Over at Netflix, the thriving and forward-thinking media conglomerate, a woman called Patty McCord has created a slideshow of company values that’s taken everyone by storm.
It was labelled by some as “the most important document ever to come out of [Silicon] Valley”, and details the methodology behind a workplace culture that “seeks excellence”.
Some of the rules seem extreme – letting go anyone who is anything less than an A* performer, for example. Yet it allows them to have the kind of company where all employees have unlimited holiday and profits are booming.
The document itself is hefty, totalling 124 slides (click here to view it in full). Alternatively, read on for the highlights and see what you can take on board.
Doing it the Netflix way (the abridged version)
1. “The Keeper Test”
If you’re a manager, imagine your whole team or workforce tells you they’re leaving for a competitor and ask yourself: which of my employees would I fight to keep?
2. Someone who works hard is not good enough
An employee who tries very hard but produces sub-standard work is not as valuable to your company as someone who puts in less effort but produces quality, outstanding work, says Netflix.
They recommend offering a generous severance package to any employees who fall into the first category.'Offer a generous severance package to anyone who tries hard but produces sub-standard work.' Click To Tweet
3. Make your company values truthful
Many companies have a set of values they talk about internally: “nice-sounding” values, Netflix says, but they do not reflect what is actually valued.
What would get an employee promoted in your business? Similarly, what would make you want to let an employee go? This defines what your real values are.
4. Ditch the useless workplace perks
There are plenty of companies boasting kooky workplace benefits: free food, office massages, trained in-house baristas… These do not make a good workplace. Great employees make a good workplace.
Only offer a ‘perk’ if it’s efficient at “attracting and retaining stunning colleagues”.
5. Leaders need to be utterly honest
“As a leader, no one in your group should be materially surprised of your views.” Don’t tip-toe around colleagues – after all, as Netflix further outlines, you are a team and not a family.
6. Juniors also need to be candid
This approach to honest needs to go both ways. Netflix recommends that works regularly ask their manager, “If I told you I were leaving, how hard would you work to change my mind?”Ask your manager: 'If I told you I were leaving, how hard would you work to change my mind?' Click To Tweet
7. Everyone helps everyone to be great
Hire exceptional talent, and encourage hiring more exceptional talent.
In this way, an internal “cutthroat” or “sink or swim” mentality is never tolerated, as with more talent the company can accomplish more.
8. How do you tolerate the “brilliant jerk”?
Some companies tolerate, some avoid. At Netflix, diverse styles of teamwork are accepted – so long as the employee embodies their 9 company values.
This is one more reason why your company values need to be as truthful as possible; they are your foundation and your ammunition.
9. Cut the responsibility bureaucracy
Conscientious people who govern themselves are desirable high performers.
Yet, they are rare and thrive on freedom, not endless rules.
Look to hire only those who don’t wait to be told what to do. You can cut the volume of middle management needed, while avoiding the bureaucratic chaos that comes with a large workforce and stifles the high performers.Hire like Netflix: search for the 'rare responsible person' who is self-motivating. Click To Tweet
10. Stop the rule creep
People like to prevent errors, and so like to set rules. However this “rule creep” slows everyone down.
Get rid of all rules where possible – if you’ve hired self-disciplined, high performers, any mistakes made will get fixed quickly and work should flourish.