By Torin Wetzel
This case study is meant to analyze Netflix, and their organizational culture. Netflix has a very interesting culture because they give their employees a great deal of freedom, but also select those employees very carefully. Netflix as a company only hires what they call “fully formed adults”, which means putting the company first, realizing the company’s best interests, and being able to communicate. Communication is huge within Netflix because they expect employees to be able to say who they think is doing a good job or not, and describe what is going well with the company and what is not. Being able to understand what is best for the company, even if it means letting goo people go who have talents that are no longer needed. Netflix has a very open environment with its employees, but does it in a way that keeps the company moving very sufficiently.
The seven aspects of Netflix culture are, “Values are what we value, high performance, freedom and responsibility, context not control, highly aligned loosely coupled, pay top of market, and promotions and development” (Hastings). Netflix does not use what they call “nice-sounding values for the company, there values are the actual behaviors and skills that they value in employees. They hire and promote people who exhibit specific values that benefit the company. The nine values that they want their employees to emulate describe how they want the company to run. High performance is another value of Netflix. This value speaks for itself in that every company wants people who work well and have solid performance. Netflix tries to hire “stunning colleges”. They believe that it is not fair to the current workers if they hire someone that is not up to their standard. “The best thing you can do for employees—a perk better than foosball or free sushi—is hire only “A” players to work alongside them. Excellent colleagues trump everything else” (McCord, 2014). This statement is another foundation for how Netflix runs.
Freedom and responsibility are another value help closely by Netflix, and for a very good reason. Freedom comes from responsibility. When a person is seen as a responsible employee, they can have more freedom, because you know they will still get the work done. This ties in with the hiring fully formed adults statement, an adult is supposed to be very responsible and with that comes the freedom that an adult should also receive. The Netflix vacation policy that requires not tracking is an example of the freedom that the employees receive. Context, not control as a value means that manages create environments that do not set binding schedules and harassment, but are loose and goal oriented. At Netflix, the managers do not “control” the employees. Highly aligned, loosely coupled means to have clear goals and trust between teamwork. This is another value that is important to Netflix success because this stresses high performance, with teamwork and a good environment.
“Pay top of the market is core to a high performance culture” (Hastings). This value means to be able to pay a person what they deserve, and what the company can afford. This takes into consideration how effective the employee is in the workplace. People with similar titles may be payed differently because of work ethic or skill. Employees at Netflix should feel as though they are getting paid well for their job in relation to other jobs in the market. Promotions and development is the last value described by Netflix, and focuses on the opportunities for growth and also the cuts that need to be made in certain circumstances. Promotion comes when an employee is outstanding in multiple facets of their work and also is a great role model at Netflix. Development comes from individuals having the opportunities to develop themselves which in turn makes the company better off as a whole.
Netflix culture makes for a successful organization because they take core values of what they want for employees and use them to create and environment that run smooth and causes profit for the company. They do this all while making for a great and enjoyable job for employees. The communication at Netflix is so important, as it should be at many other companies, and that is what helps drive them to the next level. They know what they are looking for in an employee and help the employees that they do hire to develop.
Netflix culture is much different that most of the culture I have been involved with in organizations. Usually, what I have experienced is more of a structured culture, with many rules and regulations. Also, most of the managers I have had are more restrictive of ideas and seem to be shut off to comments regarding the organization. I have experienced some of the seven values talked about with Netflix. The values are what we value is interesting because most organizations I have been a part of have had values. Some of them follow those values in a strict way of some have had very fake values that are just put there because they look good. I have experienced some of the promotion and development value with organizations as well. If you do well with jobs and work usually you will be rewarded and sometimes receive promotions. I believe this value is prominent in most organizations. I believe that I would be a more effective employee under Netflix than previous jobs. I believe this because the way that the culture is formed suits my personality very well. I struggle when hard work does not receive recognition, and I also enjoy freedom in order to get work done. I think that another part of the culture that I would enjoy would be the top-down communication. The fact that it is okay to openly discuss things with your boss and your colleagues. That is a very nice environment to be a part of in the workplace. Also, the vacation policy is very nice.
Hastings, Reed. (2009). Seven Aspects of our Culture. Retrieved October 07, 2016, from http://www.slideshare.net/reed2001/culture-1798664/3-Seven_Aspects_of_our_Culture
McCord, P. (2014). How Netflix Reinvented HR. Retrieved October 06, 2016, from https://hbr.org/2014/01/how-netflix-reinvented-hr
(2016). The Woman Who Created Netflix’s Enviable Company Culture. Retrieved October 06, 2016, from https://www.fastcompany.com/3056187/the-future-of-work/the-woman-who-created-netflixs-enviable-company-culture