Netflix CEO Embraces 'No Rules,' But Work Is Anything But Chill

In his new book No Rules Rules, Reed Hastings argues that in order for a creative workplace to succeed, it needs as few policies and rules as possible. Others say the culture is demoralizing.

9/16/2020 7:59:00 AM

Netflix's CEO argues a creative workplace needs as few policies and rules as possible to thrive — and credits the company's meteoric rise to its unorthodox workplace culture. Others say it can be ruthless and transparent 'to the point of dysfunction.'

In his new book No Rules Rules, Reed Hastings argues that in order for a creative workplace to succeed, it needs as few policies and rules as possible. Others say the culture is demoralizing.

In his new book,No Rules Rules,Hastings discusses one of the guiding principles of his anything-goes, radically transparent management style: The Keeper Test.The idea is to ask your boss:"If I wanted to leave, how hard would you fight to keep me?"

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If the answer is"not very hard," maybe it's time for you to go."Our culture memo says things like adequate performance gets a generous severance package," he said.That culture has some employees constantly looking over their shoulder, worried about being perceived as anything less than a star worker.

In a 2018investigationin which the newspaper spoke to 70 current and former Netflix employees, the culture at the company was described at times as ruthless and transparent"to the point of dysfunction."Some employees said people of color did not feel as empowered as white colleagues to offer frank feedback. Some felt so much pressure, they quit before they could get canned.

Hastings counters that people of all backgrounds have ways to rise in the company. He notes that of Netflix's top 20 leaders, half are women and a quarter are people of color, even as he concedes that the Netflix way is not for everyone.Mo'Nique's Netflix Discrimination Case Moves Forward

"Those who feel fear tend to check out because it's an unpleasant feeling. And really it's best-suited for people who can acknowledge intellectually the risks, but in fact they are so joyful about playing with great teammates," Hastings said."People who get promoted and rewarded are iconoclastic and are curious but often disagree with things."

That climate can certainly be abused, said Jonathan Knee, a Columbia Business School professor and former investment banker."There are certainly versions of this that would clearly be completely destructive," Knee said.Yet he gives Hastings credit for trying something different and says he's set a better environment than in many U.S. workplaces where people tiptoe around difficult topics rather than address them directly.

"People are not rewarded for giving feedback. There's gonna be emotions. There's human beings. Somebody is gonna cry. You just don't wanna. It's like, 'You know what? Let's just wait,'" Knee said."Corporate America sees feedback as scary. That's bad for the organization and bad for the development of the people," he said.

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There are parallels between how Netflix treats its employees and the many shows it produces. More than three dozen shows have been canceled or not renewed in the past two years, including ones that received critical acclaim such as Read more: NPR »

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So, they have a laissez-faire attitudes about their business & employees, & hope it works out? How has that worked out for this generation of the trophy-for-participation & punishment-for-nothing? They’re the ones screaming at cops, toppling statues, & burning local businesses. No questions about Cuties of course.

Are you going to cover the Cuties controversy or does NPR condone pedophilia too? Wait Ozark is cancelled? it’s equally possible netflix is missing out on some of the best creative talent who won’t deal w/that cut throat environment.also, hope they are talking about success outside of 2020 bc I promise it is not work culture driving subscribers in 2020

Just leaving this here pedoflix Sick POS. that guy is a nonce But no mention of Cuties? 'No Rules' just means your bosses are exploitative dicks who will toss you with no explanation It's meteoric rise? People are home and watching shows on Netflix? Just a wild guess 😒 No policies and rules huh? 'Cuties' getting picked up by Netflix now starts to make more sense.

'I do my best work unconstrained' -- some hooker I've never heard anyone who worked at Netflix say they enjoyed their time there. Morally bankrupt sh1th0l3. netflix cuties FU_CEO cancelNetflix boycottNetflix Yeah, cuz that’s not gonna blow up in their face Like a Brothel. Ah so that explains why they’ll just add movies specifically for MAPs

I live and work in Silicon Valley, it’s know that Netflix is a shit place to work. So being a pedophiles isn't part of your policy? Make it your policy 'NO PEDOPHILIA IDEAS ALLOWED' No rules. No morals either, apparently. Cuties Cutiesnetflix Why can’t I access any sep pages? Have been trying for days

They're doing great 🙄 No policies on producing child porn eh....

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