Netflix Reviews in Los Gatos, CA | Glassdoor

Netflix Los Gatos Reviews

Updated May 17, 2017
221 reviews

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Los Gatos, CA

3.8
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Netflix Founder, Chairman and CEO Reed Hastings
Reed Hastings
184 Ratings

221 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • you will see people you like let go because they weren't the right fit for their role (in 48 reviews)

  • Finance lives in a culture of fear (in 21 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (28)

    "Like a good drama: A flashy young company in a nice setting, but with lots of tension under the surface"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Los Gatos, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Los Gatos, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Netflix has nice, fancy offices in Los Gatos. They have good snacks. They pay a pretty high cash salary. You get to claim that you're in the movie business.

    Cons

    Netflix makes a big deal about their hiring policies. They claim that they regularly evaluate employee performance, and let the lowest performers go. To me, this sounded great! In contrast to many other companies where lazy and incompetent people hang around for years, Netflix tried to retain only the best and brightest people.

    Unfortunately, that's not what it was like in reality. A week after I started at Netflix, the recruiter who hired me was unceremoniously dismissed. Then the tech support guy in our office was released. Then an engineer on my team. In each of these cases, it wasn't clear what these folks had done wrong. They had all been technically competent, friendly and hard working. This promoted a culture of fear where no one felt that their job was secure.

    It turns out that there were several things going on. Managers were given incentives to regularly purge employees. So, managers developed antagonistic relationships with employees. In most normal companies, a key responsibility of a manager is to defend their team in front of senior management. At Netflix, this just doesn't happen.

    Additionally, Netflix doesn't have adequate mechanisms for providing feedback and review to employees. (In the year I spent at Netflix, I didn't receive a single review, positive or negative.) Without a formal system for employee evaluation, managers resort to picking favorites: they hire in their friends, and fire people who they aren't friends with. I saw this happen to many different people while I was at Netflix. It's allowable by law (everyone is an "at will" employee), but it does not lead Netflix to hire and retain the best people.

    Netflix has had the good fortune to be in an easy business. They moved early into online DVD rentals, and have large cost advantages over potential rivals. Their competitors (Blockbuster, Walmart, etc) took major missteps, and were not really able to compete. Netflix doesn't have to be the best at anything they do: operations, marketing, movie recommendations, etc. They just have to be OK at these things to run a profitable business, and they are only OK at them.

    Advice to Management

    The key problem with Netflix is in their HR policies. Netflix needs to establish formal job responsibilities for all employees, establish goals for individuals, and measure employee performance against those goals.


  2. Helpful (9)

    "Wrong perception about what they are and what they can do"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Los Gatos, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Los Gatos, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    around 10% better salaries than average, flexibility as long as you employed, very good leadership, very good HR team, no vacation policy

    Cons

    fear based environment, management self-image is completely hosed. They claim they are professional sports team because they pay 10% more than market. Mid management is completely incompetent as they don't have to be

    Advice to Management

    Managing people is not just managing numbers. What happens is that if you tell employees during orientation only that you are disloyal to them, they stop caring about you in their sub-conscious.


  3. Helpful (7)

    "Disorganized chaos, insanely high turnover."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Gatos, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Gatos, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Industry Leader
    Knowledge of company initiatives and goals are well spread knowledge amongst everyone there.
    Excellent Salary

    Cons

    Work-life balance poor
    Turnover of employees extremely high, most stay for fewer than 6 months.
    Management unable to work together to form any cohesive goals.

    Advice to Management

    Management needs to grow up from it's casual start up type environment, and realize at the size and rate of growth it is at, it needs to begin implementing a more traditional working environment.


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  5. Helpful (9)

    "Middle management is arrogant and incompetent"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Los Gatos, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Los Gatos, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Good location, free lunch, ability to choose laptop, corporate culture looks good on paper

    Cons

    Middle management is unable to effectively plan; they do not understand the strengths and weaknesses of their teams and seem to be mostly interested in protecting their bloated salaries. 20% of work force should be terminated. The other 80% is so segmented that they are unable to accomplish anything of any real value. Netflix was probably a great company to work for a few years ago, but is dangerously mismanaged now.

