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The Netflix Culture: What’s the Big Fuss About?


Several articles, pretty long ones too, have been written about how Netflix has a great work culture, and how it reinvented HR years ago.

In 2018, Netflix announced a record-breaking $11 billion in revenue and in 2020, it has 158.3 million worldwide subscribers. They’re clearly doing many things right, and amongst those things is HR.

Not only is it one of the greatest entertainment platforms to have existed, but it also turns out that due to its articulate workplace culture, it is a place where several employees would like to be (here’s where great employer branding comes into play).

Netflix, like any other company, cares to hire only the best and place a lot of value on integrity, excellence, respect, inclusion, and collaboration. However, what makes Netflix’s culture special is how much they:

  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

Furthermore, Netflix has seven aspects of its culture, and amongst those aspects are values they actually value and apply at the workplace while also looking for people who embody these nine values: 

  1. Judgment 
  2. Communication 
  3. Impact 
  4. Curiosity 
  5. Innovation 
  6. Courage 
  7. Passion 
  8. Honesty 
  9. Selflessness

So, how is Netflix unique in its culture?

Feedback is highly appreciated anytime, anywhere

Management, as well as entry-level employees, share direct, not anonymous, feedback openly about anything related to the workplace. The feedback is random and not formal, where it comes across like a constructive note that enhances the harmony between teams and colleagues. Given Netflix’s culture that values transparency, communication, and ownership, feedback is a very crucial habit. It creates this dream team mentality where it’s easy to communicate and share your thoughts and feelings.


The type of feedback given focuses on behavior rather than certain characterizations of a person, such as “you’re unfocused”. The feedback given to employees about one another should not be sent across as a personal attack, but rather one that includes giving specific examples, and being clear about any expectations and actions going forward. Moreover, it should be about an action rather than about the person himself. According to Patty McCord in her book “Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility”, companies that “fostered honest feedback and hard more open communication” had a 270% better ROI over a 10 year period that those who didn’t.


Decision-making is easy
Netflix created this term, “Informed Captains”, where each employee is responsible for his/her own ship, where the employee makes a judgment call after sharing and digesting others’ views. Rather than having committees take decisions, they have group meetings where a discussion takes place, but in the end, only the “informed caption” makes a decision, no matter what position that employee has.  


Employees are given the full responsibility and freedom to make decisions when they are reasonably confident of the right bet for managers to take, where the managers trust their team members and take that bet. Afterward, when the impact of the decision can be measured, they reflect on that decision and see if they can do better in the future.


This heightened sense of responsibility and accountability speeds up the decision-making process, enabling a fast-moving environment based on trust and openness. It’s important to note that each job level is responsible for making their own decisions while keeping in mind that certain strategic decisions that affect the organization's needs the responsible person to take.  


‘Management in context, not control’ environment
Managers provide their employees with all the information they need to make informed decisions. They spend time talking to their team members about what they are trying to achieve and then give people real responsibility to get it done without any interference and lots of flexibility and freedom. 

Employees are trusted to make the right decisions especially because they are the expert in what they’re handling. They believe that the job of the manager is to liberate the employee and to remove any barrier that would limit effectiveness, rather than paralyze situations where decisions are not being taken, and actions are needing too much time to be applied.

Freedom and Responsibility

This aspect is a culture of Netflix that’s applied in literally everything they do, whether it’s work, the work schedule or taking vacations. They believe that the employee has the freedom to do whatever he wants, and they bear the responsibility.


It’s similar to entrepreneurship but within a corporate environment as the employee is responsible for their own resources and how they should manage them. This empowers people to find what they want to do and how they want to do it while aiming to be the best version of themselves in their professional role. It’s the manager’s responsibility to empower their team, support them and remove any barriers in order to liberate them.


Flexibility around work schedule and vacation
There is great flexibility provided for the employees, as long as they know they have their work organized and covered. The employee has the freedom to choose when he starts and ends his day or when he takes a vacation depending on their work progress.


According to Netflix employees, if they had a certain time to start and leave, they would not be in the same place of motivation and level of execution. It helps their mindset knowing that they can take a few days off when they need to. It pushes them to get the job done and feel motivated, and then reward themselves with some time off to come back more productive and fresher.


