present day, employees