Organizational culture and talent: Netflix’s keys to success

Some companies are dealing with the increasingly evident shortage of managerial talent and the rapid changes in employment patterns. Others, instead of struggling, are adapting and adopting new paradigms. One such company is Netflix, today’s entertainment and streaming giant.

Although the rise of its international visibility is relatively recent, Netflix has been operating since 1997. And today it is one of the world’s most successful companies with nearly one hundred million subscribers across nearly two hundred countries. 

In 2013, its shares tripled in value and the company won three Emmy awards. Last year they got 20.

How do they do that? 

In addition to a very clear value proposition, Netflix has opted for a unique organizational culture and talent approach.  


6 Netflix lessons to define a CULTURE OF SUCCESS

The Netflix Dream Team

Like most companies, Netflix wants to hire the best. But unlike many, they are also committed to keeping only the best talent, so if an employee’s skills or talents are no longer growing the company, the company lets them go.

Using a general criterion called “Keeper test”, managers are encouraged not to keep items on their team that they are not entirely satisfied with.

The rule is very simple… “would you be willing to fight for this employee if he or she decided to leave the company?“. And if the answer is “no”, they think why don’t you let it go and make room for someone you would fight for?

“The best thing you can do for your team, maybe more than just let them play football or put in a free sushi bar, is to hire only committed employees. Excellent employees make everything else go smoothly” − Paty McCord, Manager of Talent Education at Netflix.

A work team, not a family

In companies like Google, which take pride in being a “big family”, we see how the lack of concise criteria and the subjectivity of hierarchical relationships cause unusual delays in projects that should be simple.

Netflix has put all that aside. Its employees must become familiar with an organizational culture in which they clearly postulate that they are a team, not a family or a “recreational kindergarten”.

Every employee who comes to Netflix must read a document that contains his or her positions regarding the work culture, which includes in a perfectly clear way the ten criteria that make an employee stay in the company or not, since these are the true values of an organization:

  • Good judgment
  • Communication
  • Curiosity
  • Courage
  • Passion
  • Loyalty
  • Innovation
  • Inclusion
  • Integrity
  • Efficiency

This documentwith its policy of responsibility and freedom has caused a stir among Silicon Valley companies. And such important figures as Sheryl Sanberg, COO of Facebook, have confirmed that it is probably one of the most important postulates that will define the course of human resources in companies of this type.

Target-oriented work teams

Most companies seek to consolidate a stable work team. At Netflix, on the other hand, the dynamics has more to do with forming highly efficient workgroups that once they meet their objective they dissolve, join into new groups and dissolve again.

Although it is not the typical work scheme of companies, it is what defines film crews in Hollywood films and consultancies, for example.

Being fired from this company doesn’t mean that an employee is bad, it just means that he or she isn’t a spectacular employee. In addition, Netflix’s work policies are specifically oriented to avoid the most common vices that reduce the productivity of work teams.

The emphasis is on results and people, not processes. If someone gets amazing results with little effort, they will be rewarded above anyone else who gets good results with hard work.  

“Compared to what we want to achieve, we suck”.


One of the qualities that distinguishes Netflix’s labor policy document from others is that it uses a completely open, frank, clear language and avoids any kind of politically correct euphemism. In this way, they naturally establish how they interpret the company’s present and what future they aspire to.

Company leaders must be able to make decisions that anticipate at least six months into the future and push the limits of their productivity. They also must try new things and find strategies that bring the team closer to achieving its goals more quickly.

At Workana, as at Netflix, we are convinced that the foundation of a great company is its culture. Click here to read what Guillermo Bracciaforte, one of our founders, thinks about it.

We also believe that a strong and consistent organizational culture can be formed with remote teams and freelancers. In fact, more than half of our employees work under this modality and this has innumerable benefits.

And, above all, we are 100% aware that the best talent and the professionals most committed to your project can be freelancers.

If you have never tried it, or if you think it is time to enlarge your structure without adding fixed costs, we invite you to click here and learn more about Workana.

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