Netflix’s Chief Talent Officer Shares Netflix’s Latest Culture Memo

Netflix's Chief Talent Officer Shares Netflix's Latest Culture Memo

June 24, 2024 – “In August 2009, Reed Hastings, our co-founder, published a 125-page powerpoint presentation on Netflix’s culture. Its refreshingly direct tone immediately struck a chord — and the focus on values and performance over rules and controls have enabled us to adapt and grow ever since.

“Over the last 15 years, we’ve revised it four times in the quest for excellence, and today, we’re publishing the latest iteration for anyone to read. It’s been 12 months in the making, with every employee given the chance to weigh in (we call this “farming for dissent”). In total, we received over 1,500 comments, many of which are reflected in this update.

“A few key things to highlight: First, the memo had gotten a bit long, so we’ve shortened it by focusing on what’s most important, and what differentiates Netflix. Second, we reintroduced some concepts from the original deck that had been watered down (e.g. the emphasis on responsibility, and the focus on good and bad process versus no process at all). Third, we’ve structured it around the core principles that we think best represent Netflix today — an entertainment company of 13k+ people that operates all around the world:

The Dream Team: We aim only to have the highest performers at Netflix, modeling ourselves on a professional sports team, not a family.

People over Process: Our goal is to inspire and empower more than manage because employees have more impact when they’re free to make decisions about their own work.

Uncomfortably Exciting: Netflix works best if you thrive on change because success in entertainment requires us to think differently, experiment and adapt (often quickly).

Great and Always Better: We often say we suck today by comparison to where we want to be in the future. So we focus on constant improvement, and the resilience needed to get there.

“As head of talent, I’m often asked, why do we place so much emphasis on the culture memo? We believe that our culture is key to our success and so we want to ensure that anyone applying for a job here knows what motivates Netflix — and all employees are working from a shared understanding of what we value most. The other question I’m often asked — does Netflix seriously not have an expenses or vacation policy? The answer: we don’t.

“You might think that this kind of freedom leads to chaos. While we’ve had our fair share of failures — and a few people have taken advantage of our culture — our emphasis on individual autonomy has created a very successful business. This is because in our industry, the biggest threats are a lack of creativity and innovation. And we’ve found that giving people the freedom to use their judgment is the best way to succeed long term. ” – Sergio Ezama, Chief Talent Officer

Netflix, Inc.

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