Netflix’s Squid Game is all the rage right now. The show may be about ordinary people fighting to the death to win money but it certainly isn’t reflective of the streaming service that brought it to life.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Netflix has created an enviable culture for its employees. As a result, the company has grown into the behemoth it is today.
How did Netflix revolutionize employee engagement and success? And can other businesses follow suit in time for ‘The Great Regeneration’?
Venngage has created a series of Smart diagrams that highlight what makes the Netflix company culture and business process such a success.
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Click to jump ahead:
- How Netflix culture leads staff to success
- The values of a successful business model
- What makes Netflix’s company culture special?
- Netflix’s advice for employee retention
- Employee expectations at Netflix
How Netflix culture leads staff to success
Netflix changed the way the world consumes media. But they were only able to do so because of their unique business processes.
Unlike many other startups, Netflix eschewed gyms and communal lunches. Instead, the company culture focused on supplying team members the tools to become ambitious professionals.
This unique approach in the Netflix culture has led to an executive suite that looks like this now.
What also set the Netflix company culture apart was its drive for feedback. Company executives encourage their employees to own their voices and share their thoughts.
But while Netflix believes in the power of ‘people over process‘, the company isn’t big on emotion.
The streaming service has been known to cancel shows in their prime, and the same can be said of their employees.
Netflix founder, Reed Hastings, when promoting his Netflix culture book, No Rules Rules, described a point in the company’s culture memo: ‘adequate performance gets a generous severance package’.
Hastings has also spoken of the ‘Keeper Test’ where managers ask a simple question: “Would you keep the person if they wanted to leave?”. If the answer is ‘no’, the person is let go.
Job security isn’t high on the list of priorities for Netflix. In this high-performance culture, it’s more important to take smart risks and challenge prevailing assumptions about an industry.
We can imagine Hastings using a business flow chart, like this example, to highlight Netflix’s corporate culture.
Learn more about diagramming a business process to ensure all team members and managerial staff are aligned.
The high-pressure environment of Netflix requires employees to demonstrate consistently strong performance. Otherwise, you won’t be at the company very long.
Though the Netflix culture isn’t easy to adapt to, team members who do stick it out succeed, according to Hastings.
And clearly, the high-performance approach has worked for Netflix. This is why it’s a huge part of their company culture and values.
The values of a successful business model
How did Netflix capture such a high market value? By building up team members in a great workplace.
Other companies can’t boast the results Netflix has achieved because they don’t have the same company culture.
Here’s how the Netflix culture deck outlined the company’s 10 unusual but effective values, which have also been highlighted on the brand’s jobs forum.
Create a mind map to share your company values with Venngage’s library of Smart Diagrams. Easily edit templates by adding or removing items with our one-of-a-kind Smart features.
Netflix culture puts a heavy emphasis on high performance, as well as freedom, which are hallmarks of a great workplace. But they also expect more accountability from team members.
Even though they are an entertainment service, Netflix isn’t interested in the niceties when it comes to values.
These values have been highlighted in the Netflix culture deck (which has been viewed over 11 million times!).
You can see Venngage’s version of the Netflix corporate culture deck below for reference.
Netflix believes in employees who discover practical solutions using data. They also want their ‘dream team’ to be constantly curious enough to find new business avenues.
Inconsistent employee effectiveness isn’t encouraged. And the brand isn’t afraid to end the employment of someone they deem to be the wrong person for the job.
The Netflix company culture focuses on ensuring that people from a variety of cultures can align. This explains how the company has earned market value internationally.
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There is also an emphasis on speaking one’s mind, even if it’s uncomfortable for those involved, such as the ‘Keeper Test’ mentioned above.
The company culture focuses on being passionate about the brand, not just oneself. There is a section dedicated to inclusivity in Netflix, but the company also believes in not being political.
But the major component of Netflix’s dream team is employees that deliver more than they promise and who make each other and the company better.
Here’s a mind map that breaks down the Netflix work culture and philosophy.
What makes the Netflix company culture special?
Imagine this: your employee is knee-deep in an important project when another priority project falls into their lap.
The employee works after hours and on weekends. They feel burnt out without a work-life balance. But with no choice, they carry on.
According to Netflix, there is a better way to work. It’s as simple as giving your dream team the freedom they deserve.
Establishing trust and communication with employees will be the highest ROI strategy you will use. It’s worked for Netflix.
