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Essay: SWOT & TOWS Analysis for NETFLIX

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June 24th, 2018
Background on Netflix
“Netflix has been leading the way for digital content since 1997” (Netflix.com, 2018)
Netflix is currently the world’s leader in the realm of internet entertainment. Netflix has a whopping 125 million memberships in over 190 countries; members enjoy entertainment such as original content as well as an array of television series, documentaries feature films that are made available in multiple languages and genres. With the convenience of the internet members can stream and even download commercial free content straight on to their internet capable devices with a click of a button. Although Netflix has many reasons to boast of their many successes and achievements in the field of entertainment, executives must also be mindful of possible weaknesses and threats to their organization that man potentially disrupt or even halt future success.
The purpose of this SWOT analysis for Netflix
The purpose of this SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis is to obtain a snapshot of Netflix’s current internal conditions and functions and external forces that the organization faces in the years to come. This analysis will also help better identify each of the four above mentioned SWOT component so that they can be utilized during a strategic planning phase that can aid the organization to develop strategies that will address and mitigate any potential issues or threats.
The Importance of Strategic Planning
According to the article The Advantages of SWOT Analysis in a Strategic Plan, Neil Kokemuller states that “A SWOT analysis is an integral part of a company’s strategic planning process because it provides a good all-around view of the company’s current and forward-looking situation”. In short, the SWOT analysis is important to organization’s Strategic planning as it connects strategies and objectives to the role and duties it’s the workforce.
SWOT Analysis for Netflix
The Strengths
Netflix has many strengths one strength in particular is as it stands Netflix currently possesses a well-defined strategic plan. Employees are made aware that their role is within their given department and as it related to the organization as a whole. Managers coach employees on an ongoing basis in an effort to instill the organization’s core values as well as remind employees of their role/duties; this is important to Netflix as the organization currently does not perform traditional performance appraisals.
Netflix’s Human Resources Department is heavily involved in the strategic planning process. From the very beginning the HR department is made aware of company set goals as well as duties and expectations for employees; with this HR has the ability to aid to mold and shape the company’s culture that makes achieving these goals possible. In the article Human Resource Planning: Objectives, Need, Importance and Levels, the writer S. Chand states that “HR needs a seat at the executive table”, but what does this mean exactly? Well, the idea is simple in order for the HR team to be able to deliver skilled candidates with desired competencies, offer sufficient training and development to employees, and steer organizational policies and management campaigns the HR department must be part of the strategic planning process from day one; then and only then can the HR manager understand and assess the needs of the organization and develop these much-needed areas efficiently and effectively.
Based on Darwish’s Table 2.1 it is evident that Netflix utilizes Strategic HRM in their business strategy.  Micro or traditional HR setting within an organization the role of HR was to recruitment skilled employees, payroll processes and employee benefits. In addition to this traditional HR departments also handled employee training and development as well as the development and regulation of policies and labor laws. Netflix operates its organization in a macro/ Strategic HRM setting along with the necessary departments and managers to develop a strategic process for which the organization follows.
Since Netflix operates with a Strategic HRM the organization shares with executives the importance of HRM within the strategic planning process. SHRM is important to Netflix as it is utilized in the recruiting of and hiring processes of the desired skilled candidate.  Strategic HRM is important as the HRM has the knowledge and understand of the organization’s goals, direction, and of what skill/ competencies are important to the workforce. In order for any of this to be accomplished the HRM must be part of the strategic process from conception.
Another strength Netflix possesses is their gender diverse organization. According to it’s diversity page, Women make up 42 percent of the workforce. In addition, leadership at Netflix in made up of 42 percent women. Women also make up 42 percent of the workforce in departments such as Creative and corporate functions.  In the IT department women make up 27 percent of that workforce.
Netflix practices trusting management or honor code for employees Netflix employees manage their own employee expense accounts (within reason for purchases) and are even given free lunches and snacks of their choosing. Netflix’s expense policy is “ACT in Netflix’s best interest”. According to the How Netflix reinvented HR, Sheryl Sanberg former Chief Talent offer Netflix states “expenses accounts are another area where if you create a clear expectation or responsible behavior, most employees will comply. In addition to lax expense account management, there are “Unlimited vacation days for salaried employees” (McCord, Patty, Pg. 6).
