As a values-based business, we rely on our associates to lead and make an impact every day. We cannot succeed without them—from the people working in our stores, to our corporate offices, to our factory floors. Our mission is to enhance the quality of people’s lives at home, and we apply that approach to our own family of brands. We’re focused on creating meaningful connections between brands, teams and those we serve, and we’re grateful for associates who put people at the center of everything they do.

Associate Training & Impact

Associate training includes learning our company’s core values. When they join our team, associates learn how their everyday actions make an impact, including:

Being Advocates for Diversity & Inclusion

Associates are expected to treat everyone with respect while learning about other cultures and traditions. Associate groups include an LGBTQ+ Alliance, African American Network, and Veteran’s Appreciation Network. Ambassadors of these programs are instrumental in organizing celebrations for Diwali, Pride and Veteran’s Day, as well as annual company-wide volunteering for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Saving Energy & Reducing Carbon Emissions

Small actions—like turning off lights and computers, and closing doors to keep heat and cool air in—help us meet our energy use goals. Stores, distribution centers and corporate offices have also installed energy-efficient LED lighting, sparking millions of dollars in energy savings across Williams-Sonoma, Inc.

Etsy Popup at West Elm. Image: West Elm for Etsy.

Reducing, Reusing, Recycling

Associates are encouraged to print with care and reuse boxes and bags. We engage associates across our brands on composting and recycling, as we strive to meet our goal of 75% landfill diversion by 2021. Associate efforts have contributed to millions of dollars earned from recycling rebates.

Supporting Responsible Materials & Products

Associates learn and share information about Organic, Responsibly Sourced, Handcrafted, Local, Fair Trade and Certified Nontoxic products. Their actions are helping us meet our goals of 50% responsibly sourced wood and 100% responsibly sourced cotton across brands by 2021.

Sustainable Soho Loft by West Elm’s Dumbo Design Crew. Image: West Elm.

Designing for People & the Planet

Each of our brands creates beautiful, high-quality products designed to last for generations. Thanks to our teams, WSI has consistently been named one of the Top 10 companies worldwide using preferred fiber and responsibly sourced wood, according to the Textile Exchange and Sustainable Furnishings Council.

Leading the Industry in Supply Chain Development

As part of the employee onboarding process, associates learn about our goal to reach 100,000+ workers by 2020 through education and empowerment partnerships with HERproject, Fair Trade, and Nest. We’re proud to be the first home retailer to offer Fair Trade Certified™ products, and the first retailer to adopt Nest’s Ethical Handcraft Program.

Volunteers for Habitat for Humanity. Image: Pottery Barn.

Joining a Community Cause

Each year, we provide eight hours of paid Community Involvement Time. Associates choose where to devote their time, with efforts ranging from school renovations to habitat restoration. Teams are also encouraged to organize events and donate to causes they care about. Williams-Sonoma, Inc. matches them every step of the way—since 2012, we have donated over $63 million in corporate, customer and associate donations.

Career Development

More than just a job, working with Williams-Sonoma, Inc. provides the opportunity to acquire career and life skills that hold real value in today’s global economy. Development opportunities include in-person and online learning through WSI University, our associate training program, as well as professional development courses via LearnIt and computer training courses via AcademyX. 

Store associates engage in both onboarding and on-the-job training, as well as coaching in company-wide programs such as landfill diversion, responsible materials and finishes, and unconscious bias education for managers. 

Other programs develop talent and supply associates with new skills, such as the cross-brand Design Crew at Pottery Barn, West Elm, Williams Sonoma and Rejuvenation. Design Crew associates undergo training in design essentials and room planning, developing valuable expertise while providing an accessible resource to customers. 

This focus on education extends from our corporate offices and stores to our supply chain. In partnership with Business for Social Responsibility’s (BSR) HERproject, we have provided 63,000 workers to date across our supply chain with workplace-based training programs on family health, financial inclusion and gender equality. We will continue these programs as part of our goal to educate and empower 100,000 workers by 2020.

Related Statements & Policies