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Unlimited vacation time: Part of the ‘Freedom culture’ at Netflix

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills,Office Communication,Workplace Communication

At Los Gatos, CA-based Netflix, employees can take as much vacation time as they want. No kidding.

“It’s really not that big of a deal,” says Steve Swasey, director of corporate communications for the DVD rental company. “We just don’t really keep track of people’s vacation time.”

The strategy is one of many retention tools that are part of a bigger corporate culture that pairs enormous freedoms with enormous responsibilities, Swasey says.

Netflix employees have atypical control over their compensation packages. The company sets a salary for each employee, who can opt to receive it all in cash, all in equity or some of each. It offers no bonuses because, says Swasey, everyone is expected to be a top performer.

The culture encourages creativity and innovation at every level, so the 400 salaried employees are evaluated on their individual performances, not face time. Still, they must be able to balance work and vacation responsibly to get their work done. And they must be able to work without constant supervision.

In fact, says Swasey, employees who require more structure and/or direction don’t work well at Netflix.  

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