The Weaknesses
As mentioned above the HR department is heavily involved in Netflix strategic process however, there is no mention of lower level supervisors or managers in this process. Lack of key employee involvement in strategic planning process can certainly harm the organization. Managers and Supervisors who work in the forefront with lower level employees can offer invaluable input as to what is working and what isn’t as well in terms of the needs and changing skill sets of these employees. A hurtle Netflix is also facing is finding skilled candidate to preform specialized work (engineering). According to Sandberg “If we only wanted “A” players on our team, we had to be willing to let go of people whose skills no longer fit” McCord, Patty, Pg. 5). While this does give Netflix an advantage as the will remain with only skilled employees their workforce overtime has and will continue to diminish. This issue must be addressed in the future to avoid lack of skilled workers in the future.
Netflix also eliminated formal employee performance reviews. I believe this is a weakness as this can result in lack of employee accountability and confusion on what may or may not be expected of employees. Effectively executed performance reviews allow managers and supervisor the opportunity to share with employees what is expected, what their goals are how they can achieve the set goals, and training and coaching to lead them towards success.
The Opportunities
An opportunity Netflix can take advantage of when it comes to strategic planning is to focus on the competencies and skills necessary to achieve organizational goals, thus increasing productivity and make for a more efficient and effective workforce. Knowing the competencies and skills necessary will aid in the recruiting and staffing process needed to make Netflix a continued success well into the future; with the skilled and competent employees to support it.
In addition, Netflix should consider diversifying their work force. While over 40 percent of employees are female, less than 20 percent of the workforce is Minority or non-white. This can certainly prove to become an issue with possible discrimination lawsuits. According to Mimi Colin’s Recruiting for Diversity–Best Practices for Building Relationships with HBCUs “To improve the outcomes of their diversity recruitment efforts, many organizations work to build ties with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions, tribal colleges, and other institutions with significantly minority populations”. I feel recruiting from these university and institutions Netflix will have an increased opportunity to find skilled candidates from different ethnic backgrounds. Diversity in the workforce is useful as diversity allows individuals to share their experiences, point of views, and beliefs that they have with others that maybe others wouldn’t have heard them in the first place.
The Threats
There are many external threats that the Netflix organization faces. One threat in particular is the threat of competitors offering higher pay and more desirable benefits. Employee turnover can increase due to better opportunities elsewhere. It is important for the organization to remain competitive with regard to compensation and benefits if they plan to not only retain their current workforce but, to also recruit and hire future employees as well.
Due to Netflix’s ever evolving organization from DVD’s to streaming, Netflix must constantly innovate new and improved methods of delivering entertainment and creating content for members. In order for such painstaking work to be achieved takes skilled and competent staffers. Netflix Faces the threat of possibly not having skilled employees to recruit and aging staff that may not grow with the times; or may not have the skills necessary for the organization to remain competitive.
Leadership Training & Executive Coaching
What is Leadership training?
Netflix must invest in leadership training and development if the organization wants to struve for continued success. Rosalind Torres’ brief lecture on “What it takes to be a Great Leader? , speaks about the failures of traditional leadership training and how nearly 58% of the 4000 companies she conducted researched on failed and properly training, coaching, and developing effective leaders. She states that Traditional training that may have worked in the past is not going to propel the leaders of the present or future excel. Instead leaders must live in the here and now. Constantly looking ahead and in corners for anything and everything cramping their way. They must also be diverse in their ways of thinking and diverse in choosing a collaborative workforce. In addition she spoke about having the courage to leave the comforts of the known and what has worked in the past and be willing to have the same courage to take risks. Effective leadership is not limited to one or two skills; it takes multifaceted faceted sets of individuals to work collaboratively to successfully leader s successful business.
What is Executive coaching?
Based on the article “What is Coaching“ I can conclude that coaching is the method of leaders to motivate, inspire and challenge employees in the hopes they “increase the probability of success”. Coaching can be delivered to employees in the way of daily, weekly, bi-monthly, quarterly, annual, performance assessments that include motivation, feedback and challenging performance from leaders to their subordinates. Effective coaching should also enable leader to delivering a clear approach or direction to employees.
Executive coaching is generally an external source coming into an organization and over ways to deliver coaching that is efficient and effect to leaders workforce. Many times managers may have most of the competencies needed to be a successful leader however, they may lack in coaching competencies that are crucial to delivering coaching to their subordinates. Executive focuses on developing coaching skills within an organization so managers and leaders can offer effective coaching. Executive coaching can be delivered by an internal source or an outside consultant may be hired to assist with the process. Effective listening, feedback and constructive criticism are some of the items that should be reviewed during executive coaching.