Measuring Job Performance

They don’t do it as most companies do it, and this may not apply to all companies; however, they do not define a certain set of KPIs to measure success, nor do they have a specific process or any performance improvement plans or compensation reviews based on performance. Netflix defines itself as a “high-performance culture”, meaning that every employee is expected to perform not only excellent, but way beyond, and hence why they don’t measure performance.


Employees are rather measured by their teams and cross-functional partners, and most importantly measured by themselves, as Netflix attracts people who want to do the best of their ability. They pick their employees based on their talent and the mindset they carry (making sure they embody Netflix’s values).

 Everyone at Netflix is just looking for what brings it forward rather than what makes them as an individual grow. They believe that with KPIs, people will only want to hit the target and they will forget about taking risks, being creative and thinking outside the box - especially at Netflix, where they have the mentality of testing things where other companies don’t. 


For Netflix, culture is not static, as they constantly need to make sure that the culture still fits for everyone by always taking feedback from their employees. This adds an element of growth and creates an evolving culture that is not fixated in any way. They believe culture is ever-changing as one learns more about people and teams.

 “Our culture is a work in progress. Every year we try to refine our culture further as we learn more”

For more information about Netflix’s culture, check out its culture deck.


Diala Al-Otaibi
Senior Executive - Copywriting & Research 


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Why You Should Benchmark in HR

What is Benchmarking?

Benchmarking is a systematic process that uses quantitative or qualitative data to make comparisons between different organizations or sections of an organization. It is a continuous procedure in which organizations periodically identify, measure, challenge, and improve their practices for better ones. In accordance, HR benchmarking is done when HR policies, practices, and metrics are measured and compared with those of other organizations.

What is the importance of Benchmarking in HR?

Knowing where you stand in the market compared to your peers is critical in order to keep you in the game whether internally or externally. If used wisely and correctly, Benchmarking can transform an organization’s HR and workforce management strategies by proving that HR practices can impact affect an organization’s performance and success.

What will Benchmarking assist in?

  • Identifying areas of weakness and how to improve them
  • Identifying areas of strength and how to maintain them
  • Creating strategies for improvement
  • New or alternative ways to perform activities


What can be benchmarked?

It’s crucial to wisely choose what you want to benchmark as benchmarking everything may end up diluting your focus and shifting your attention away from what matters most. Identifying which aspects of your HR activities to benchmark may be slightly tricky, but it’s important to choose those that have a significant financial and organizational effect on your business’ success. A few examples are:

  • Total Costs
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Paid Leave
  • Recruitment Processes (ex: cost, time and speed of hiring a candidate)
  • Training (ex: training costs and number of training days per employee)
  • Retention rates
  • Absenteeism

How to benchmark?

1- Data Collection and Analysis:

The process starts with collecting data for certain aspects and analyzing it, either manually or using certain HR intelligence solutions. Once this process has been completed, you would need to determine what the analyzed data will be compared against. Data for comparison can be found in online/offline databases, reports, books and tools that collect metrics from a wide range of organizations.

2- Assessment and Comparison: 

You may want to use the expertise of an HR consulting company to assess your HR functions and compare them to your peers in the market in order to deliver ready reports with no hassle from your end. Nevertheless, if you choose to complete this process internally, you will need to select the right organizations to compare yours with or else you could get an imprecise depiction of the status, therefore leading you to take wrong actions.

Internal vs External Benchmarking 

Benchmarking is not necessarily external only (comparing your organization to other ones) but can also be internal (comparing your organization’s departments with one another). Raising the standard to your best performing units and upgrading all units internally improves performance and is usually met with less resistance from managers. However; internal benchmarking may not answer certain questions such as why your employee retention is lower than that of a competitor.

Key Takeaway:

Benchmarking is a tool that empowers your organization and allows you to gain a competitive advantage in the market if done accurately. It is a practice that must be done cautiously and wisely without making any assumptions about the market, statistics, and ratios. Knowing how your competitors are implementing certain actions, benefits or strategies can be incredibly advantageous to your organization.


Diala Al-Otaibi
Senior Executive - Copywriting & Research 


7 Trends HR Departments Need to Prepare For in 2020


Not only is the global economy changing but so are the mentalities and habits of the working people, and hence why HR have the biggest challenge in 2020!

Below are some trends that HR departments ought to be prepared for, or in other terms, consider applying to keep up with the dynamic business environment.

