Reinventing HR from the ‘Netflix Culture Deck’

June 26, 20158:37 am3627 views

With the changing times and new recruitment age, many organisations need to set up a culture of innovation at workplace. This would require reinventing HR from the scratch. Starting out with little to no expectations, considering the ever changing business dynamics and company demands for best talent, HR professionals should be able to strategically analyse, reinvent recruitment methodologies and think innovatively.

Drawing inspiration from the success of Netflix Culture Deck, every professional has a learning to imbibe, and implement the strategies to accommodate and blend it carefully with different industries and organisational framework.

The problem with most organisations towards reinventing HR is they would not like to think out of box and innovate. According to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, “Why aren’t companies more innovative when it comes to talent management? As a society, we’ve had hundreds of years to work on managing industrial firms, so a lot of accepted HR practices are centred in that experience. We’re just beginning to learn how to run creative firms, which is quite different.”

Patty McCord from Harvard Business Review as carefully puts across, “People find the Netflix approach to talent and culture compelling for a few reasons. The most obvious one is that Netflix has been really successful: During 2013 alone its stock more than tripled, it won three Emmy awards, and its U.S. subscriber base grew to nearly 29 million. All that aside, the approach is compelling because it derives from common sense.”

“Two overarching” principles clearly define Netflix’s unique talent management philosophy. They are:

  1. The best thing you can do for employees—a perk better than foosball or free sushi—is hire only “A” players to work alongside them. Excellent colleagues trump everything else.
  2. If we wanted only “A” players on our team, we had to be willing to let go of people whose skills no longer fit, no matter how valuable their contributions had once been.

See: 10 Major Trends in 2015 Every HR Professional Should Know

Some key takeaways to learn for HR managers – on how Netflix managed to attract, recruit, retain and manage talent within the organisation:

  • 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 percent of your employees will do the right thing.
  • Adult like behaviour means talking openly about issues with your boss, your colleagues, and your subordinates.
  • Eliminating a formal policy and forgoing expense account police by shifting responsibility to frontline managers, where it belongs. It also reduced costs and save money by letting employees book their own trips online.
  • Building a bureaucracy and elaborate rituals around measuring performance usually doesn’t improve it. Traditional corporate performance reviews are driven largely by fear of litigation.
  • At many companies, low performers are placed on “Performance Improvement Plans” which is fundamentally dishonest. If you stop doing formal performance reviews, then you can institute informal 360-degree reviews.
  • Talk simply and honestly about performance on a regular basis to employees, you can get good results—probably better ones than a company that grades everyone on a five-point scale.
  • If you’re in a fast-changing business environment, you’re probably looking at a lot of mismatches. In that case, you need to have honest conversations about letting some team members find a place where their skills are a better fit. You also need to recruit people with the right skills.
  • Managers are held responsible for creating great teams. Do not measure the managers’ performance on whether they were excellent coaches or mentors or got their paperwork done on time. Great teams accomplish great work, and recruiting the right team was the top priority.
  • It’s a waste of time to articulate ideas about values and culture if you don’t model and reward behaviour that aligns with those goals.
  • HR managers should make sure employees understand the levers that drive the business and it’s true that they may not be financially savvy or business savvy, but you need to teach them how the business works. You need to clearly communicate how the company makes money and what behaviours will drive its success.

Instead of cheer leading, HR managers should think like business people and focus initiatives to answer these questions: What’s good for the company? How do we communicate that to employees? How can we help every worker understand what we mean by high performance?

If you as a HR manager have been mimicking other companies’ best practices (many of them antiquated), which is how almost everyone seems to approach HR. Then it’s time to influence change and challenge the traditional pathways. Go unconventional to carefully blend best HR practices with organisational workings and build an innovative HR team for creative workspaces.

Also read: The New Face of Human Resources

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