Coaching is designed to motivate individuals, challenging them within their positions, and offering feedback on ways to improve processes. “The skill of coaching, as coaching is taught and practiced today, has the potential to revolutionize the Human Resources relationship with organization managers and executives (Heathfield)”. Many managers lack the skills to coach effectively therefore the utilization of coaches are necessary in order to further develop skills and knowledge the force force possess currently.
When to use internal versus external coaches varies and should be determined based on “the importance of high confidentiality, internal integration with other organizational programs, and cost constraints of the organization (siop.org)”. Larger organizations tend to lean more toward external coaching as it has proven to be more effective although costlier in comparison to utilizing an internal coach. Overall, Hiring an outside coach is predominately based on cost effectiveness as well ass the skills and knowledge of current HR Management and wether or not that can offer clear directive, training, and coaching to managers within the organization.
Both of these are necessary as organizational leaders and managers must be able to effectively assess their subordinates work as well as monitor their work in connection to their duties/role and the employees own desired organizational goals and plans. Manager must be involved in organizational training campaigns and offer effective coaching to their subordinate employees as well.
An example of why leadership training is important can be due to the ever changing labor laws Managers, supervisors and leaders must be made aware of these changes or amendments and in many cases training is necessary so that everyone is compliant. Training on these can mitigate the possibility of a lawsuit or incident or injury within the workplace.
Part of training and coaching our organization’s management staff is our Need to develop new leaders within our organization. It is important to canvass Netflix’s own workforce to seek out future leaders. Investing in leadership from within can reduce Netflix’s employee turn over and retention and increase productivity.
In order to have leadership on board with this initiative the CEO as well as organizational stakeholders must shown the benefits of each and the possible outcome if we do not invest in training and coaching for leaders and managers such as much more costlier issues like injuries, lawsuits, and high turnover.  The talent management overview that was presented in Chapter 5 of the King (2015) offers insight in the tactical spectrum in which organizations can work towards achieving obtain their desired success. Currently Netflix has a newly incorporated strategic plan of tactical practices. Because of this tactical plan ok place Netflix has a clear set path with clearly defined objects in which goals are within reach.
Human Resources at Netflix must sis in designing and implementing the tactical plan for employee to follow, along with the tools and necessary resources to achieve the targeted goals. HR Management at Netflix will use the internal and external environment scans to provide a snapshot Netflix compared and in contrast to similar organizations. By using the environmental scanning Netflix will provided with clearer sense of where the company fits in comparison to others. Overall the goal is to find problem areas, mitigations for said problem area and to develop an effective plan for the future of the organization.
Technology and Strategic Planning at Netflix
We are fortunate enough to be living in the digital age in which the benefits and ever advancing technology can literally fit in the palm of one’s hand. How can organizations benefit from the advancements in technology? Well one way is via eLearning instruction for employee training and development. We know the benefits of implementing an LMS system for training but how effective is the training for learners? Is it worth the investment?
According to Justin Ferriman’s article 7 awesome advantages of eLearning there are many advantages when implementing eLearning. One advantage Ferriman discusses is eLearning can enable HR professionals and management the ability to share or communicate policy changes, training available and reminders. Capacity and consistency is the advantage that allows HR professionals to target learners and offer specific training based on their roles and do so consistently. High learning retention is also a benefit as course work and modules can be refreshed and updated as needed.
Through the LMS system tracking employee progress and even analysis on what methods work or don’t work can be easily achieved as well. Other benefits of eLearning include reduction of carbon footprint, costs effective for must organization and flexibility. Flexibility is a feature I particularly enjoy reading more about as eLearning can be completed at the user’s pace, can be modified to fit the needs of the organization and can be conducted anywhere.
In order to remain successful at delivering effective training and development HR managers must be able to convey the benefits of eLearning and LMS to employees of all levels in the organization. According to P. Meyer’s article Fostering Change (2015) “Making smart technology selections can help HR not only accept change, but also embrace it”. In order to avoid the barrier this may pose on the organization effective communication must take place form the very beginning. HR professionals especially those who may like experience with certain technologies should undergo training on the utilization of eLearning or LMS as they must be aware of what they are implementing on their work force; so they too can effectively aid in the continued training process of their employees.
CSR at Netflix
Netflix Corporate Social Responsibility current aims at an aim to cut out excessive shipping and logistics when offering online streaming services to members. The Organization also requires employees to follow an ethical code while promoting a calm and inclusive employee environment that fosters creativity. As an HRM at Netflix I would promote CSR initiatives as a written policy and train employees on its importance. In addition, lining organizational with conduct and policy can ensure polices like CSR is followed.