1. AI & Automation

In recent years, most of the HR departments are relying more on automation to increase the efficiency of several HR processes that would use up lots of time and resources if done manually.  The automation trend will still be seen in 2020 and will continue to grow; however, Artificial Intelligence will join the game even more so in the upcoming year. 

“According to a study by Forrester, 53% of global data and analytics decision-makers say they have implemented, are in the process of implementing, or are expanding or upgrading their implementation of some form of artificial intelligence.”

This goes without saying that some jobs that needed humans, might now be lost to artificial intelligence, such as jobs that require manual operation of machinery and ones that require accounting skills. Though humans are still a crucial asset to organizations as without them, AI wouldn’t be possible, and neither would be feeding the system and following up on several tasks to ensure quality and adherence. Jobs that are safest from the impact of automation include engineers, scientists, IT professionals and many more.


2. HR Data & People Analytics

The focus on HR data and People Analytics is on the rise especially as organizations grow. The more employees an organization has, the more necessary it is for the organization to understand its employees and their behavior through analyzing HR data.

Understanding the data makes all the difference, as it is not enough to have it available without using it to recognize any gaps or opportunities. If applied accurately, this ensures employees’ productivity, overall well-being and the success of an organization.  

Several tools and solutions, such as ZENITHR, are being created in order to speed and simplify certain HR tasks by rapidly generating insights and reports from real-time HR data. It uses advanced descriptive and predictive analytical tools to better utilize data and easily spot any patterns and trends.


3. Employer Branding

One of the most important ongoing trends that will continue to grow in 2020, a trend that affects a company’s business, brand and culture, is Employer Branding. Employer Branding is the strategy of promoting a company to be the employer of choice to any desired and targeted candidate they want to attract, recruit and retain.

There will always be talented candidates, whether fresh graduates or experienced professionals, who seek bigger opportunities and a greater challenge. Due to that, a company is advised to give more attention to Employer Branding through all the stages of recruitment and on all platforms such as their website and online pages.

As an organization maintains a constant lookout for what employees are looking for in an employer and in a workplace, they will be assured that their brand is relevant and is what the people are seeking. Top trends of Employer Branding in 2020 are Authenticity, Growth, Personalization and Brand Association.


4. Employee Engagement

The HR trend of employee engagement is on the rise as employers use it to empower their employees and have them feel a sense of ownership and responsibility.  

Employee engagement is key to a better business. By listening to employees, they work harder and more innovatively, which subsequently leads to better quality products and more satisfied clients.

In 2020, more organizations are inclined to implement team building activities that build a bond between the employee and the company. They plan to focus on building a proper company culture that makes everyone feel comfortable, important and productive.


5. Remote Teams

A study by Global Workplace Analytics showed that ever since 2005, the remote workforce has increased by 140%!

Several companies have already shifted towards giving employees the choice to either work in the office or remotely. This trend will be more prevalent in 2020, especially with the support of advanced communication tools and team working platforms.  

Remote work will affect organizations that expect their employees to work a 9-5 job at the office and will decrease their chances of finding the right candidate. Subsequently, this entails that HR ought to adapt to this change and be more open to the idea of remote work while using the right tools to monitor and track the work of off-site employees. 


6. HR Outsourcing

No matter the scale of the business, HR outsourcing is seen to be done by several companies and will be sought after more often in 2020.

Whether a company does have an HR department, or not, HR outsourcing assists organizations in optimizing their performance and achieving their business goals through several strategies specifically studied and designed for the organization.

Other examples of HR outsourcing are payrolls and data collection and HR Analytics, that empower HR specialists to focus on other HR tasks rather such as candidate sourcing employer branding.


7. Gig Economy

Gig Economy is where 9-5 full-time work is no longer of workplace value because competition for self-employment is on the rise. Employees choose freelance projects and part-time contracts over full-time jobs, allowing them greater flexibility of time, physical workplace and project selection.

If a company chooses to participate in the Gig Economy, the HR department is advised to adhere to certain procedures that fit in with this growing economy and attract the right candidates.

This will require HR to prepare training material that is well-designed in order to share it with any new and changing resources to get the job done efficiently. If a company does decide to step into the Gig Economy, HR consulting firms may advise companies on how to write the training material as well as support them in recruiting the right candidate.


