Netflix

Daivon Barrow

netflix

Growing up I can always remembering going to Block Buster to get the latest rental on the movies. The store was so beneficial for people because you can watch a movie by renting the movie. Over time as things changed, and a new & improved software was created. It allowed people to watch many of movies from their location. Netflix was the name of the new software that made a difference in people’s leisure time.  In 1997 Reed Hastings, and Mark Rudolph changed the dynamics, and culture of streaming media, video on demand online, and DVD through email. These two young men had a remarkable dream, and made it more accessible for everyone. Netflix purpose was to become the best global entertainment distribution service, licensing entertainment content around the world, and creating markets that are accessible to film makers according to Netflix Inc”.

Of course by having an impactful creation worldwide it would establish a sense of culture expectancy. Netflix has seven key culture component that they abide by. The seven things are values are what we value, high performance, freedom & responsibility, context, not control, and highly aligned loosely coupled, pay top market, promotions and development.  Those are the seven key assets that typically that makes the reputation of this successful company. First they have implemented some very important rules that they stand by. These rules makes the employee’s job more accessible, and flexible. The reasoning behind that statement is because two of the aspects are high performance, and freedom & responsibility. Netflix expects maximum effort, and assets around their company not liabilities. Netflix also states they have a certain type of skills and behavioral characteristics they have installed for their employees to follow. Showing, and teaching the employees etiquette is another reason why this company is unique. Netflix stands out with different things that they require within their employees.  This shows that the company have some intensity for being competitive. They require these different characteristics in their employees to recruit and hire the best.   It also lets you know that they have high expectations for their employees.

Also they suggest, and require you to get your freedom, but be responsible. This rule is a reminder for employees to allow them to get their freedom, but be responsible while you are doing it. The culture foster a successful organization because it allow one to be comfortable at all times. The organization employees loving working for them. The more everyone is comfortable, and enjoying it, the company will continue to be successful.

Netflix culture Is similar to my organization that I have started. Brothers in Action is an organization that was created to help with the division in conversations, and dialogues through all men on campus. It was created to allow some males to have a sense of comfortability through an organization on campus. In comparison Netflix have a sense of similar organization.   If everyone if feeling involved in the organization, and everyone is comfortable it will increase the effectiveness of the organization. After a small comparison of Netflix and Brothers In Action culturally I found another similarity. High performance is something we take deep pride in. Whenever we are preparing for an event or doing community engagement projects we urge for high performance. When you perform highly, and complete a task that you prepared yourself for you gain confidence collectively, and it’s a great feeling. In my opinion for you to have a successful organization or work well in a group everyone needs to be involved.

As shown Netflix is a company that is moving forward, and finding new ways and ideas for it to improve. Over the years it has made remarkable innovations, and as technology increases I am excited to see what Netflix has in store.

NETFLIX- THE GREAT CULTURE

By: Kenzie Fischer

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Photo Credit: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/culture-new-strategy-netflixs-remarkable-view-marc-do-amaral

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.

 

References

 

@. (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

 

 

 

The Great Culture of Netflix

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Photo cred: pmcvariety.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/netflix-headquarters.jpg

by Reagan Wheeler

The purpose of this case study on the widely known organization, Netflix, is to show the organizational culture that is within it. It will look at and describe the seven aspects of the culture and I will give personal examples of those seven aspects. I will then reflect on my own ability to adapt to the Netflix culture as if I were an employee at the organization.

Netflix has seven aspects in which it is conducted. The first is “Values Are What We Value.” This means to say that the company actually looks at if the employees have values such as judgment, communication, impact, curiosity, innovation, courage, passion, honesty, and selflessness. The company likes when an employee has these things because then they know that he or she will give all they have into their job. The second aspect is “High Performance”, which means that Netflix makes sure they have star people in every position. If someone isn’t honest or loyal in their leader position then they will be asked to step down. Netflix wants employees in manager positions to follow the nine values of the company to ensure a great workplace (Reed). One employee even said that he would rather work by himself than with subpar performers (How Netflix Reinvented…). Netflix doesn’t want employees who are right out of college. They want people who are self-sufficient and put together. They don’t have people walking around in t-shirts and sweatshirts (Netflix’s Next Big…). “A great workplace is stunning colleagues (Reed).”

