For the first time in nearly five years, Netflix has updated its extensive corporate culture memo. Major changes include anti-censorship policies and tighter rules on employee spending.
The memo, titled Netflix Culture — Seeking Excellence, which was obtained by Variety, is a new take on CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings’ concepts that fueled the 2020 book No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention.
Perhaps the most noteworthy addition to the memo is the company’s detailed stance on censorship. The words fall under a new category dubbed “Artistic Expression,” and they clearly state that no view should be withheld from the public, even if employees deem it “harmful.”
“Not everyone will like — or agree with — everything on our service,” the section reads. “While every title is different, we approach them based on the same set of principles: we support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with; we program for a diversity of audiences and tastes; and we let viewers decide what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices.”
The anti-censorship guidelines come after employees staged a massive walkout due to Dave Chappelle’s The Closer. The stand-up special included views that some believed were transphobic and homophobic. To prevent further protests, Netflix has bluntly written that employees who disagree with the policy should work elsewhere.
“Depending on your role, you may need to work on titles you perceive to be harmful,” it wrote. “If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”
Netflix Memo Cracks Down on Frivolous Employee Spending
Another major memo addition falls under a section titled You spend our members’ money wisely. The rules come less than a month after the streamer announced its first subscriber drop in over a decade. In the past, Netflix was fairly carefree about how employees decided to spend. But now, it is cracking down to ensure that people don’t have complete freedom with company accounts.
To get this point across, Netflix has omitted passages that enabled careless financial decisions. For example, it deleted a section that read, “There are virtually no spending controls and few contract signing controls. Each employee is expected to seek advice and perspective as appropriate. ‘Use good judgment’ is our core precept.”
However, the company also added a passage that protects employees during cutbacks. Hastings noted that no matter how badly the company suffers, no employee will have to accept a decreased salary. But he did stress that those employees should still strive for greatness, despite their financial security.
“On the other hand, if the company does well, our broadly distributed stock options become quite valuable,” he added.
To read the entire memo, visit https://jobs.netflix.com/culture.