Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, has a new book out, whose main gist is about corporate culture, namely, the one at the company he heads.
Hastings is known as an organizational genius as much as he is a product guy. Which is why Netflix is known for having a very strong, cut-throat culture.
“Strikingly, having the best people involves a regular ‘keeper test.’ If a manager won’t fight to keep an employee as an indispensable star, the solution is a generous severance package. In place of annual reviews — salaries are adjusted based on the market, not individual performance — a system of continuous written and live, 360-degree feedback serves a remarkable degree of organizational transparency. The result is a workforce with high ‘talent density’ who can be trusted to use their own judgment.”
The thing to remember is, a single culture won’t be for everybody, no matter how good the company is, no matter how much you’re paying them. The ‘keeper’s test”, say, might be a bit much for your average employee, but Hastings doesn’t want average employees. He wants a certain type of high-performing, semi-autonomous person who can handle a lot of heat.
But at least he’s upfront about it. At last, he openly says to potential employees, “This is who we are, this is how we operate, we may not be for you”.
At least there’s no mystery as to what the culture actually is.
So at least there are no real surprises.
Which makes the culture even more powerful.