Best Practice Companies: Netflix

The companies that operate in the context of technological advancement and the active inclusion of millennials into the workforce need to adjust to the new requirements within all the spheres of performance. One of the most crucial elements in the work of any company is the sphere of HR management, talent management, and corporate governance. It is important due to the growing relevance of organizational culture as a driving force of business success that directly derives from human capital.

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Therefore, innovative approaches to HR management are a vital constituent of the corporate culture of the most successful companies that occupy leading positions in various businesses. This paper aims at discussing the best practices related to human resource (HR) approaches as utilized by leading companies. Netflix is chosen as a company of interest whose innovation in the sphere of human resource management is relevant to the designated research topic. The company’s background and its particular HR innovative practices will be presented and analyzed from the perspective of their impact and their role in the company’s success.

Company Background

Netflix is one of the largest American online streaming companies, which occupies a significant share of its respective market. The CEO of the company, Reed Hastings, is well-known for his non-traditional leadership style and overall progressive method of corporate management. His approach has gained the company a reputation as one of the most competitive streaming entities in the world (Sim, 2017).

Netflix is a streaming service and a production company that provides numerous films, documentaries, TV series, shows, and other video content to millions of subscribers around the world. It launches its projects by initiating original works explicitly produced for the Netflix platform. According to Sim (2017), the company competes with such large streaming services as Hulu, Apple TV, and Amazon’s Instant Video. All in all, being one of the leading businesses in the new streaming sphere, Netflix sets new benchmarks and imposes new requirements for the niche that has drastically transformed the public attitude toward television and entertainment in general.

Such an influential performance and extensive efforts to transform the way people consume visual content are embedded in the corporate culture that allows for achieving the best results in short periods. Indeed, as Sim (2017) states, in 2014, Netflix managed to increase the number of its subscribers by four million. After the release of the 2014 report, the “shares grew by another 36 percent over the next month,” thus demonstrating the successful implementation of managerial practices within the company (Sim, 2017, p. 185). As it is evident from the transparently presented company policy, the core of the service’s success is rooted in its explicitly defined corporate culture that prioritizes innovative HR management.

Particular HR Topics

As the company that has marked a significant shift in the cultural perception of television and technology, Netflix responds to the requirements set forward by the time. Indeed, as indicated by Canedo, Graen, Grace, and Johnson (2017), today, the workforce consists of millennials whose cultural perceptions are significantly different from those of generation X and baby boomers. That is why contemporary corporations need to face the changes in the workforce and address them by developing business management policies within which both the companies and the employees will benefit on mutually favorable terms.

This new cultural attitude toward employment characteristics to millennials entails their reluctance to stay at a company that fails to respond to their basic needs (Canedo et al., 2017). The workforce today is unlikely to perform successfully under strict rules but is motivated by creativity, freedom, and impact.

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Such an attitude is utilized by the innovative HR approaches at Netlfix. The company has articulated and publically presented its corporate culture under the title ‘Freedom and Responsibility (“Netflix culture,” n. d.). Several non-traditional innovative approaches are stated in this document. They include seeking excellence, freedom of actions and independent decision-making, prioritized personal responsibility, and unlimited time off work. All these elements constitute a unique HR innovation that allows the company to achieve the best results in its history of performance and maintain its leading positions among competitors.

Seeking Excellence

Performance excellence is prioritized by most companies and is usually enforced by standards and high requirements. In the case of Netflix, it aligns its search for excellence with one of the most significant factors accelerating innovation, which is talent management (Gaines, Kanbergs, & Sowards, 2017). Therefore, Netflix HR specialists only retain the best professionals who have proven their capabilities as those applicable to the company’s priorities. Only the best representatives constitute the so-called “dream team,” where each member of the team is highly competent and is ready to contribute to the company’s success (“Netflix culture,” n. d., para. 5). Thus, performance excellence is the main standard in HR management at Netflix.

