Oh, Baby! Netflix's big news and Maven's take

-By Jessica Vann, Founder & CEO

What a fun, unexpected twist to the day yesterday!  Fox KTVU called us for a statement about Netflix’s provocative announcement to offer unlimited paid time off for new parents within the first year after a child’s birth or adoption.

When Maven Recruiting was asked to provide our thoughts on the matter (click here for video), it got us thinking. What does this mean for companies trying to remain competitive? And what does top talent want in a progressively more competitive and global marketplace?

On one hand, Netflix’s bold move isn’t all that surprising. They’ve always set the bar for progressive employee programs and practices, whether around their compensation philosophies, reward programs, unlimited vacation time, and more. Talk to any European or Canadian, and they’ll tell you how appalling they think the U.S.’s leave policies are (and California, as a state, has better than most)!  Maybe this is Netflix’s attempt to be more competitive in a progressively more global marketplace and to meet the expectations of the global talent pool.

On the other hand, this news does bring to mind issues of parity among staff and the impact to Netflix’s internal teams. What if you’re a Netflix employee who doesn’t have (or plan to have) children? Call it the Carrie Bradshaw syndrome for those Sex in the City fans out there, but doesn’t that bite just a little bit? You get to watch your co-workers kick back for a year of paid leave while you continue to hold down the fort?

In general, we’ve seen companies (particularly those in the tech/start-up world) moving to become what we call “lifestyle employers.” From offering gym memberships to transportation stipends to meals to boot camps in the office to subsidized fertility treatments and childcare, the term “total package” seems to encapsulate an ever-expanding list of perks.  And the pressure to continue to up the ante seems to be ever-present on the minds of employers in this marketplace.

Is Netflix about to start a trend? I wouldn’t expect to see everyone jumping on this bandwagon, but among Netflix’s top competitors, i.e. Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, I imagine they’ll be doing some serious reflection in the near term.