Friday, November 18, 2022

Netflix's decentralized organizational form

https://jobs.netflix.com/culture
  1. encourage independent decision-making by employees
  2. share information openly, broadly, and deliberately
  3. are extraordinarily candid with each other
  4. keep only our highly effective people
  5. avoid rules
We can put this "culture" into the taxonomy of our textbook (decision rights, performance metrics, reward schemes):
  1. Decision rights are decentralized (employees have tremendous freedom)
    • There are virtually no spending controls or contract signing controls. Each employee is expected to seek advice and perspective as appropriate. “Use good judgment” is our core precept.
    • Our policy for travel, entertainment, gifts, and other expenses is 5 words long: “act in Netflix’s best interest.” We also avoid the compliance departments that most companies have to enforce their policies.
    • Our vacation policy is “take vacation.” We don’t have any rules or forms around how many weeks per year. Frankly, we intermix work and personal time quite a bit, doing email at odd hours, taking off weekday afternoons for kids’ games, etc. Our leaders make sure they set good examples by taking vacations, often coming back with fresh ideas, and encourage the rest of the team to do the same.
    • Our parental leave policy is: “take care of your baby and yourself.” New parents generally take 4-8 months.
    • Each employee chooses each year how much of their compensation they want in salary versus stock options. You can choose all cash, all options, or whatever combination suits you. You choose how much risk and upside you want. These 10-year stock options are fully-vested and you keep them even if you leave Netflix.

  2. Subjective performance metrics designed to identify the highest performer
    • We focus on managers’ judgment through the “keeper test” for each of their people: if one of the members of the team was thinking of leaving for another firm, would the manager try hard to keep them from leaving? Those who do not pass the keeper test (i.e. their manager would not fight to keep them) are promptly and respectfully given a generous severance package so we can find someone for that position that makes us an even better dream team.

  3. Rewards are set at the highest level (including a "risk premium" to compensate employees for the risk of getting fired)
    • To help us attract and retain stunning colleagues, we pay employees at the top of their personal market. We make a good-faith estimate of the highest compensation each employee could make at peer firms, and pay them that maximum. Typically, we calibrate to market once a year. We do not think of these as “raises” and there is no raise pool to divide up. The market for talent is what it is. We avoid the model of “2% raise for adequate, 4% raise for great”. Some employees’ market value will rapidly rise (due both to their performance and to a shortage of talent in their areas) while other employees may be flat year-to-year, despite doing great work. At all times, we aim to pay all of our people at the top of their personal market.

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