Fully Formed Adults and Netflix

By: Sabrina Mills

The purpose of this case study is to take a look at Netflix’s unique management style. Netflix believes in a fully formed adult. They also believe in treating their employees like adults. Trust is an important part of their organization. They are not held to multiple rules and codes and reviews. This case study takes a look at this style of management and what each factor can bring to the table.

The seven aspects of Netflix’s culture are what it such a unique working environment. “Values are What we value” has been defined as actual company values that are behaviors and skills that are valued in fellow employees. High performance is when you are working with people who you respect and that you can learn from. With this come Honest Always (Hastings, 2009), As a leader, no one in the group should be surprised of your views. Always be open with your team and have open communication. Freedom and responsibility within Netflix is a model to increase employee freedom as they grow rather than lower it. An example of this is vacation days. Employees are allowed to decide how long they need off as they see fit. There are times where some people are advised not to go at certain times during the month or quarter, but it’s still controlled by the employee (Harvard,2014). Context, not control says that the best managers figure out how to get great outcomes by setting the appropriate context, rather than by trying to control their people (Hastings, 2009).



Highly Aligned, loose coupled means that the strategies and goals of the organization are clear. Highly aligned is when team actions are based on strategies and goals, rather than tactics (Hastings, 2009).  Loosely coupled is minimal meetings to keep on track. It’s also trusting your team members without checking so that you can keep moving along. Pay top of market goes by the value of “one outstanding employee gets more done and costs less than 2 adequate employees. This plays into Netflix’s statement of “We only hire fully formed adults.” (Harvard,2014). They believe that you should know what other firms would pay you. Paying top of the market means that Netflix pays your value, whether they are doing well or not. Usually performance goes up when doing this (Hastings, 2009) Promotions and development says that sometimes, in some groups, there is chance and room for growth. A condition for promotion is that the employee has to be a superstar at their current position. But also is a role model of their culture and values (Hastings, 2009). Development is defined as “we develop people by giving them opportunity to develop themselves”. They do this by surrounding people with exceptional colleagues and giving them big challenges to work on. Netflix supports and believes in Self-improvement. And by surrounding the employees with exceptional colleagues, they can help promote this value.

Netflix culture fosters a successful organization by focusing more on the employee than a lot of companies, and how someone gets things done rather than the amount of it. By focusing on improvement within the organization as well as the supporting the self-improvement of their employees, they foster an empowering environment. An organization cares about their employees as much as they care about the work they are doing are going to get better results from their employees. With this, they will also have higher employee satisfaction. They also give their employees more freedom than most companies. By treating their employees like adults, instead of a number, they foster a better working relationship within the organization. With more trust, comes more responsibility. With this being said, the feeling of more trust can push people to do better work.

My experiences as part of an organization haven’t been as trust reliant as Netflix’s values. When I worked at Family Video, I was held to a set of rules, but it wasn’t as strict as a lot of companies. For example, our shoes. We were required to dress nicely, but it didn’t have to be business attire. This included out shoes. They had to be good for standing and walking for a long period of time. But there were secret exceptions. As long as we were standing behind the desk or not on the floor with customers, we could bring flip flops or something more comfortable to change into. Another exception of this is when the store was not busy. Every once in a while, one of us would walk across the parking lot to get pizza while the other held down the fort, so to speak. So there were certain rules to follow, but it was a bit more of a relaxed system.

I feel that I would be a more effective worker at Netflix. I believe that trust is an important part of any relationship. Personally, I know that when someone is counting on me, I feel more pressured to get things done. This is because I’m not a fan of letting people, including myself, down. Self-improvement is also such a huge part of anyone’s life, and if you can focus on that while also being part of something bigger, your progress excels. Improving yourself, while improving with others around you, is also a boost of self-esteem.


@. (2014). How Netflix Reinvented HR. Retrieved October 07, 2016, from https://hbr.org/2014/01/how-netflix-reinvented-hr

Reed Hastings, Working   Keynote Author Follow. (2009). We Support Self-Improvement • High. Retrieved October 07, 2016, from http://www.slideshare.net/reed2001/culture-1798664/120-We_Support_SelfImprovement_High_performance




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s