Netflix’s Expense Policy Is The Exception—Not the Rule: This Week in the Back Office


Netflix's expense policy is a simple sentence — “Act in Netflix's best interests” — that says a lot about the culture its leaders have fostered for more than a decade. So, what makes the company's seemingly radical expense policy work so well? The company's radical, high-achieving culture.

Netflix famously released a 127-slide deck about its culture, “Netflix Culture: Freedom & Responsibility,” which identifies nine “values” that guide hiring and promotion decisions. Netflix leaders follow them vigilantly. Honesty, selflessness and judgement are three of the values. Says Netflix former Chief Talent Officer Patty McCord,

“If you are careful to hire people who will put the company's interests first, who understand and support the desire for a high-performance workplace, 97 percent of your employees will do the right thing. Most companies spend endless time and money writing and enforcing HR policies to deal with problems the other 3 percent might cause. Instead, we tried really hard to not hire those people, and we let them go if it turned out we made a hiring mistake.”

As far as communicating the expense policy? Employees are simply told to spend money frugally, as if it were their own, McCord says. Although it works for Netflix it doesn’t mean it's a good policy for other companies, in some cases far from it. Check out the full story.

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