Conclusion: A change in HR is coming!

While some trends are already being seen in action these past few years, they will remain to stay, grow and have a bigger effect on HR functions. Companies are advised to catch up with these trends in order to attract and retain the right talent to see the most benefit across the workforce as well as the overall business.

It is not easy adapting to these changes as it will require loads of planning, restructuring, and training; however, the results will be super rewarding and the company will be amongst the top.

If a company does decide to follow certain trends, there are several resources, tools, and solutions that can help them make this shift in the HR department. Adapting to these trends will increase HR productivity, overall employee satisfaction, and an organization’s success.


Diala Al-Otaibi
Senior Executive

Copywriting & Research


3 Tactical Ways to Create a People-Centric Culture


A survey conducted by Glassdoor shows that 87% of employees expect their employer to support them in balancing work and personal commitments.

Gone are the days where employee engagement and well-being are a nuance on the management and are only the responsibility of the HR department. It is very evident that employees’ productivity, innovation and the general atmosphere of the workplace will be negatively impacted when employees are dissatisfied and uncomfortable.

Happy employees = happy employers = happy customers

Below are two concepts that if applied correctly, would create a genuine and honest company culture that empowers its employees and builds a stronger workforce.


Human-Centered Design (HCD)

HCD is a process that focuses on the people you are planning for and creates a tailor-made solution that fits their needs.

This requires a deeper understanding of the work process as well as emotional and behavioral relations. Rather than giving your employees what you think they need; it is best to understand and know what they really need either through observing their behavior and relationships with their colleagues or by asking them to voice their opinions and concerns.


Energy Leadership (EL)

EL goes hand-in-hand with Human-Centered Design. It is a personal style of leadership that leverages competencies in order to help others shift their energy levels from negative emotions (such as fear, anger, etc.) to positive and more productive ones.

With empathy as their major foundation, EL practitioners focus on shifting their internal energies to deal with challenges and achieve their best, while inspiring others to do the same. When combined with human-centered design, EL creates a holistic environment (physical and emotional) that is perfect for harmonized teamwork, problem-solving and creativity.


Here are three tactical ways you can shift the classic mindset of employers with a people-centric approach, to create a better workplace and avoid any struggles ahead: 


1. Offer choices rather than restrictions
To have someone choose between two options is more empowering than forcing them into one. Such is the case with employees and workplace design. 

One way organizations can create a choice and a human-centered workplace design is by allocating a portion of the office space to offer a more informal and ‘chill’ area. This will empower your employees, and create an environment that fosters productivity, innovation and growth, rather than restricting them to an assigned desk. This additional choice, of either working from a desk or a couch, will give them the satisfaction of choice. 


2. Infuse in the homey element 
Employees spend more time in the workplace rather than their own homes, and it is highly crucial to make them feel comfortable, at ease and not in need of anything. 

Employees would feel more at home by including more human-centered design elements in the workplace that give it this residential overall look and feel. An example of this would be, a small gym or meditation room, where employees can take a break and do what they love. 

By meeting your employees’ needs during the workday, they create more value, appreciation, and respect to your company. Small gestures such as offering better quality coffee and snacks allow the employee to feel comfortable in the workplace and not want to leave during the day to simply to get certain things that are missing. 


3. Practice empathy to enhance energy levels 
While human-centered design can increase employee morale, collaboration and productivity, Energy Leadership (EL) and further enable empathy, observation, and reflection amongst the workforce.

By applying empathetic listening and employing time observing their employees’ behaviors, EL practitioners may shift the overall situation or specific outcomes.

Being empathetic and there for employees in crucial times would immediately create a powerful connection that builds a strong and loyal workforce. Such cases would be if an employee is having a low day, for the manager to show some care by asking about their well-being and if anything at the workplace is bothering them. Some managers may even offer spa packages to their employees or perhaps just give them some time off until they feel better. 


Key Takeaway:
There is a great need to prioritize employee engagement and wellness for your organization to increase productivity and overall well-being of the workplace. Human-Centered Design coupled with Energy Leadership will get that job done for you.

By applying the above 3 tactical ways, you can start creating a more people-centric culture and watch your employee morale and productivity increase.  

Diala Al-Otaibi
Senior Executive

Copywriting & Research