Netflix may be the world’s largest streaming service but it is helmed by a boss who peers have described as ‘blunt’ and ‘not naturally empathetic’.  

Reed Hastings laid down the mantra in the company’s culture deck in 2009 that his workforce was like a ‘pro-team’ rather than a ‘family’.

Workers can be cut from the group and replaced by a more qualified and suitable player if they don’t pull their weight.

But just as the game is competitive, so is it rewarding.

Workers can enjoy a considerate holiday policy where they are able to take as many days off work as they choose.

They are even encouraged to air their concerns and criticisms about projects to their managers.

Reed Hastings (pictured) laid down the mantra in the company's culture deck in 2009 that his workforce was like a 'pro-team' rather than a 'family'

Reed Hastings (pictured) laid down the mantra in the company’s culture deck in 2009 that his workforce was like a ‘pro-team’ rather than a ‘family’

Netflix may be the world's largest streaming service but it is helmed by a boss who peers have described as 'blunt' and 'not naturally empathetic'

Netflix may be the world’s largest streaming service but it is helmed by a boss who peers have described as ‘blunt’ and ‘not naturally empathetic’

Hastings and co-creator Mark Randolph launched the streaming service in 1997.

Fast forward almost 25 years and the once modest movie rental company has ballooned into an entertainment powerhouse and moviemaker giant.

The company poured $23 billion into new TV shows and movies in 2020 alone. 

The streaming service is beamed onto computers and television sets in 190 countries and is watched by 193 million subscribers.

More than 13 million Australians are believed to watch the streaming service.

The astronomical growth of Netflix has not just been credited to the thinking-outside-of-the-box approach.

The company is renowned for its holiday scheme that allows its workers to take as much time off as they need.

Netflix does not keep tabs on the number of days taken and the policy has worked well since it was introduced in 2005. 

Hastings explains the policy is about fostering creativity and growth.

‘For me it’s about integrating life and work, where I can take off a day in the middle of the week to attend to some personal stuff, and while on vacation I’ll be thinking about some new title or some new marketing campaign,’ Hastings told Sydney Morning Herald.

Although the sentiment may appear considerate, Hastings response to certain events has led his peers to claim he is ‘not a naturally empathetic guy’.   

Rising expansion costs haemorrhaged the company millions of dollars and Netflix dropped a third of its staff in 2001.

Randolph said Hasting was less fazed about the massive layoff than his co-creator at the time. 

‘He’s not a bad person – he just doesn’t feel what others feel,’ Randolph said.

‘The dominant mode for him is, ‘It would be irrational for us to keep someone on, just to keep us from hurting them.’ 

Hastings’ work philosophy is better summarised in a set of slides he co-wrote with former Netflix chief talent officer Patty McCord.

Hastings and co-creator Mark Randolph launched the streaming service in 1997 (pictured, Hastings at a distribution centre in 2005)

Hastings and co-creator Mark Randolph launched the streaming service in 1997 (pictured, Hastings at a distribution centre in 2005)

Fast forward almost 25 years and the once modest movie rental company has ballooned into an entertainment powerhouse and moviemaker giant

Fast forward almost 25 years and the once modest movie rental company has ballooned into an entertainment powerhouse and moviemaker giant

‘Freedom and Responsibility’ was published online in 2009 and describes the workplace as a ‘team’ rather than a ‘family’.

‘We’re like a pro sports team, not a kid’s recreational team,’ it reads.

‘Netflix leaders hire, develop and cut smartly, so we have stars in every position.’ 

Workers receive constructive criticism in live group sessions with even the bosses given a dressing down.

Hastings came to appreciate the value of openness following an executive decision that could have ruined the company in 2011.

He decided to split Netflix down the middle so the company would only manage streaming while its sibling service Qwikster would handle DVD rentals.  

Though Qwikster came with the added $8 subscription fee and almost a million subscribers left.

Workers quit the streaming service and its stock plummeted by 75 per cent.

Managers later told Hastings they did not believe Qwikster would work, but decided to keep their opinions to themselves.

Hastings has since encouraged workers to actively voice their opinions.

Projects that failed are picked apart to understand why they failed – a process called ‘sunshining’.  

Netflix does not keep tabs on the number of days taken and the policy has worked well since it was introduced in 2005 (pictured, Netflix headquarters at Los Gatos in California)

Netflix does not keep tabs on the number of days taken and the policy has worked well since it was introduced in 2005 (pictured, Netflix headquarters at Los Gatos in California)

The streaming service is beamed onto computers and television sets in 190 countries and is watched by 193 million subscribers

The streaming service is beamed onto computers and television sets in 190 countries and is watched by 193 million subscribers



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