Spencer Fane LLP Logo

The Netflix Approach to HR – Could It Work for Your Company?

Here is a little food for thought for the week. As I’m sure many of you have read, Netflix has received much praise (and some criticism alike) for its approach to company culture, talent management, and HR issues. In 2009, it released what is considered a legendary presentation that rejects many traditional approaches to managing people. You can find the PowerPoint deck here and a related article here. In short, Netflix does not have a vacation policy or conduct formal performance reviews. Even if they’re hard working, Netflix does not retain adequate performers.

Last month, Netflix announced that it would offer up to a year of full paid leave for new moms and dads, to avoid “the headache of switching to state or disability pay,” according to Netflix’s chief talent officer. As part of this announcement, Netflix stated that their experience shows that “people perform better at work when they’re not worrying about home.”

Netflix appears to be trying to generate headlines and differentiate itself from other companies that are also well-known for their employee-friendly cultures, like Google and Facebook. Silicon Valley is notorious for having a highly competitive culture where the very best employees are in high demand. As a result, Netflix seems to do everything it can to keep the best and brightest on their team.

Netflix is highly successful and their approach clearly works for them. Could it work for you? At a minimum, the five tenets of Netflix’s approach to talent should be considered by all companies:

  • Hire, Reward, and Tolerate Only Fully Formed Adults
  • Tell the Truth About Performance
  • Managers Own the Job of Creating Great Teams
  • Leaders Own the Job of Creating the Company Culture
  • Good Talent Managers Think Like Businesspeople and Innovators First, and Like HR People Last

Depending on your workforce, it may be worth a hard look at your policies to see if they’re working, or whether your company even needs them. That may seem like a crazy concept to consider, but who knows, it could pay off hugely in the long run.

This blog post was written by Megan Meadows. She is an associate in Spencer Fane’s St. Louis, MO office.