Netflix Culture Note Update: New Sections to Fight Censorship and Spending

Netflix She likes to promote her culture of avoiding rules and minimizing institutional red tape. But of course, the company has operating instructions, which are detailed in the Netflix Culture document posted on its website. founding partner Reed Hastings even wrote a book for 2020 expands in principlestitled “There are no rules: Netflix and the culture of reinvention.”

Netflix is ​​now publishing an update to its company culture note for the first time in nearly five years, a copy of it diverse It was obtained exclusively prior to its release on Thursday. latest specialty The update was in 2017.when I dropped the origin of Hastings 125 slides from 2009 (Watched over 21 million times).

The core principles of the Netflix Culture Note, including empowering employee decision-making, requiring candid feedback and terminating employees who do not live up to the “dream team” level, remain the same. But there are some major changes. For starters, the document bears a new title: “Netflix Culture – The Quest for Excellence” (previously called “Netflix Culture”).

Most importantly, the document adds new guidance for employees to act financially responsibly – a change that comes Netflix in the first quarter saw its first drop in subscribers in over a decade. The updated Netflix culture memo also includes a new section called “Artistic Expression,” making it clear that the player will not “censor selected artists or voices” even if employees consider the content “harmful,” and say frankly, “If you find it difficult to support the breadth of private content With us, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”

The artistic expression portion of the Netflix Culture document appears in large part in response to Controversy over Dave Chappelle “the closest” That rattled Netflix last fall over what critics said were his transphobic and homophobic comments on the stand-up special. Co-CEO Ted Sarandos has defended the company’s decision to keep Chappelle Premium in service, which led to the launch of A senior employee walked out in protest.

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“Entertaining the world is a great opportunity and also a challenge because viewers have very different tastes and perspectives. So we offer a variety of TV shows and movies, some of which can be provocative,” states the new section. To help members make informed decisions about what to watch, we provide ratings, content warnings, and easy-to-use parental controls.

The Artistic Expression department continues: “Not everyone will like—or agree with—everything about our service.” While every title is different, we approach it based on the same set of principles: We support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with; we program for a variety of audiences and tastes; and we let viewers decide what works for them, versus Netflix censoring specific artists or voices. “.

The department concludes, “As employees, we support the principle that Netflix offers a variety of stories, even if we find some titles conflict with our personal values. Depending on your role, you may need to work on titles that you think are harmful. If you find it difficult to support the breadth of our range of content, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”

On the belt-tightening front, in the ‘Valuable Behaviors’ (formerly Real Values) section, there’s a new entry titled Judgment: You Spend Our Members’ Money Wisely.

Although this is new in the Netflix Culture note, company executives have used similar phrases in the past — including in its April 2018 quarterly letter to shareholders, which said of its revenue gains, “Our job is to spend this money wisely to grow our members.” “Delight.”

However, other changes in the cultural document indicate Netflix’s desire to make it clear that employees do not have an absolute mandate in terms of spending company money. For example, this passage has been omitted from the document: “There are virtually no spending controls and few contract signing controls. Each employee is expected to seek advice and perspective as appropriate. The principle of ‘use of good judgment’ is our basic principle.”

The update also cuts out the following section: “Note that if our company is in financial difficulty, we will not ask our employees to accept lower salaries. A sports team with a losing track record can still pay personal best rates to players they hope to return to the winning position. On the other hand, if The company is doing well, the widely distributed stock options become very valuable.”

In addition to elaborating technical expression, the memo adds three other new sections: “Ethical expectations” (which says in part, “We act with honor, even when no one is looking” and “We expect all employees to protect confidential company information, whether it is marked confidential” on them or not); “Representation Matters” (“Our members want to see a variety of stories and people on screen – and our company and leadership must reflect that diversity”); and “Employees direct our philanthropy” (to document when an employee makes a donation to a charity, Netflix donates twice that amount to the same group).

Addition of the Moral Expectations section comes after Netflix in October She said she fired an employee who admitted he downloaded internal data and share it outside the company. The information leaked to Bloomberg included Netflix Financial data for “Squid Game” and “The Closer” by Chappelle Apparently an attempt by an angry employee to highlight that the operator paid more for Chappelle’s controversial content than the best-performing South Korean thriller.

Even with the addition of the four new sections, the updated Netflix Culture note is shorter than the previous version: it now has around 4,070 words, down 6% from 4,340 previously.

According to Netflix, everyone in the company was able to view and comment on suggested updates to the cultural note in a shared document. Thousands of employees participated in the six-month process.

The infamous Netflix “guard test” wording is often the same: “To strengthen our dream team, our managers use a “guard test” for each of their members: If a team member leaves for a similar job at another company, the manager tries to keep it? The document still notes that employees who fail the guard test “receive a generous severance package so that we can find a better person for the position”; However, the updated version dropped this footnote: “We generally offer at least four months of full pay as a severance package, giving our former colleagues time to find a new company.”

Some of the edited material from the Netflix culture note is embarrassingly phrased stuff. For example, these two sentences were truncated from the guard test discussion: “To be away from our team is very disappointing, but there is no shame” and “We are disgusted compared to how great we want to become.”

Also omitted was this embarrassing remark, which was supposed to emphasize that the company doesn’t need rules that cover everything: “[W]We also don’t have a clothing policy, yet no one came to work naked…Most people understand the benefits of dressing at work.”

Additionally, Netflix has revised a portion of its Freedom and Responsibility section that previously said, “On rare occasions, freedom is abused. For example, we had a senior employee who organized kickbacks on IT contracts.” In the new edition, this now reads, “Over the years, some employees have taken advantage of this freedom in various unfortunate ways.”

And this paragraph, from which the name of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has been omitted:

We do not endorse the tradition of great leaders, who are so involved in the details that their product or service becomes amazing. The legend of Steve Jobs was that his meticulous management made the iPhone a great product. Others are taking it to new frontiers, proudly calling themselves nano-managers. The heads of major networks and studios sometimes make many decisions in the creative process of their content. We don’t emulate these top-down models because we believe we are most effective and innovative when employees across the company make their own decisions.

Meanwhile, the Netflix Values ​​section has removed the “Impact” heading. Netflix said it was removed because it is not technical behaviour. The section contained these points:

  • You do amazing amounts of important work
  • You consistently demonstrate strong performance so that colleagues can count on you
  • You make your colleagues better
  • You focus on results more than process

Two of these principles echo elsewhere in the document, where it says, “You make time to help colleagues through Netflix succeed” and “Our core philosophy is people above process.”

Finally, here are some other tweaks worth noting in the Valuable Behaviors section:

  • New entry under Integrity: “You act in good faith and trust your colleagues to do the same”
  • New entry under the heading “Altruism”: “You openly discuss ideas and help carry out any decision made even when you do not agree.”
  • New entry under ‘Passion’: ‘You’re Proud to Entertain the World’
  • Edited to “Innovate”: “You thrive on change” is now “You thrive on resilience and thrive in an ever-evolving organization”
  • Pieces of ‘curiosity’: ‘You contribute effectively outside of your discipline’

You can read the full note at