Additionally, Netflix provides employees unlimited vacations without approval, no traditional performance reviews, and an extra generous salary.
It isn’t surprising that Netflix puts so much thought into their employees and business model. After all, even Netflix fonts for shows are well-planned.
Netflix creates a special company culture and a great workplace by keeping a people-focused approach, prioritizing quality over quantity.
Research shows that in an eight-hour day, we are only productive for about four hours. Netflix measures success not by the number of hours worked, but by high-level ideas.
In fact, if you’re spending long hours doing average work at Netflix, you could be fired.
These principles guide the Netflix work culture, and it’s helped the brand become the world’s largest subscription streaming video service, with over 200 million paid subscribers.
So, how do you create the same kind of special culture alongside a high-impact business like Netflix has?
For one, Netflix managers use the Keeper Test to evaluate employees: if one of your employees told you they were leaving for a job at another company, would you fight to keep them at Netflix?
Managers use this strategy at Netflix to build a dream team that wins together, loses together (which is also one of Venngage’s core values).
Netflix’s advice for employee retention
With the Venngage Diagram Maker, you can design numerous diagrams, including mind maps, like the above, flow charts, organizational charts, and more.
Here is a breakdown of all the leadership tips from the Netflix corporate culture book that you can incorporate into your business:
Offer feedback anytime, anywhere
- Well-intentioned feedback should always be given
- Not speaking up is a failure/ disloyalty to the company
- Recipients of feedback will appreciate it but they aren’t required to apply it
- No jerks allowed
Pay people more than they expect
- Employees are encouraged to interview with competitors
- Netflix is interested in data and they want to what their competitors are willing to pay
- To retain talent, Netflix intends to pay employees more than anyone else
Trusting people is worth the risk
- Management is transparent with their employees
- Keeping secrets is off-limits
- Giving employees access to information creates a higher sense of ownership and inclusiveness
Champion the brilliant idea your boss hates
- Employees are allowed the freedom to explore ideas without buy-ins from ‘Bosses’
- Bosses are happy to be proven wrong
- Employees are trusted to do the right thing in Netflix’s interest
‘Sunshine’ your failures
- Try to understand why ideas failed
- Share a comprehensive assessment of what went wrong
- Failed bets are an inherent part of an innovative success wheel
Practice the ‘Keeper Test’
- Regularly practice the Keeper Test
- Keeper Test: ‘If this person were to quit tomorrow, would I work hard to try to change their mind?’
- Managers are asked to get rid of adequate performers
Context is more important than direction
- Lead with context, not control
- Managers don’t make the decision, they provide guidance
- Employees make the decision based on their judgment
- Developing decision-making abilities allows for better decisions for everyone
Here’s a visual breakdown of Netflix’s ‘Context, Not Control’ philosophy:
Create a flow chart like the above example to visualize employee processes with the customizable Venngage Flowchart Maker.
Employee expectations at Netflix
According to The Employee Expectations Report 2021 by Peakon, here are what employees are looking for from leadership:
Diversity, equity, and inclusion
Being accountable as a leader and business is key, especially when tying your business goals with diversity. Do your employees feel a sense of belonging and inclusion in the workplace?
Health and wellbeing
How are you supporting your direct reports and teams emotionally and mentally? Are you offering resources for stress management? Connecting with employees will increase engagement, retention, and productivity.
Reduce burnout by offering flexible hours outside a strict 9-5 regime, so people can work when they feel most productive. Don’t measure employee success by hours, but by the quality of performance.
How are you keeping your employees engaged amidst all the uncertainty? Do they feel like they’re progressing meaningfully in their individual work?
As a manager, you can develop coaching skills, as well as a long-term plan to support your employees and help them grow professionally.
Conclusion: Netflix culture is unique and performance-driven, and brands can learn from it
The Smart diagrams Venngage has created for this post highlight how the Netflix work culture revolutionized employee and business models.
Netflix is currently one of the biggest companies in the world. They got to the top by adopting an unusual company culture.
Their practices may not work for everyone. But it is important to understand what Netflix does and why it works for them.
Now you know how Netflix succeeded, you can adopt some of its cultural elements for your business.
Create visual diagrams like the ones in this blog post to share your culture with employees. With Venngage templates, you can design effective diagrams to facilitate better executive communication.
Written with Carina Mazur, Marketing Coordinator at Venngage.