The third aspect of the Netflix culture is “Freedom and Responsibility.” They want employees who are responsible because responsible employees are worthy of freedom, and freedom is exactly what they want. They know that if they have the right people they can do without a culture of following the process and sticking to it. Instead, they can have a culture of self-discipline, freedom, responsibility and creativity. “Context, not Control” is the fourth aspect. This aspect wants managers to give the employees an outline of what they want and let them do what they have to without the manager having to have the final say. Netflix wants their managers to give structure rather than give orders. The company understands that high performance employees will work better if they know the context. “Highly Aligned, Loosely Coupled” is the fifth aspect. The goal behind this one is to be big, fast, and flexible within the teamwork of high performing employees. The company believes that all that is needed is good, clear context (Reed).

The sixth aspect is “Pay Top of Market.” Netflix wants their highest performers whose value is high in the marketplace to be paid to stay there. If one of the company’s great employees is on a high demand for their area or is increasing in their skills, Netflix wants to do whatever they can to keep them. They always want to be at the top of market for that person. The final aspect of the Netflix culture is “Promotions and Development.” The company gives promotions to the employees who earn it. They don’t plan out promotions like some company’s based on how long an employee has worked for them. They want each person to grow and control their own future. There are three conditions that must apply for an employee to be promoted. The job has to be big enough to where there will be enough work to do. The person has to be really great at their current job and he or she must be an excellent example of the organization’s culture and values (slide).

I can relate to this culture through some my own experiences in the workplace. Prasco, the company I work for in the summer looks greatly at the values of the employees. They want each person to have good values because without them it wouldn’t be a great company. They also strongly believe in the freedom and responsibility aspect. Prasco wants their employees to have freedom and they give that by teaching us how to be responsible. Having good, clear context is a huge one in my specific job at the company. I work with a large group of girls and we know that all we need is good context on what we need to do and we can do it. We also know that if we ever have questions about the context then we can ask, which helps to avoid doing something wrong if the context was not clear.

I definitely think I would be a more effective worker at Netflix and in their culture. I have so much experience with a lot of their cultural aspects as stated earlier that I think I could easily adapt. I would have fun working in the Netflix organizational culture. I think I would feel laid back but also in control and responsible.

 

References

“How Netflix Reinvented HR.” Harvard Business Review. N.p., 2016. Web. 07 Oct. 2016.

“Netflix’s next Big Challenge Doesn’t Have Anything to Do with TV.” https://www.facebook.com/CNBC. CNBC. CNBC, 2016. Web. 07 Oct. 2016.

Reed Hastings, Working   Keynote Author Follow. “Three Necessary Conditions for Promotion.” Three Necessary Conditions for Promotion. N.p., 2009. Web. 07 Oct. 2016.

 

FREEDOM IN THE WORKPLACE

by Sarah Van Wagnen

netflix2Netflix is known for its high quality streaming, but they should also be well known for something else. Their approach to how they manage and hire their employees is one of the main reasons they’ve continued to thrive. Looking at how Netflix keeps performing so well could be a guiding light for other companies going through a period of growth. Any company or organization that is struggling to adapt should look into how Netflix runs the show.

There are 7 very important principles Netflix is guided by. The first one is “Values are what we Value” they hire and keep people based on 9 values. These include judgement, communication, impact, curiosity, innovation, courage, passion, honesty, and selflessness (Hastings, 2009). Their second cultural aspect is high performance, this is valued much more over number of hours in the office. Instead of annual reviews, managers use the “keeper test”. They ask themselves what employees they would fight to keep if they had the option to leave for a different company. They want star players across the field.

Freedom and responsibility, along with context and not control are their next principles. By increasing freedom and responsibility talent within the company grows at the same rate as talented needed. Therefore even though Netflix is growing, there’s no need to lay down more procedures and limitations that will strangle the employees and end up hurting the company. Talent is able to thrive and Netflix will accept nothing less. Vacation time is also up to each employee to decide what best will fit their needs. Bosses are encouraged to lead by example and come back from vacation with fresh new ideas. Within how they manage their employees they use context instead of control. They do not micromanage or constantly have a say in what everyone is doing. Goals and objectives with clearly defined roles are set to create the highest quality work.

The remaining parts of Netflix culture are highly aligned, loosely coupled; pay top of market; and promotions and development. There are clear goals and expectations with trust between groups so that projects can move quickly and efficiently. Netflix also always pays at the top of the market for their workers. If their skills are valuable and growing they do not want to lose a star to another company. This motivates workers to align themselves with top of the market qualities 100 percent of the time. Promotions are given when there is a job big enough for a superstar employee; however some divisions in Netflix will grow while others may not, but employees will still be paid at the top of their individual market skill level.

