Netflix employees can get fired if they fail notorious “keeper test”

Cameron Frew
Joe Pesci at the end of Goodfellas with Netflix symbols

If you’ve ever dreamed of being a Netflix employee, you better work hard: if you fail the “keeper test”, you could be walked out of the door.

According to Netflix’s culture memo, the company’s “Dream Team is driven by performance.”

In other words, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been there for 10 years and feel like you’re part of the furniture – if you’re not a “high performer”, you’re already at risk.

The streaming service has a specific question for its managers, known as the “keeper test.” They’re asked: “If X wanted to leave, would I fight to keep them?” Or, “Knowing everything I know today, would I hire X again?”

If they say no… well, that employee is about to feel like Joe Pesci at the end of Goodfellas. Or as Netflix puts it, “we believe it’s fairer to everyone to part ways quickly.”

According to Business Insider, if an employee is cut off the back of the test, they receive a “generous” severance package.

It’s been criticized over the years, with some people accusing Netflix of fostering a toxic work culture. Even its co-CEO Greg Peters admitted in an interview with Verge’s Decoder podcast that it may have miscommunicated that Netflix “was a harsh and maybe cutthroat place.”

The company has since amended its website, adding an important note about the test and why people shouldn’t be worried.

“In the abstract, the keeper test can sound scary. In reality, we encourage everyone to speak to their managers about what’s going well and what’s not on a regular basis. This helps avoid surprises,” it explains.

“Managers also evaluate team members on their whole record, rather than focusing on the mistakes or bets that didn’t pay off. On the Dream Team, you need people who challenge the status quo and try new things. So we stick with employees through short-term bumps.”

There was another addition, with Netflix writing that “not all opinions are created equal… it’s impractical for everyone to weigh in on most decisions (this memo being an exception).”

In the meantime, check out new movies streaming this month, as well as TV shows and new true crime documentaries you should add to your watch list.

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