However, what seems like an ingenious idea didn’t start out that way. Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings started out as a programmer who started a business out of a debugging software called Purify. The company was successful at first until they started acquiring companies left and right. Incorporating teams from companies who had differing work habits led to an erosion of Purify’s company culture. It was after his time with Purify that he was able to build Netflix to what it is today.
His transition from Purify to Netflix was not an easy task as he had to find like-minded people who could easily adapt to the changing times. Reed needed to shape Netflix’s company culture with his team so that he would not experience the same catastrophe he had with Purify. Here are the lessons we can learn from Reed’s experience of developing Netflix’s company culture with his employees:
1. Companies need to be able to innovate not just on their products/services, but also on their culture and how they do business.
Given that we are currently living in a world where technological advancements can come rapidly and unexpectedly, typical business models that have worked in the past may not persist as time goes by. As such, companies will need people who can readily adapt to the changes that will happen, and can help improve the organization’s way of doing business. At Netflix, Hastings needed flexible problem solvers who could adapt to the changing times. The evolution of Netflix from a company that sends DVD’s via email for rent to a streaming video service was a major leap since these are two completely different business models that required different sets of expertise. This need of finding people who are ready to adapt to change is crucial for any business.
In fact, here at Leadfunnel, we constantly try to find new ways of enhancing and improving our lead generation for clients since we are aware that newer technologies and methods will change the business landscape.
2. A strong company culture is needed for organizations looking to scale.
As your business is starting to grow, you will need to hire a lot of people to accommodate your customer’s demands. Since there will be a lot of potential recruits, there is a need to be able to find the “right” people who can fit in with your organization. This is where a strong company culture is needed as this represents how your employees work at their best. This culture must be understood by everyone, and built in collaboration with one another. You can know if your organization has a winning company culture if every employee feels that he/she personally owns that culture.
Without a strong company culture, organizations will be lost as employees will do work mindlessly, having no direction. This is what happened with Hasting’s first business. He didn’t pay much attention to company culture even as he was already acquiring businesses. The results of which led to a decrease in the overall intellectual level of employees who only knew how to stick to processes they are aware of. Hasting’s experience with his first business led to his realization on the importance of company culture as he builds his business for the future.
At Leadfunnel, we have a company culture wherein we get to teach and help one another improve. We get to talk with each other and exchange ideas on how we can improve ourselves and our organization.
3. Company culture cements very quickly. Companies need to be careful when scaling.
Since there is a need for a strong company culture, employees need to work together to shape their culture and identity. Ideally, you should define your company culture before you look to scale and expand the business. You will need to think hard on which cultural attributes in place you will retain and remove as you scale and get more recruits.
In Netflix, the company has come up with a “culture deck” which is basically the embodiment of their culture. The culture deck is a compilation of what the Netflix culture stands for, who they are trying to hire, and what they can expect. This deck has been uploaded to Slideshare for people to see. This way, Netflix can find the right people and retain certain aspects of their culture.
In the case of Leadfunnel, we get to retain our company culture by explaining it to potential recruits as they are onboarded. We may not have a 100-slide presentation of our culture like Netflix, but we have online documents that explain what Leadfunnel is all about and what we believe in as a company.
4. Culture-fit should be valued over skills and experience
There will probably come a time during your company’s hiring process wherein you get to interview a highly sought-after candidate. He/she would have the necessary skills and experience needed for the job. However, that person does not fit in with your company. The question you would be asking yourself is, “Would you still hire the person if he/she does not fit in with your organizational culture?” The answer should be no! A highly skilled candidate, who does not fit in with your company culture, can clash with other employees. Once this happens, your employees will not be able to function as a team, leading to a loss in productivity and performance.
For Netflix, this problem is addressed by the existence of their culture deck. All their potential recruits have to read this document. They are able to avoid hiring people who do not fit in because these people are aware of how Netflix does business. In fact, Netflix’s culture deck is meant to repel some candidates who do not want to work under certain conditions stipulated in the deck.
In my case, I was interviewed by the different employees of Leadfunnel through a call. They asked me certain questions regarding experience, attitudes, behaviors, and even hobbies. This way, Leadfunnel gets to hire people who fit in with our company’s culture.
5. A strong company culture is always under construction
The last, and probably most important thing we can learn from Netflix is that a strong culture is that which is always under construction. Hastings even stated that they constantly update their culture deck to accommodate improvements suggested by their employees. As Hastings puts it, “Culture is a living document.” Company culture is dynamic and can change along with the times. Although there is change, certain aspects of their culture stay the same.
In Leadfunnel, though there have been countless changes in how we do things, our culture of teaching and helping one another improve will always be there.
If I can leave with a parting message, it’s this: “Continually strive for a culture that you and your employees can feel proud of!”
Curious? Want to know more? You can reach Jason at 0917-569-3371.
The difficulty of sales is what makes it challenging yet exciting all at the same time!