These practices have been so successful because employees are constantly using their talent in the best way possible. While Netflix grew as a company, they made sure their employees did too. They only hired the best, and let go of those who didn’t fit their model. Netflix knew what type of company it wanted to be and did not settle on trying to control change. The company thrives on change because their employees can adapt, and when someone can no longer adapt they are offered a great severance package. The employees who fit Netflix’s needs are happy, and even the ones who no longer do are happy. “We continually told managers that building a great team was their most important task,” said a former employee (McCord,2016). Great co-workers are the key to employee happiness.

Compared to organizations I’ve been apart of, Netflix is very different. Most places I’ve worked have valued control over context. They’ve been very rigid jobs with pay based on the hour, not what I actually get done. In turn I had no desire to stay very long at these jobs and ended up moving on to something else pretty quickly. I did have one internship where what I did was a great deal of my own ideas, and it really helped me get more done in a smaller amount of time. Places I’ve worked could learn a lot from Netflix,”Giving employees greater freedom and holding them to higher standards, while not sweating tiny details, are common-sense approaches that seem likely to help many companies beyond Netflix” (Stenovec, 2015).

If I worked in a culture such as Netflix, I feel like I would be an effective worker. I enjoy being pushed and inspired while having a good amount of freedom. The only problem I might have is adapting to a lot of change quickly, but if I had the skills Netflix needed I would be motivated to allow my talent to thrive. Netflix treats employees like adults instead of children, and I’ve always valued mutual respect within any organization. Nothing makes me more upset than being treated as incompetent within a workplace. By building trust and respect between employees and the company both parties will benefit much more than when employees are restricted too much. Talent and passion is the driving force behind what motivates me, and behind what motivates so many other people as well. Workers are not inspired by clocking in and out; giving people the opportunity to do their best work free of the strict 9-5 shift creates the talent that has helped Netflix grow.

 

 

References

Hastings, R. (2009, August 1). Culture. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/reed2001/culture-1798664/8-At_Netflix_we_particularly_value

McCord, P. (2016, January 27). How Netflix reinvented HR. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2014/01/how-netflix-reinvented-hr

Stenovec, T. (2015, March 03). One reason for Netflix’s success — It treats employees like grownups. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/27/netflix-culture-deck-success_n_6763716.html

Accepting Only the Best – Netflix

By : Tony Snider

Nowadays everybody has seen the trend of going to rent movies from the local video store has essentially died out. This trend has taken place because of the addition of Netflix, a video streaming company that allows you to watch thousands of movies and television shows instantly on your device.  Netflix’s genius idea has seen the company take off in recent years, but the way Netflix as a company recruits workers and runs their organization has been just as big in its success. By taking a very specific strategy toward what workers they hire, Netflix has been able to grow steadily into a respected and revered company worldwide.

netflix

Photo Credit – Huffingtonpost.com

Netflix has seen incredible growth and success since it began because of its “seven aspects of our culture”.  These seven aspects of Netflix’s culture are the company’s priorities and standards that the company is based on.  The first aspect is “values are what we value”.  This describes how Netflix differs from many companies, as they do not post generic statements about their “integrity” or “respect”.  Netflix shows its values by who gets rewarded, promoted, or even let go (Hastings, 2016).  The next aspect of their culture is “high performance”, meaning that the company itself aims to employ only those that everybody can learn something from and that can respect and learn from others as well.  Coupled along with their “high performance” aspect is “freedom and responsibility”. At Netflix only those applicants that are deemed “fully formed adults” are chosen to join the company, being that they need to be self-motivating, self-aware, self-disciplined, self-improving, and act like a leader.  Another of the seven aspects is “context, not control”.  This means that the best managers figure out how to get great outcomes by setting the appropriate context, rather than by trying to control their people.  Another aspect dealing with their management style is “highly aligned, loosely coupled”.  This describes how at Netflix their strategy and goals are clear, specific, and broadly understood, yet there are minimal cross-functional meetings except to get aligned on goals and strategy.  Next is that they “pay top of market”, meaning that they feel that one outstanding employee gets more done and costs less than two adequate employees.  The last of the seven aspects of Netflix’s culture is “promotions and development”.  This is easily understood by looking at baseball and the minor leagues.  Those that are talented enough get to move up in the world, but you have to continually perform at your highest level to stay in your highest position without getting demoted.

