Netflix CEO Reed HastingsEthan Miller/Getty ImagesNetflix is famous in the tech industry for its well-defined work culture, which seeks to chop out "brilliant jerks" and underperforming employees.
This culture was outlined in a famous 2009 deck by CEO Reed Hastings, which summarized Netflix’s management philosophy in 120 slides.
But on Wednesday, Netflix gave its culture deck an update, releasing a 10-page prose document "seeking to clarify the many points on which people have had questions."
In the document, Netflix detailed how it tries to put together a "dream team."
"Our version of the great workplace is not comprised of sushi lunches, great gyms, big offices, or frequent parties," the company wrote. "Our version of the great workplace is a dream team in pursuit of ambitious common goals, for which we spend heavily."
In pursuit of this dream team, Netflix has its managers put everyone through a "keeper test." Put simply: "If one of the members of the team was thinking of leaving for another firm, would the manager try hard to keep them from leaving?" If they don't pass that test, they are "promptly and respectfully given a generous severance package." That severance is generally a minimum of four month's full salary, according to Netflix.
Harsh, but fair.
To put together this dream team, Netflix also won't hire or retain so-called "brilliant jerks." "The cost to teamwork is just too high," the company wrote in the new document.
Beyond describing how it maintains the dream team, Netflix wrote in the document about how it tries to encourage its employees to take risks, and gives its teams the freedom to fail. "In general, freedom and rapid recovery is better than trying to prevent error," Netflix wrote. "We are in a creative business, not a safety-critical business. Our big threat over time is lack of innovation."
Here is Netflix's summary, in the document, of the top points that show what is "unique and special about Netflix":
- Encourage independent decision-making by employees
- Share information openly, broadly, and deliberately
- Are extraordinarily candid with each other
- Keep only our highly effective people
- Avoid rules
And here is a rundown Netflix gave for the type of people it is looking for at the company:
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