a few months ago, Netflix Circulation of an internal Google document containing reviews of the company culture note has begun. The document got about 10,000 comments from employees before the final product – Posted on Netflix Jobs – He was released to the public earlier in May.
The notes included guidance for employees to “spend [Netflix] Members money wisely” and a reminder that leaders also need to be accountable for following company values. But there was one section in particular, on “artistic expression,” which stood out for some employees.
The note specifies, “Not everyone will like – or agree with – everything in our service”, It ends with a message directed directly to the staff: “Depending on your role, you may need to work on titles that you see as harmful. If you find it difficult to support our breadth of content, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”
The updated entry appears to have been a direct response to the internal and public outcry against the broadcasting giant last October in response to the closest, Dave Chappelle’s comedy special that featured multiple anti-transgender jokes. Although Netflix received a lot of public backlash, co-CEO Ted Sarandos admitted that “screwed“In his initial responses to the staff’s concerns at the time, the broadcaster went on to announce a deal with Chappelle for Four more comedy specials It has taken a tougher line toward what it sees as “artistic freedom” – even at the expense of its own employees – as part of the company’s culture.
“In 2021, talking about what’s best for the company is still part of the culture,” said a former Netflix employee. The Hollywood Reporter. With the rewrite, … Netflix clarified that the new request is ‘If you don’t like it, leave.’
While most organizations today usually have a document outlining values, Netflix came to prominence in 2009 when CEO Reed Hastings publicly released the company’s approach to management in the form of 125 deck which included concepts that seemed extreme at the time, such as unlimited leave and “avoiding the rules”. The deck, which has since been reviewed in an official culture note, served as the inspiration behind Hastings’ 2020 book, There are no rules rules.
But the change in this month’s note comes during a period of major turmoil for Netflix, which is facing a slowdown in subscriber growth as competitors like Disney breathe their necks. During the first quarter of the year, Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers and expects to lose an additional 2 million subscribers in the second quarter—losses that smashed the company’s stock and made employees and investors alike worried about the future growth of high- and high-end subscribers. -Spend streamer. To help stave off some of those losses, Netflix has started Experimenting with new areas of business, such as advertising and video games – which Hastings had previously been fiercely opposed to.
But as with any company trying to cut costs, Netflix has been curbing spending growth and it has done so Two rounds of major layoffs within a month, with the latest round drawing 150 full-time employees, or about 2 percent of the company’s total workforce, and dozens of contractors working in Netflix’s editorial department — some of whom were just brought in months ago and worked on the face of it. Selection on channels intended to serve underrepresented identities such as Strong Black Lead, Con Todo, Most, and Netflix Golden.
All social channels are operated within the Netflix Marketing Department and aim to elevate Netflix programming geared towards specific audiences and build strong communities with viewers. strong black leadFor example, it was launched in 2018 as a way to promote Netflix programming that showcases black talent and creators and build a meaningful community with black audiences throughout the year. Since then, the marketing brand has launched an original video series, a podcast and amassed 804,000 followers on Instagram and over 253,000 followers on Twitter.
Following this success, the Netflix marketing team continued to launch additional channels such as Con Todo for Latino communities; Most, for LGBTQ+ fans; And, Recently, golden, for the Asian diaspora. Each of these channels counts several thousand followers across Instagram and Twitter.
Netflix said the editorial cuts, made across all social channels — not just identity-focused ones — are part of a larger strategy to create social content internally, rather than by outside contractors. The company also left a number of employees in its family and animation divisions in the latest round of layoffs and canceled animation projects in Ava DuVernay’s business and Meghan Marklealthough Netflix said the series has been canceled for creative reasons.
“We are making changes to how we support our publishing efforts, including bringing some of this important work within the company,” a Netflix spokesperson said. “Our social channels continue to grow and innovate, and we are investing heavily in them.”
Although the social accounts are still up and running, the laid-off editorial staff is skeptical of Netflix’s commitment to diversity, with several contractors saying they were encouraged to join Netflix because of its perceived focus on supporting writers, editors, and creators from diverse backgrounds.
In addition to promoting specific identity-focused social channels, Netflix has confirmed its commitment to being included in recent financial pledges, including by transferring 100 million dollars, or 2 percent, of its financial holdings of banks that support black communities and the creation of a $5 million fund to invest in black innovators and businesses. The streamer also focused on improving the diversity of its employees; Last year, Netflix said women made up half of the global workforce, while nearly half of the U.S. workforce was a global majority, according to the company. Diversity Report 2021.
“There was a lot of talk about how Netflix was committed to diversity and inclusion, and I think a lot of us who were brought in really thought that,” the second Netflix former editor-in-chief who was affected by the recent layoffs notes. “The book really makes up a lot of the amazing content you watch on those channels and [bring] Views are really wide and varied, so it’s a shame we’re all left.”
It also didn’t help with that, according to two contractors they spoke to THRThe two rounds of demobilization came with very short notice. (Netflix contractors are hired by outside agencies, and at least one agency — Made by Fabric — appears to have closed entirely after the latest round of layoffs.)
“They have to reimagine themselves,” adds a third former editor-in-chief who was laid off in April about the changes at Netflix. “It’s just an institutional thing [where] A high-level person who earns, you know, 10 or 20 million dollars a year makes a bad decision or puts off dealing with a problem and people on Earth have to suffer because of that. That’s definitely bad.”
That’s not to say that layoffs or firings at Netflix are particularly unusual in the streaming device, which notably has a “guard test” that guides the company’s approach to firing. (“If a team member were to leave for a similar job at another company, would the manager try to keep them? Those who didn’t pass the guard test (i.e. their manager wouldn’t fight to keep them) get a generous severance package so we can find someone better for the job,” Netflix cultural note states.)
But with the latest round of layoffs determined by “business needs rather than individual performance,” a Netflix spokesperson said at the time, employees noticed a loss of trust among employees. Adds a Netflix insider: “It feels like they’ve really lost control of the narrative, and it’s kind of out of control.” Trust eroded.
As for how Netflix will deal with employee opposition in the future, the updated memo on “Artistic Expression” will also be put to the test in light of a new comedy special from Ricky Gervais, which includes multiple jokes about trans women. Netflix has not responded to repeated requests for comment on the Gervais special, and if the company’s handling of the Chappelle special is any indication, the operator will likely come again to support the comedian.
“It used to be part of the culture, and people saw it as enabling them to speak out. The new culture note makes it clear that creatives are now protected from having to listen to the opinions of anyone who doesn’t agree with them,” said the first former Netflix employee. “It’s really a shame, because if they don’t listen to the minority employees, and don’t track the viewer’s activity through this lens either, then they are working in a cultural black box.”
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