Going along with Netflix’s seven aspects of culture is the way in which they select their employees; “The Netflix Approach”, or only accepting “fully formed adults” (How Netflix Reinvented HR, 2016).  This groundbreaking human resource policy was derived under direction of Reed Hastings and Patty McCord.  The point of adding the notion of only hiring fully formed adults was implemented for multiple reasons.  First off Netflix did not want to hire those workers that cause you the most typical problems.  Although some firms offer services to help these workers mesh better, Netflix does not deal with that unneeded work and shies away from these workers altogether.  The Netflix Approach has also been very beneficial financially.  Since implementing the idea the company has been 22% more profitable, seen 30% lower turnover, and 37% less absenteeism (Zeldin, 2016).

As being part of a professional organization working for my father over the last five years, I have seen many similarities between the way Netflix is ran compared to Miami Industrial Trucks.  At Miami Industrial Trucks I work directly underneath my father who is also the hiring manager for the parts division of the company.  That being said, my father and I have been involved in every hire for the company over the last few years in that part of the company.  Of Netflix’s seven aspects of culture, I feel my father and Miami Industrial Trucks are closely related in three of the seven areas.  First off Miami Industrial Trucks is also run with the thought process of “values are what we value”.  With this they do not necessarily always take the most qualified applicant, but take the one that is qualified, yet shows true passion and integrity in their character.  Miami Industrial Trucks also runs along with the aspect of “high performance”, meaning that managers want every new hire to be able to teach current employees something new, and vice versa.  Lastly I feel Miami Industrial Trucks is also ran along the premise of “promotion and development”, meaning that there are many opportunities for growth within the company, but even if you are able to earn those positions you must perform at your very best to be able to hold that spot or you will be demoted for the good of the company.

I feel that I would excel at Netflix, working in accordance with their seven aspects of culture.  I feel that I am the type of person that thrives under pressure and am able to rise to the occasion in certain situations. Working for Netflix would push me to be the most productive and honest employee I could be, understanding the consequences that would result otherwise.  I love the way Netflix operates, only accepting the best and not hesitating to drop an employee immediately if need be.

References

(2016). 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 Seek Excellence Our culture.   Retrieved October 07, 2016, from http://www.slideshare.net/reed2001/culture- 1798664/2-We_Seek_ExcellenceOur_culture_focuses

Zeldin, I. (n.d.). Hire only fully formed adults: How soft skills improve your bottom line. Retrieved October 07, 2016, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ilya-zeldin/hire-only-    fully-formed-ad_b_10361688.html

 

Nothing Short of the Best: Netflix’s Unique Organizational Culture

by Susanna Savage
While every organization has its own unique culture, some stick out more than others. Netflix’s culture is one that is very different from the norm. As the organization has grown from a small DVD rental company, to the booming business that it is today, its management style and interesting culture can lend lessons to other organizations (McCord). This case study explores the culture and management style of Netflix with a critical eye to the impact of this environment on the employees.

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Photo Credit: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/culture-new-strategy-netflixs-remarkable-view-marc-do-amaral

Netflix’s Culture

Netflix’s unique culture is based on seven basic principles. The first of these is “values are what we value” (Netflix, slide 5).  Netflix seeks to employ only those who embody all nine of their organizational values. These include communication, innovation, courage and passion, among others. Second, is “high performance” (Netflix, slide 23). Netflix wants its employees to be the best in their field. The philosophy behind this is that one incredible employee accomplishes a larger amount and puts out higher quality work then several average employees (Nisen). And when it comes to deciding who stays at Netflix and who is let go, managers make decisions by asking themselves this question; “Which of my people, if they told me they were leaving in two months for a similar job at a peer company, would I fight hard to keep at Netflix” (Netflix, slide 30).

Another aspect of Netflix culture is “freedom and responsibility” (Netflix, slide 38). Netflix believes that if it works hard to ensure that its employees are the best, it can foster a creative and mature environment that shows respect for those employees by giving them as much freedom as possible and charging them to use that freedom responsibly. As evidence of this, Netflix does not have a vacation policy. This is because it trusts that employees will take as much or as little vacation as they need while ensuring that the work that they are responsible for is accomplished. This no-policy-policy is made possible by Netflix’s focus on results rather than effort. The hours that someone puts in or the amount of effort that they invest are not as important as what they produce (Nisen).