    Advice to Management

    Start over. The company has great core beliefs but fails to efficiently execute.


  6. Helpful (18)

    "Pay was great, leadership was horrendous.."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Gatos, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Gatos, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great Pay
    Decent health plan
    Great amenities
    Building was well maintained/clean
    Decent Swag
    Plenty of parking
    That's about all for the "pros' and that was a stretch.

    Cons

    Netflix is an HR driven company. As far as I am concerned they are the "bullies" of Netflix. Nothing is confidential. Be prepared, whatever you discuss with an HR employee will be leaked out to nearly everyone at Netflix. They will take confidential information and turn it into the joke of the day. Senior/Executive HR staff is crass and they seem to think cursing in front of others and telling lewd jokes is appropriate workplace etiquette.

    No-vacation policy (As far as I am concerned, it is a scam). They work you so hard you feel guilty about taking time off. Between the blackberry they "give" you as soon as you walk through the door, and the laptop you will receive, you are never off the clock.

    The revolving door in this place will literally make you dizzy. During my time at Netflix I can't even begin to count how many employees were terminated or resigned on a daily basis. Senior management even seemed to be desensitized to the large number of terminations.

    No job security. You can be doing a fantastic job one day and the next day you are "re-structured"

    Reed - Do yourself a favor.. Hire senior staff who truly understands the values that you believe in and who want their employees to embrace them. Currently the values are about as clear as mud. If one truly tries to abide by every aspect of what it reads, they will be fired. Wake up buddy, you are smarter that? Aren’t you?

    Advice to Management

    Stop having meetings about having more meetings. A lot of managers at Netflix seem to be good at doing that. What amazed me is that even though all they do is seem to be locked in conference rooms all day, nothing good ever comes out of them. Perhaps they are plotting who to fire next??


  7. Helpful (15)

    "Worst place to work."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Gatos, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Gatos, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    High Salary and Good Office location

    Cons

    Average benefits.
    Management by fear.
    No human values.
    Can get fired after high performance.
    Severance package is not good.

    Advice to Management

    I never thought human values and business values have to be diametrically opposite in order for a company to succeed. Netflix is a great manifestation of that. Management by fear is what they practice and they are able to achieve great business results using that. So far it seems to work. Ethics and human values are good topics for theoretical discussion but I think those are obvious hindrances to the way modern day businesses need to run.


  8. Helpful (46)

    "Netflix: Culture of Fear"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager in Los Gatos, CA
    Former Employee - Manager in Los Gatos, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The 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.

    Cons

    A 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 Management

    So 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.


  9. Helpful (23)

    "Fear-based culture"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Los Gatos, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Los Gatos, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Higher than market salary
    Free lunches
    Unlimited PTO

    Cons

    Fear-based, highly competitive culture driven by upper management. Mid-management is forced to follow the suit otherwise it will be their job on the line. Everyone is under pressure to deliver but nobody provides guidance as to what is expected. If you're a super-star you're supposed to figure it out on your own.
    Zero tolerance to even small mistakes - you're expected to work as a perfect robot. If you made a mistake you're out immediately, no chance for correction.
    Zero communications about your performance - it is all up to management to decide how you're doing. So you don't know whether you made or making mistakes.
    Project management does not exist, hence no planning is happening, just loose email exchanges.
    You don't feel as part of the team, there are virtually no teams, just people trying to prove something and keep their jobs. As a result many decisions are short-sited since they provide immediate credit, long-term decisions are usually on back-burner until all of a sudden they become critical and then it is all hands on deck.
    You're expected to work long hours and weekends on regular basis.
    Basically if you accepted an offer you're owned by Netflix.
    Documentation is non-existent, people are secretive about knowledge transfer.
    All in all Netflix's motto Freedom comes with Responsibility turns into the situation when company has freedom to do whatever it wants and employees have all responsibilities.

