The Netflix Culture: More Than Just Entertainment

By Samm Stutzman 




We all know that the years of going to the video store to rent movies for the weekend is now a thing of the past. With companies like Hulu and Netflix it is now easier than ever to stream not only movies but also the latest TV shows from our different devices. An article by the New Work Times found that Netflix reported that in 2015 alone that their customers spent 42.5 billion hours of binge watching that year, which was up almost 50% from 2014 with 29 billion hours (Luckerson, 2016). With its many successes in the entertainment industry the question is how does Netflix do it? The answer could be found in its managing style and how they “seek excellent” (Hastings, 2009) in their employees. In this case study it will show the innovative ways Netflix goes about managing their employees but also a look at their unique way of selecting employees.

Netflix thrives off of seven aspects that make up its overall work culture. These aspects are, values are what we value, high performance, freedom and responsibility, context not control, highly aligned not coupled, pay top of market, and promotions & development. (Hastings, 2009). As one can see from the title of these aspects most these deal with trusting the employee. From the outside view it would seem that they follow the regular type of management style, but if onewas to look a little deeper they would see that they do things just a little differently. Netflix has high trust and respect for their employees and because of that they give them luxuries other companies would not even think about. An example of this is Netflix does not set a limit on vacation days. If an employee feels like they need a week or two vacation they can have it no questioned asked. But do not start rushing to put in your application for Netflix just yet this luxury does not come to just anyone. Netflix gives their employees this much freedom because they do not choose just anyone to become apart of their company. To be apart of this growing company an applicant must have the nine specific behaviors that they feel make up the best employee.

Netflix prides themselves on the fact that they do not just pick anyone. To be able to work for this booming company you must fit a certain model that they feel benefits the company as a whole. They mention in their PowerPoint that “we’re a team, not a family” and not just any team “pro sports team, not a kid’s recreational team” (Hastings, 2009). This meaning that to be on the Netflix team you have to be able to pull your own weight. By hiring only the best people they find it is much more beneficial for not only the company but the employees. In an interview done by The Harvard Business Review employees would much rather be surrounded by amazing coworkers than subsequent ones. The philosophy to maintaining a successful company is “The best thing you can do for employees- a perk better than foosball or free sushi- is hire only ‘A’ players as workers alongside them” (McCord, 2014).

Relating this back to my own personal experience I could only dream of working in a place that followed this type of philosophy. In most of the businesses I worked for it was never about the quality of the employees but all about the quantity of them. This lead to many problems for not only management but also for my fellow coworkers and I, as we were usually left cleaning up their mistakes. It gets tiring always having to put in extra work to make up for other people’s lack of effort. The idea of only hiring the best puts not only less stress on management when looking over employees but less stress on the workers in general. They know that the person working next to them is gonna get the job done and they do not have to worry about picking up their metaphorical messes.

Though I have not experienced a company that followed Netflix’s philosophy I have experienced some of their seven aspects within a company. In one of the jobs I worked they had a similar idea of freedom & responsibility. The company saw that if you proved you were a responsible employee that you deserved freedoms. This not only made the work day more enjoyable but also brought confidence to most of the employees. With this trust to have freedom everyone felt valued as a worker and therefore put in their best work to be even more valued.

If I was to work for Netflix one day I feel like I would be very comfortable with their style of management. Their idea of only picking the best employees is not only great for expanding their company even further but also great at keeping their now employed workers happy. They want to deliver a high quality product for their costumers and to effectively accomplish that goal they need highly qualified workers producing such a product.



Hastings, R. (2009, August 1). Culture. Retrieved October 5, 2016, from

Luckerson, V. (2016, January 19). This Is How Much Netflix We’re All Watching Every Day. Retrieved October 05, 2016, from

McCord, P. (2016, January 27). How Netflix Reinvented HR. Retrieved October 05, 2016, from


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