By: Kenzie Fischer
The purpose of this case study is to look at Netflix’s unique culture and the company’s philosophies that they think are important. I will describe and analyze the seven aspects of Netflix culture and I will give personal input of those seven aspects.
The first aspect of Netflix’s culture is “Values are what we Value”. This means that the company searches for these nine behaviors in their employees: judgement, communication, impact, curiosity, innovation, courage, passion, honesty, and selflessness. Hastings goes into further detail why exactly Netflix wants each characteristic. They want employees to make wise decisions “despite ambiguity” and can separate what must be done immediately and what can be improved for future projects. They want employees who can communicate well with other colleagues who treat people with respect, regardless of their position within the company. Netflix wants their employees to make an impact. They focus on results rather than focusing on the actual process (Hastings, 2009).
The second aspect of Netflix’s culture is high performance. Netflix compares themselves to a pro sports team. “Netflix leaders hire, develop and cut smartly, so we have stars in every position” (Hastings, 2009). The managers at Netflix ask themselves “Which of my employees would I fight hard to keep?” If they would not fight for a certain employee to stay, Netflix gives them a severance package so that role can be filled by a better worker. This just goes to show how much Netflix values their employees. Even when they lay off an employee, they offer them a severance. Netflix only wants the best of the best so everyone can help each other succeed and be the best they can be. If the company hits a temporary rough spot, they want employees who will stick with them (Hastings, 2009).
The third aspect of the company’s culture is freedom and responsibility. Netflix wants their employees to be self- motivating, self- disciplined, and self- improving. Their goal is to increase their workers’ freedom to continue to engage innovative people. Meanwhile, as other companies expand, their employees’ freedom usually decreases. This results in increased complexity, which leads to the quality of employees going down. Netflix is aiming to increase the percentage of high performance employees faster than the growth of complexity. “As we grow, minimize rules. Flexibility is more important than efficiency in the long term” (Hastings, 2009).
The fourth trait is “Context, not Control”. This trait explains how Netflix wants its managers to behave with employees. Instead of being a controlling manager, they aim to support their employees and suggest goals for them. This aspect aims to avoid top- down decision making and committees. Instead of blaming their employees, the managers ask themselves what context they could set instead. High performing people will do better work if they understand the context (Hastings, 2009). Netflix wants their managers to clearly explain the goals they are expecting of their employees and be able to trust them with the amount of freedom that is given to them. The managers trust that their employees will get the job done without being forced to finish the task (Hastings, 2009).
The fifth aspect is “Highly Aligned, Loosely Coupled”. Netflix believes that there are two models of corporate teamwork; Tightly Coupled Monolith and Independent Silos. Tightly Coupled Monolith is a management style that reviews all tactics. This model is highly coordinated through centralization, but slow (Hastings, 2009). The Independent Silos model is when each department works on their own. This says that work that requires coordination suffers. Netflix combines these two models and eliminated all of the disadvantages. Their model includes strategies and goals that are clear and understood by everyone. Their teams focus on the goals rather than tactics. Trust between groups is essential in order for them to move fast (Hastings, 2009).
The sixth aspect of Netflix’s culture is “Pay Top of Market”. Netflix aspires to pay their employees top of the market as they expect high quality work. With different job descriptions come different salaries, but Netflix aims to pay their employees on individual worth. This results in raises when the individual’s worth increases (Hastings, 2009).
The final aspect of Netflix’s culture is “Promotions & Development”. Netflix’s goal is to continue growing and keep their best talent. Sometimes there is no room for an employee to get a promotion because there is no open position in the company. If someone leaves for a bigger job, Netflix applauds them since they did not have a bigger and better position to offer the employee. “We want people to manage their own career growth, and not rely on a corporation for “planning” their careers” (Hastings, 2009). Netflix constantly tries to provide their employees opportunities to grow by surrounding them with only the best talent.
I have personally never experienced a management style such as Netflix’s. Most places I have worked have valued control over context. Everywhere I’ve worked, I’ve gotten paid quantity over quality. To my manager, it didn’t matter what I got done or how well I did it, I got paid by the hour. Because of this, my desire to keep working for them dwindled. Netflix’s values are parallel to mine, so I feel that I would be a more effective worker at Netflix. I have never liked being controlled and told what to do, and I love that about Netflix’s management style. Because of the fact that Netflix treats every employee with the utmost respect, I think that I would easily adapt working for the company and also enjoy my time working there.
@. (2016). How Netflix Reinvented HR. Retrieved October 09, 2016, from https://hbr.org/2014/01/how-netflix-reinvented-hr
Reed Hastings, Working Keynote Author Follow. (2009). Culture. Retrieved October 09, 2016, from http://www.slideshare.net/reed2001/culture-1798664