Chillin at Netflix in Salt Lake City

This article was published in the Tech Summit 2020 issue

by Jim Brum, Technical Operations Manager, Netflix Customer Service

“What are you watching?” is one of the most common questions heard in the hallways at Netflix’s Salt Lake City office. Responses to that question — The Irishman or The Witcher or Nailed It — are as diverse as the people answering it. It reflects the passion of the people working at the world’s leading streaming entertainment service. With over 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries, Netflix has been leading the way in digital content since 1997.

I’ve been at Netflix for more than 6 years and that passion for programming hasn’t changed much over the years. What has changed is the industry. With more companies getting into the streaming business, Netflix is constantly working to stay ahead of the competition by investing in new technologies and in the people they hire in offices around the world — including Salt Lake City.

“Live, work, play, all in one place,” is what brought Workforce Services Coordinator Arielle Shaffer to Netflix’s Salt Lake City office. “I learn something new every day, everyone is so willing to jump in and help,” she said.

Netflix arrived in Salt Lake City back in 2014 to take advantage of the booming tech industry.

“At the time, the team vetted multiple cities,” remembers Kris Embury, Vice President of Customer Service, “and selected Salt Lake City based on the density of talent, availability of technical skill set, and proximity to our Los Gatos headquarters.” Like other Silicon Valley companies who’ve made their way to Silicon Slopes, Netflix saw the area as an ideal place to experiment with running an in-house call center.

“The idea was that we could deliver the same or better quality at a lower cost by operating a Netflix owned/operated/branded site,” says Embury.

The following year, Netflix’s technical support research teams moved from Santa Clara to Salt Lake City. These teams provide technical support to help troubleshoot customer issues. Everything from streaming and hardware to app and service issues, the team constantly gathers data, analyzes it, and partners with over 50 different engineering teams in our Los Gatos office to get bugs fixed quickly so Netflix customers can get back to watching their favorite movies and programs.

Today, thanks to all of the local technical talent, Netflix’s Salt Lake City office is shifting focus away from a call center to a corporate office with teams who provide support for Netflix film and TV productions as well as consumer claims, customer data inquiries, and regulatory compliance.

“We believe that our growing focus on supporting higher level work will allow us to recruit and retain the talent needed to be successful,” says Embury.

And like most tech companies, the office comes with perks like well stocked micro kitchens, free meals, and previews of the latest product offerings — which in Netflix’s case, is access to Netflix original programming before the general public. There’s even a Stranger Things couch for people to work from. But unlike other tech companies, employees overwhelmingly cite Netflix’s unique culture as what sets it apart from the rest.

“I’ve never experienced a work culture like the one at Netflix,” says Taylor Wojick, Workforce Management Analyst. “It was like a breath of fresh air to see how everyone’s voice counts.”

Michael Fenstermaker, Technical Research Analyst, summed it up best when he said, “Netflix creates a place where you want to come to do the best work of your life.”

Whether it’s the culture, the people, or the beautiful scenery, we love working at Netflix because of the passion we all share for the product. So the next time you’re settling in to binge watch your favorite show, remember the people chillin in Netflix’s Salt Lake City office that helped put that on your screen. Enjoy!

Read the rest of the articles in the Tech Summit 2020 issue of Silicon Slopes Magazine

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