We’ve all heard of a little company called Netflix, right? But are you familiar with their approach to finding and keeping talent? It starts with personal responsibility. Over the years, they have learned that if they ask people to rely on logic and common sense instead of formal policies, most of the time they get better results, and at a lower cost.
They believe that if you are careful to hire people who will put the company’s interests first and who understand and support the desire for a high-performance workplace, 97% of employees will do the right thing. Most companies spend endless time and money writing and enforcing HR policies to deal with problems that the other 3% might cause. Instead, Netflix tries really hard to not hire those people, and they let them go if it turns out they did make a hiring mistake. So, lesson learned? Hire the right people first.
How Does Netflix Define Adult Behavior?
Netflix believes that adult-like behavior means talking openly about issues with your boss, your colleagues, and your subordinates. It means giving people the power to make responsible decisions rather than governing with policies. For example, instead of having a strict vacation policy, Netflix simply asks employees to take whatever time they feel is appropriate. Bosses and employees work it out together; if someone works in accounting or finance, they shouldn’t plan to be out during the beginning or the end of a quarter, because those are busy times.
Another example of personal responsibility is highlighted in Netflix’s expense policy which is five words long: “Act in Netflix’s best interests.” In talking that through with employees, Netflix says they expect employees to spend company money frugally, as if it were their own.
So, how do you weed out those who shun personal responsibility and refuse to grow up? Behavior-based questions can help to avoid making a bad hire in the first place. For example, a person who craves structure and direction would likely not do well at a company like Netflix.
Treating employees like adults? Innovative HR concept? Not really. It’s just a concept that relies on people to do the right thing. It’s also one that will help you to build high performance teams in the workplace.