Freedom of Actions and Independent Decision-Making

The staff at Netflix is led by the company’s strategic priorities. As it is mentioned in the company’s culture statement, Netflix’s “core philosophy is people over process” (“Netflix culture,” n. d., para. 5). That is why each individual is treated with respect as a personality without imposing any rules or specific requirements. Everyone is free to decide and act as they deem necessary, as long as the benefits of the company are prioritized. All the employees throughout the company are expected to act in the company’s interests at all times (“Netflix culture,” n. d.). It allows for retrieving the best potential from the employees and maintain their commitment.

Prioritized Personal Responsibility

This particular HR approach is closely linked with the previous one and encourages employees to take responsibility for their decisions and actions. When it comes to technology and creativity, which are crucial in the sphere of video content streaming, freedom of actions in combination with personal responsibility guarantees the best results (Canedo et al., 2017). Therefore, Netflix does not apply any rules of conduct. Instead, it sets responsibility onto each individual and relies on the employees’ common sense and personal standards. This goal is achieved using such an HR approach as the employment of only the adult population whose cultural and moral attitudes align with the company’s (“Netflix culture,” n. d.). In such manner, the management is free to delegate responsibility to employees at all levels.

Unlimited time off work

Finally, the innovation that might seem irrelevant and even risky is the one concerning time off work. Unlike at most companies, at Netflix, employees are allowed to take as much paid time off as they deem necessary (“Netflix culture,” n. d.). However, this policy applies to salaried employees and must be agreed on by a manager. Also, the company guarantees up to a year of paid time off for new parents (Stone, 2017). Such an approach naturally aligns with the overall corporate culture where the whole performance of the company is reliant on the individual responsible performance of committed staff.

Personal Reflection

The review of the innovative HR approaches utilized at Netflix allows for analyzing its prospective advantages for the company in general. In my opinion, the overall cultivation of the ‘people over process’ philosophy is an effective way of creating a well-organized committed team of professionals who are driven by the goals of the company. When utilizing the HR methods discussed in the previous section, Netflix transfers the corporate success of the business onto each individual engaged in the process. Thus, the personal responsibility that follows the independent decision-making and the freedom of actions always align with the core interests of the company.

The modern opportunities for online employment and international recruiting allow for attracting the best professionals. Therefore, Netflix prioritizes talent and excellence without any fear of losing capable candidates who made mistakes. Instead, the company’s HR managers boldly refuse to cooperate with individuals whose level of expertise or moral considerations are different from those prioritized by the corporation. Thus, the innovative methods of HR management allow Netflix to set high goals and achieve them, thus becoming the best entity in its sector.

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In summation, the contemporary business world is marked by high competition, technological advancement, and significant shifts in the workforce. Such circumstances impose new standards for HR management, requiring more innovative approaches. Netflix, as one of the world’s most successful streaming companies, has introduced its innovative approach to talent management. Its new ideas concerning excellence, freedom of actions and independent decision-making, prioritized personal responsibility, and unlimited time off work constitute the company’s corporate culture and align with its philosophy. Thus, such HR management methods allow for achieving the best results and competing with strong rivals in the business.


Canedo, J. C., Graen, G., Grace, M., & Johnson, R. D. (2017). Navigating the new workplace: Technology, millennials, and accelerating HR innovation. Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction, 9(3), 243-260.

Gaines, J., Kanbergs, M., & Sowards, N. (2017). HR: Innovation’s accelerator. CAHRS White Papers, 1-12. Web.

Netflix culture. (n. d.). Web.

Sim, G. (2016). Individual disruptors and economic game-changers: Netflix, new media, and neoliberalism. In K. McDonald & D. Smith-Rowsey (Eds.), The Netflix effect: Technology and entertainment in the 21st century (pp. 185-201). New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

Stone, K. (2017). Best practices in human resources: An in-depth analysis of innovative HR policy used by top companies. Web.

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