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40 people found this helpful  

Netflix: Culture of Fear

Manager (Former Employee) Los Gatos, CA

ProsThe pay is above market. Not a lot above market, but a bit above market. The drawback is there are absolutely no benefits to speak of (no health benefits, no training, no daycare) so that above market pay gets eaten up pretty fast by real world needs.

ConsA total fear of failure permeates the ranks. Netflix basically gives you a warning on your first mistake, and then fires you after your second mistake. This is why the annual turnover rate is well over 20%. Since there is an entirely new set of employees every few years, nobody knows what process to follow, and everything is chaotic. HR solves this by saying "there is no process for anything! Make it up as you go along!" Sure, if I fired all the employees every few years I'd stay away from process too.

The key problem is that with all the firings most employees spend the day simply trying to find cover. The ass covering at Netflix is legendary. Nobody wants to innovate. Nobody wants to reach outside their comfort zone. Netflix has created a culture of fear, and the way in which they manage terminations reinforces the culture of fear (they immediately demonize the terminated employee, and try to make the termination serve as a lesson to others).

The culture of fear is so ingrained in Netflix that many managers only have one tool for managing their directs, and that is to threaten to fire them. There simply is no other process for managing poor performance (remember, there is no process - they will admit this to you if you ask).

And finally, the last thing you should be warned about is their "high performance" culture. Their justification for all the firings is that the fired employees weren't high performers. But since there is no process, no record-keeping, there is no objective measurement of performance. So "high performers" end up being the employees that get along with the boss and keep a low profile. "High performers" at Netflix are not employees that take risks, interact with outside groups, or produce a high volume of work.

Netflix loves to talk about high performance but they have the lowest standard for high performance that I've ever seen. They are completely happy to manage with fear, however. If you put those two insane concepts together you end up with a rather hysterical environment.

Advice to Senior ManagementSo you guys did one thing well, a long time ago, and you've been marginally improving that business (DVD rental) ever since. Your astoundingly high turnover rate worked in that world, because all the processes were in place. But now you are trying to get into the streaming business, and that business only runs with knowledge workers at the helm. And guess what? Knowledge workers are pretty well-connected. The word is out that Netflix does not value its employees and as a result it's going to be harder and harder to staff your new ventures. You really need to find the groups at Netflix with the highest turnover and keep those managers away from the streaming business. You have some managers that simply do not know how to manage, they only know how to fire and hire. As much as you love to say that firing and hiring is what management is all about, you could not be more wrong. Find the teams with low turnover, they are the teams that work in spite of your chaotic work environment.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    hit or miss

    Customer Service Representative (Current Employee) Hillsboro, OR

    I have been working at Netflix

    Pros: it will be hit or miss if you make it, some… Cons: a lot of turn over, you get hired with out knowing that… Advice to Senior Management: be straight with ppl just cuz u get hired doesnt… More

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    15 people found this helpful  

    Worst treatment of humans I have ever seen.

    Operations Supervisor (Current Employee) Salt Lake City, UT

    I have been working at Netflix

    Pros: The insurance is good and you get it quickly after starting. There are some good people that you meet… Cons: The hours are very poor. There is no chance for promotion unless you are part of the current in crowd. The culture that is created… Advice to Senior Management: Management should consider the fact that by promoting and encouraging anti-social behavior the company is setting itself up for disaster. While people should be self-motivated… No, I would not recommend this company to a friend More

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