what we're reading now
follow us on facebook
follow us on twitter
subscribe to our blog
find it

What We're Reading Now

Netflix and HR

2 January 2018

Janie read How Netflix Reinvented HR by Patty McCord, and enjoyed learning about the HR practices of one of her favorite sources of television.

Tags: human resources, janie read

I am currently working on getting my SHRM-CP certification, so any article with “HR” in the title is likely to grab my attention these days. I was doubly interested when I saw How Netflix Reinvented HR by Patty McCord, because Netflix has been my primary television provider since I cut the cable cord many years ago. In the article, McCord describes some of the things that Netflix does very differently than most organizations. For example, they do not believe in formal performance reviews, they don’t have a paid time off policy, and they have the shortest expense policy I’ve ever encountered. (Their formal expense policy is only five words long, “Act in Netflix’s best interest.”) While I don’t agree with all their methods, (in fact, I strongly disagree with their policy about not conducting formal performance reviews) I did really enjoy reading the article.

The key theme for HR within Netflix seems to be hire good people and treat them like adults. McCord says, “If you’re careful to hire people who will put the company’s interests first, who understand and support the desire for a high-performance workplace, 97% of your employees will do the right thing. Most companies spend endless time and money writing and enforcing HR policies to deal with problems the other 3% might cause. Instead, we tried really hard to not hire those people, and we let them go if it turned out we’d made a hiring mistake.”

Netflix expects their employees to openly talk about issues with their bosses, colleagues, and direct reports. Not having formal HR policies doesn’t mean that issues are ignored, but it does mean that things are worked out between managers and their reports on a case-by-case basis, rather than by formal policies that might not apply to the specific situation at hand. I thought this was really interesting, and it reminded me a bit of our approach to some situations at Allison Partners. While McCord makes all this sound great and easy, I think it’s not as easy in practice as it sounds. For example, it’s not always possible to anticipate a bad hire. I also think that there are plenty of situations where employees don’t want to talk to their supervisors or peers, and having policies in place can be a way to ensure things are clear and issues are handled in a fair, consistent way. As I learn more about HR policies and procedures, I love learning about how different organizations handle things. If you also enjoy learning about HR within other organizations, I would highly recommend this article.  


Our Comment Policy:

Our blog posts are only half of the conversation. What our readers have to say is equally important to us, and we're grateful for all the comments that continue the dialog.

To ensure that the discussion here is as useful as possible to all of our readers, please be respectful of our contributors and refrain from harassing, threatening and/or vulgar language. We reserve the right to screen and remove any comments from the site. If you have a question about a comment or want to discuss our policy, please contact us. We'll talk it over.

There are no comments for this entry yet.


Leave a comment



Notify me of follow-up comments?

Enter the characters you see below:

« Return to What We're Reading Now