Not for Children: The Netflix Culture

By: Tyler Starr

 

Different companies have completely different styles of management in an effort to give them a slight advantage over their competition. Certain companies have management styles that stick out more from conventional than others. In this case study we will look at Netflix and how they have taken a “mature” approach to finding their employees. When it comes to the people that help the movie streaming company run in the fashion that they do, they would like fully grown adults assuming those positions (McCord, 2016).

 

 

netflix
Photo credit: LifeHacker.com

Netflix divides the aspects that they would like to control their organization’s culture into seven different parts. The first part of their culture is that their values are what they value (Hastings, 2009). This means they really like to have employees that will act in good faith, for the best interest of the company. They know that their people aren’t going to do anything shady or illegal when it comes to furthering the company or themselves. Employees are also open about how they operate and frequently communicate with other employees. The next aspect of the culture at Netflix is high performance (Hastings, 2009).  This refers to the high expectations that they hold within each position of the company. Leaders within Netflix will try to mold employees into the most productive individual that they can be to try and further the company. This also means making strict cuts to ensure they don’t have a mass of unproductive employees working in their organization. The third aspect that they hold dearly to their culture is freedom and responsibility within the workplace (Hastings, 2009). With this aspect, they give their employees a lot of freedom to create the working atmosphere that they would like for themselves. This includes not having a set amount of hours an employee is required to work each week and also not regulating the set amount of hours of vacation that employees may take each year. With this freedom comes great responsibility to do what they need to do instead of what they want to do. Things like finding things to work on even when they haven’t been instructed to do so are very important. Fourth on the list of their cultural aspects is that they believe in context, not control (Hastings, 2009). With this value, they focus on making sure there isn’t one person that is making all of the major decisions. The work is all evenly divided up and everybody knows the role that comes with their position. This allows everybody to specialize in the subjects that they are best in. The fifth aspect of Netflix culture is that they keep their employees highly aligned but very loosely coupled (Hastings, 2009). This is to make sure that every employee knows what the ultimate goal is in the end. The important thing to the people high up in Netflix is that everybody has the same goals. How they use what they have to get there doesn’t matter to the upper management as long as the end game is where it is supposed to be. Sixth on Netflix’s list of cultural aspects is that they make sure to pay the top of the market (Hastings, 2009). This is a simple concept, where they want to find the absolute best employees possible for the task at hand and they will pay them pretty much anything they need to, within reason, to keep that employee on staff. This is kind of like professional sports when a player is very good, his team will match almost any other offer to keep them a member of the current organization. The final aspect of the culture within the Netflix organization is how they handle promotions and development (Hastings, 2009). They like to hire from within their company to ensure the people that take over the higher positions in their company already fit in with what they are trying to do. This also promotes motivation in employees in lower positions because they know that there is a possibility they will be promoted in the near future.

 

When all of these aspects come together the only way that the company can go is up! If everyone is truly as responsible and efficient as Netflix would like them to be, the company will prosper. This success would lead to other elite people wanting to work there and they would only continue to grow within their own policy (McCord, 2016). The fact that they make cuts to their employee body means that even though one task is handled well they have to stay on top of their game or they will be swiftly let go.

 

I have worked at multiple different jobs and have yet to see an organization fully encompass what Netflix is doing. Working on a grounds crew of a golf course is probably as close as I have gotten to working in this environment due to the fact that everybody was kind of on their own to complete their job when they were out on the course and we were expected to do anything possible to make sure that the course looked perfect. Even if this meant taking over someone else’s task to make sure it got done in the correct amount of time. That was the most freedom that I have encountered in the workforce to this point.

 

I feel like working in the conditions that a Netflix worker does, would make me a much more efficient worker. Knowing that I was being watched from a productivity standpoint and could easily be promoted or even let go would really motivate me to go above and beyond even my own expectations.

References

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

 

Hastings, Working   Keynote Author Follow, R. (2009, August 01). Seven Aspects of our Culture. Retrieved October 07, 2016, from http://www.slideshare.net/reed2001/culture-1798664/3-Seven_Aspects_of_our_Culture

 

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