First "Review of the Month" winner

First “Review of the Month” winner

2008-06-17 14:55:17

Last week, shortly after we launched, I had the pleasure of notifying one of our new members that his review had been selected as our first “Review of the Month” – an honor that also came with $500.  You may have seen a note about this award while posting your review, but I think it’s worth mentioning again – both the review and the award.   Every month we are selecting one review for overall quality and thoughtfulness, and for being everything we want Glassdoor to be.  That review wins a place in our history as “Review of the Month” and the user wins $500 to go celebrate.

Our first winning review comes from an employee at Netflix.  What got me about this reviewer was that he had taken the time to offer other users insight that you could only get from being on the inside.  He had distilled his experiences, both positive and negative, into a few paragraphs that really gave an amazing peek inside of Netflix.   Where was this information before?

I personally learned two things from this review – first, that Netflix is a hard-driving, type-A environment.  The reviewer sums it up:

There is an understanding: “good average work and productivity does not get a modest raise, but a generous severence.”

I actually prefer a workplace like that, this would have attracted me to Netflix when I was jobseeking.  Second, I learned that Netflix has a totally cool no-PTO policy.  You work when you work, you take vacation when you take vacation, no questions asked.  Brilliant!  I love it.  I want to steal it and implement it at Glassdoor.  For your reading pleasure, I’ve pasted the rest of this amazing review below, it’s worth a read.

There were many more amazing reviews that didn’t receive the award this time around, but we want you to know that we appreciate all of the thoughtful and detailed reviews we’ve seen in the last week.  Keep ‘em coming.  Everyone who has taken the time to fill out a review since we launched June 11 has the opportunity to provide similar insights to others and who knows…maybe you’ll be selected as June’s review of the month and receive $500.

Full text of the winning review:

“Netflix - High performance culture; freedom and responsibility within”

Anonymous in Los Gatos, CA  — Current Employee

Pros:
“Freedom and responsibility. You’re treated like an adult. You’re part of a pro team that is highly functioning. The company is well respected and has a super positive brand awareness — i’m never able to go anywhere without getting peppered with raves and happy customer comments, and i love wearing company logo gear when i’m out for this reason.

You matter at Netflix. There is no dead wood, everyone is doing something very important to the company or they wouldn’t be there. What you are doing matters and makes a difference, and that feels good. You can really make a difference no matter what your role.

The company often repeats that as an employee, you’re not on an olympic team — meaning, you don’t do this 24/7 with no life, with all focus on the gold. WE’re more of a varsity team, playing to win, very good, but still have to balance with classes and learning. We need to have a good work/life balance and its very important to the company that we do.

I think the best thing – and its subtle – is this no vacation/no holiday stuff. you work when you work. they seem to realize that everyone is working hard and all the time. nights. weekends often. a ton of hard work. so if you want to take time off for a vacation, a long holiday, a day off, whatever- it happens at your own discretion. you don’t ask, you don’t get permission. you just do what you have to do. no one is keeping track. i’ve never heard of this kind of policy and you cannot imagine what it doest for your morale, for feeling like you’re being treated like a grown up. For that rule alone I think it stands beyond any other org.”

Cons:
“Netflix is not for everyone. You don’t get “direction” so much as everyone shares a common understanding of company strategy and goals. You are free to work, and some will find this harder than just being told what to do. Netflix doesn’t have “average” workers – everyone is high functioning, highly motivated and independent, and expectations are enormous. There is nothing like a career position here. There is high turn over, and its unnerving to many. There is an understanding: “good average work and productivity does not get a modest raise, but a generous severence.”

It’s a pro team, and the team fit is also as important as the individual performance. You could be excellent, but if you’re not HIGHLY communicative, cooperative, egoless, you can get cut just in the team balancing of moving quickly and effectively.

you must be able and willing to share early and often about everything. projects that are new and forming get debated and you have to defend your position and hear critique well. recognizing that criticism is of the work and not you is essential — a thin skin won’t work well. quiet hard work doesn’t work well (for some engineers perhaps); you don’t ask permission, but you must be able to clearly articulate why you do what you are doing, and support this position. you must realize that ideas are not fragile, and only through debate with smart people who share your understanding of company goals and strategy will ideas be improved.

This is serious work. It’s really fun, but make no mistake, it’s hard and not for everyone.”

Advice to Senior Management:
“I have none. Senior management is fantastic. smart. focused. they lead by example and guide through real socratic debate with everyone. no one is unapproachable. everyone is candid. i couldn’t ask for a better team of officers, and VPs, within the company.”

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