    Advice to Management

    Trust and respect people. The fact that you pay high salaries and provide unlimited PTO does not mean that you own people's lives. Give people freedom for mistake, at least one. One mistake means nothing especially in first year of employment. Encourage planning.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Management is asleep at the wheel"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Los Gatos, CA
    Current Employee - Manager in Los Gatos, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Free lunch, good salary, nice commute

    Cons

    Poor performance of colleagues, very poor management, very poor planning

    Advice to Management

    80% of your employees hurt you, the other 20% are mistreated. Fix this.


  11. Helpful (44)

    "Don't make the mistake of working here"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager in Los Gatos, CA
    Former Employee - Manager in Los Gatos, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    1. Pay is good, and for some tough to fill roles, pay is very good.
    2. The stock option plan is a good deal.
    3. A number of policies treat people like adults (dress code, attendance, and vacation/holidays). You can take as much time off as you want, as long as you get your job done.
    4. A number of smart people get hired.
    5. The industry is growing very fast.
    6. Well known brand with instant street recognition.
    7. Facilities are pretty good.

    Cons

    1. Look at the comments on this site around turnover, treating people poorly, sick culture, and weak senior leadership. These are all very accurate.
    2. No training, management training, or development. The philosophy is if you don’t have what we need, we will replace you (i.e., fire you for not being a “good fit”) with someone from the outside who has that.
    3. Hourly jobs in particular have stagnant pay.
    4. There are no bonuses or incentives.
    5. The culture has serious problems.
      a. You will see countless references on this site to a “culture of fear”. This is widespread in every department and division. Even executives laugh that their time is numbered. A company that functions on fear is not a place for the long term. When everyone in a room is asked do they fear being fired and everyone says yes, that is a big problem.
      b. A culture of watching your back and stabbing others in the back. Many employees, including C level people, participate and have learned that tossing others under the bus, keeps them safe. They see this as a way to protect themselves from scrutiny from above. Employees and managers are all too comfortable talking about what is not working with a person. The 360 review process reinforces this. Those who have been there the longest are almost soulless with regard to firings. They have fired or seen so many people let go that they don’t really care anymore.
    6. You can be fired without warning, feedback, or any coaching. Most employees don’t bring any personal belongings to work as they could be let go at any moment. It is often a surprise.
    7. Do not move for a job with Netflix. If your partner or spouse doesn’t work, you could be risking your families financial health. There is no job security regardless of how good you are. Performance does not equal security at Netflix.
    8. Managers have a 1 year shelf life before they get shown the door. Directors and VPs are constantly evaluating managers, so anytime you make a mistake, are perceived not to be cutting edge, it could be your turn.
    9. HR’s job is to hire and show people the door. HR brags about how good they are at firing people. They don’t help employees, nor are they there to help employees become better. Their role is simply to ensure the company doesn’t get sued and headhunt for all the people that are turning over.
    10. Managers main role is making their team better through constrantly looking for their weaker employees. Leaders are asked could they hire someone better. Of course the answer will always be yes.
    11. No severance package is enough to compensate you for disruption in your career, moving, or the stress that comes without having a job.
    12. The recruiting function will hire you fast. The idea is to keep you excited, but if you are reading this don’t get caught up in the Netflix product of movies—look at whether this is actually a place you want to work.
    13. It’s incredibly stressful and life-shortening for you and your loved ones. Why work at a place where people, including your hiring managers, treat you as completely disposable?

    Advice to Management

    1. Change out your HR leadership. They are in love with the culture, but they are creating an unhealthy long term environment. Once the economy picks up you will not be able to treat people as poorly as you do.
    2. Change the culture of fear. Install real coaching, feedback, and performance reviews so employees can feel comfortable doing their jobs.
    3. Do some employee surveys to learn the real thoughts of your front line team.
    4. Stop the turnover that is higher than comparable companies.
    5. Reed, if you are not a people person, hire some people who are. You will get better performance from people who are not in constant fear of being fired. You can still remove weak performers, but don’t make even your best employees fear for their jobs.


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