“Context and control” refers to Netflix’ belief that directly controlling employees creates a negative culture (Netflix, slide 76). Because Netflix only employs the best, it can treat all employees like adults who do not need to be controlled. However, Netflix does not completely abandon management. Instead management is more about leading than controlling. In order to lead and guide employees in the right direction, Netflix believes that management should set contexts that maximize employees’ ability to do well. To exemplify the principle of context setting, Netflix quotes Antoine De Saint-Exuperty, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to gather wood, divide work, and giver orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea” (Netflix, slide 77). This quote clearly shows the difference between control and context. Rather than telling employees what to do, Netflix managers set a context which will empower the employees to achieve the goal on their own.

Netflix strives to maintain a model of management that is “highly aligned, loosely coupled” (Netflix, slide 86). Being highly aligned virtually means that managers, individual employees and team members have a unified sense of their goals. At the same time, being loosely coupled means that individuals are trusted to pursue goals with what they feel to be appropriate tactics, without having to get approval from management. Netflix’s goal when compensating employees is “pay top of market” (Netflix, slide 93). This means that for any given job, Netflix plays the employee that holds that position above the highest pay for that position anywhere in the current job market. Additionally, Netflix makes use of “promotions and development” (Netflix, slide 109) to reward excellent employees.

Critical Analysis

While I have never experienced an organizational culture anything like that of Netflix’s, I believe that I would thrive in such an atmosphere. Most of the organizations in which I have worked have been much closer to a traditional organizational culture and traditional management styles. Their was little competition, and job security was fairly high. Their was also very little drive to achieve or to put in more then the average amount of effort. I have definitely not experienced an organization that focused on results above effort.

The Netflix culture is incredibly appealing to me for several reasons. When I took the StrengthsFinder 2.0 analysis , I found that one of my top strengths is “Achiever.” This means that I gain personal satisfaction from producing high quality work and going above and beyond to be “the best,” at any given area or task. The Netflix culture rewards people who are achievers and also creates an environment that enables them to achieve to their full potential and to be the best that they can be. I also think that the self management aspect of Netflix’s culture would facilitate my creativity and work productivity. I am able to work best when I am in complete control of how I spend my time and how I approach tasks. When I am managed in the traditional sense, I can feel stifled and unproductive. Netflix’s culture of trusting its employees to manage their own time, and focusing mainly on results, creates an environment in which I would thrive.

Another great aspect of Netflix is that accomplishments and not effort are valued and compensated. This model makes sense. Students are not awarded grades based on the amount of time they spend studying, but on their ability to preform on various measures of their learning. In much the same way, it seems that results are all that should matter to an employer. Any given task takes some people a longer time and others a shorter time to accomplish. For some the task might require more effort and be more challenging, while for others it is easy. The Netflix focus on results rather then effort seems to be the most fair, both to the employee, and the organization.

References

McCord, P. (2014, January). How Netflix reinvented HR. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2014/01/how-netflix-reinvented-hr

Netflix. (2009, August 1). Netflix Culture – SlideShare. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/reed2001/culture-2009?next_slideshow=1

Nisen, M. (2013, December 30). Legendary ex-HR director from Netflix shares 6 important lessons. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/netflix-corporate-culture-hr-policy-2013-12

Netflix’s Culture and Succes

By Seth Ansell

This case study looks at Netflix’s unique corporate culture and highlights specific aspects and philosophies that Netflix deems important. The case study will describe and analyze the seven aspects of Netflix culture and add my input. My own experience within other organizations will be used to compare and contrast my experiences against Netflix’s unique culture.

The first aspect of Netflix’s culture is their values which they claim is shown through the behavior of their colleagues. These values are looked for in characteristics of candidates that apply at Netflix. The nine behaviors include: judgement, communication, impact, curiosity, innovation, courage, passion, honesty, and selflessness. Netflix goes into further details in why they want each characteristic. They want employees to make wise decisions “despite ambiguity,” and be able to think strategically. They want employees who can communicate well with other colleagues and treat others with respect regardless of who they are. They want their employees to not be another cog in the machine, but instead make an impact. Netflix’s key values it looks for in employees may seem like what most companies would want, it becomes more clear with their other aspects of culture in specifically what they want from their employees (Hastings, 2009).

Image result for netflix office
Work space inside Netflix’s offices. Photo credit: glassdoor.com

The second aspect of their 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 think “who of my employees would I fight hard to keep if they were leaving?” If a manager wouldn’t fight hard to keep an employee, then Netflix gives them a generous severance package so that role can be filled in by a superstar. This shows how Netflix actually highly values their employees. Even when they drop an employee they offer them a severance. The company wants the best of the best so that all of the large talent can pool together and assist each other in achieving the company’s goals. The company values loyalty and will give a pass to their highest achieving employees in hopes that they will perform highly again. Netflix expects the same. If the company hits a low, they want employees to stick around (Hastings, 2009).