SWOT & TOWS Analysis for NETFLIX
SWOT matrix
Strengths (S)
Well-defined strategic goals; organizational direction.
HR involvement in strategic planning
Gender diversity in the workforce/staff
Weaknesses (W)
Lack of key employee involvement in strategic planning process
Lack of minorities in the workforce.
Finding skilled candidate to preform specialized work (engineers)
Opportunities (O)
Focus on competencies and skill necessary to better staff workforce
Diverse personnel allow for diverse ways of thinking various views within the workforce.
Involvement of key employees during strategic planning process.
Threats (T)
Lack of complete employee involvement
Threat of competitors offering higher pay and more desirable benefits
Lack of adequate funding to cover current and future benefits programs
TOWS Matrix
Internal Factors
External Factors Strengths (S)
Well-defined strategic goals; organizational direction.
HR involvement in strategic planning
Gender diversity in the workforce/staff
Weaknesses (W)
Lack of key employee involvement in strategic planning process
Lack of minorities in the workforce.
Finding skilled candidate to preform specialized work (engineers)
Opportunities (O)
Focus on competencies and skill necessary to better staff workforce
Diverse personnel allow for diverse ways of thinking various views within the workforce.
Involvement of key employees during strategic planning process.
SO Strategies
Seek help from outside consultant to help Netflix better align Strategic goals to our organizations core competencies.
Foster a company culture that welcomes
WO Strategies
Implement Total Employee involvement within the organization.
Partner with HBCU/ minority represented colleges and universities to seek skilled candidates for work
Partner with Universities with Strong engineering programs.
Lack of complete employee involvement
Threat of competitors offering higher pay and more desirable benefits
Lack of adequate funding to cover current and future benefits program. ST Strategies
Require total employee involvement for strategic planning.
Review the market for desirable benefits and wages.
Utilize employee climate Surveys to gather employees’ feelings/opinion on work, benefits, and pay.
WT Strategies
Utilize competitors’ salary and benefits as benchmark in determining Netflix’s employees package.
Work on maintaining annual budget for employee benefits packages.
Buixadera, J. (2015). Strategic Planning: SWOT & TOWS Analysis [Video file]. (6:41) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ML5siZDI5LE
Darwish, T. K. (2013). Strategic HRM and Performance: Theory and Practice (1). Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UNITED KINGDOM: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Retrieved from ebrary eBooks in the Touro library
Collins M. Recruiting for Diversity–Best Practices for Building Relationships with HBCUs. Journal of Career Planning & Employment. Retrieved from EBSCO in the Touro library
Chand, S. (n.d.). Human Resource Planning: Objectives, Need, Importance and Levels.  Retrieved from http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/human-resources/human-resource-planning-objectives-need-importance-and-levels/35237/
About Netflix
The Advantages of SWOT Analysis in a Strategic Plan
Neil Kokemuller – http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-swot-analysis-strategic-plan-25672.html
Learning, Training & Development. Getting Your Organization Ready for Employee Training & Development. Retrieved from http://www.hrcouncil.ca/hr-toolkit/learning-ready.cfm
Siop.org. (2018). When to Use Internal Versus External Coaches. [online] Available at: http://www.siop.org/workplace/coaching/internal_versus_exte.aspx [Accessed 24 Jun. 2018]
King, D. E. (2015). The Scorecard Solution : Measure What Matters and Drive Sustainable Growth (1). Saranac Lake, US: AMACOM (Read Chapter 5: The Right Leaders and Experts). Retrieved from ebrary eBooks in the Touro library
7 Awesome Advantages of ELearning
Justin Ferriman – https://www.learndash.com/7-awesome-advantages-of-elearning/
Meyer, P. (2015). Fostering Change. HR Magazine, 60(6), 60-61. Retrieved from EBSCO multi-search database in the Touro library.
Corporate Social Responsibility and Human Resource Management Checklist. Retrieved from https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/csr-rse.nsf/eng/h_rs00563.html
Johnson, A. What is Coaching. Retrieved from http://hrweb.mit.edu/learning-development/learning-topics/leading/articles/what-is-coaching
Nandi, P. R. (2014). Coaching for peak performance. Human Capital, 30-33. Retrieved from EBSCO multi-search database.
Jon Nodine (2014, December 1). Coaching VS Training. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKZ1sdP0c3o (3:05)
Heathfield, S. (2016). What’s the New Coaching Role for HR Staff? Retrieved from:
What is I-O?
TED Talks: Rosalind Torres – What it takes to be a Great Leader (2013). [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/roselinde_torres_what_it_takes_to_be_a_great_leader

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