The third trait of Netflix’s culture is freedom and responsibility. Netflix wants employees to be responsible and self-motivated but also wants to grant them large amounts of freedom. As companies grow, their employee freedom usually decreases. This results in complexity increasing while quality employees decrease which results in chaos. Companies then streamline work processes to avoid this conflict which results in difficulty in adapting to future issues and market switches. Netflix aims to do the opposite; they want to promote freedom to attract innovative employees. They are attempting to increase the percentage of high performing employees faster than the growth of complexity. This allows the company to stay innovative and able to quickly adapt to change. An example of the freedom an employee has at Netflix is their ambiguous vacation policy. Employees are able to take as long as vacation as they want, as long as they are still performing their job (Hastings, 2009).

Netflix’s fourth aspect of culture is “Context, not Control.” This coincides well with the last aspect of freedom and responsibility. This aspect is how Netflix wants its managers to behave. They do not want managers to micromanage their employees every move, but rather show them clear objectives and goals. The aspect looks to avoid things such as top-down decision making and requiring management approval. They want their managers to show clearly the goals of the employees and trust with the freedom given to the employees that they will have the responsibility to finish the task, rather than using control to force finish the task (Hastings, 2009).

The fifth aspect is “Highly Aligned, Loosely Coupled.” Netflix claims that in traditional companies there are two common models of teamwork, tightly coupled monoliths and independent silos. The first method consists of management reviewing all work and tactics, highly coordinated through centralization which causes slowness within office, and workers get exhausted trying to innovate and constantly please management. The independent silos model is the opposite were each department works on their own, little office coordination, “suspicion” between departments, and teamwork suffers. Netflix’s model combined the strengths of each model to eliminate the cons. Their model includes clear goals that are broadly understood, large amounts of team interaction, trust within departments and teams so that they don’t need to review each other, and leaders are pro-active with creating ad-hoc groups and coordination when needed (Hastings, 2009).

The sixth aspect of Netflix’s culture is to pay their employees top of the market. Netflix aims to pay top of the market for that employee as they expect top quality work. Not all employees with the same job description are worth the same, but Netflix aims to pay the highest market value on individual worth. This eliminates the 4% raise each year that many companies use, but results in raises when the individual’s worth increases (Hastings, 2009).

Netflix’s final aspect to their culture is promotions and development. Netflix aims to grow and keep their best talent. Sometimes there is no room for an employee to advance because there is no open position. Netflix recognizes this and celebrates an employee leaving for a better job if Netflix didn’t have one available for them. They truly care about the development and advancement of their employees, even if it results in them leaving (Hastings, 2009).

These aspects of the company seem to be showing good results. In 2013, Netflix had tripled its stock value. The business has won 3 Emmy awards, and has United States subscriber base of about 29 million. The seven cultural traits and aspects created a company that has succeeded through the use of creating a mutual respect/trust between employees and the company, honestly telling employees about their performance, managers creating highly-efficient teams, and leaders continuing the development of the company’s unique culture (McCord, 2016).

I have experienced some of the components to Netflix’s culture in organizations I am involved in. While I do not have very much work experience, I have seen on a small scale how managers who do not micro-manage may be more effective than those who do. In my fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon, members are expected to work together with efficient communication among each other, but we respect each other and do not micromanage or try to control others. We expect others to do their work and others expect me to do mine. This is very similar to Netflix’s ideology on freedom and responsibility. Freedom to get the work done how and when you want but the responsibility to complete high quality work. TKE shares some of the same values of high performance, rewarding strongly, respect and freedom, and development that Netflix does. Our slogan as a fraternity is “Better Men for a Better World.” This fits strongly with Netflix’s values on employee development.

I feel I may have the tools to succeed at Netflix, but I would be cautious. I feel I could succeed because I place a strong emphasis on communication and teamwork, as does Netflix. I would be cautious because I highly value job security and Netflix stated themselves that these are not the people they are looking for. They are looking for employees who are always trying to excel. I believe I am one of those types of employees but my fear of possibly being let go would cause me to be nervous and anxious on the job. Being nervous would not allow me to relax and really get into the work I am doing as I would be too busy worrying.

References

Hastings, R. (2009, August 01). Netflix Culture: Freedom and Responsibility. Retrieved October

07, 2016.

McCord, P. (2016, January/February). How Netflix Reinvented HR. Retrieved October 07, 2016.