How Netflix CEO Reed Hastings built a workforce of ‘stunning colleagues’ — even if it means letting go of merely competent talent

FILE PHOTO: Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix attends the inauguration of Netflix new offices in Paris, France, January 17, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

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Netflix is one of the world’s biggest names in media and entertainment. In his new book released Tuesday, “No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention,” CEO Reed Hastings attributes the company’s success largely to its talented workforce. 

“A fast and innovative workplace is made up of what we call ‘stunning colleagues’ – highly talented people, of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, who are exceptionally creative, accomplish significant amounts of important work, and collaborate effectively,” Hastings wrote.

To Hastings, leaders don’t run a family, they run sports teams, and he has a record of bringing and developing all-stars at Netflix. The roster includes stand-out leaders like Chief Marketing Officer Jackie Lee Joe, who piloted successful campaigns for movies like “The Irishman” and “6 Underground” and recently inked a wide-ranging partnership with Samsung, and Vice President of Film Scott Stuber, whose strategy to win over Hollywood has been credited for 24 Oscar nominations.

Today, Netflix is known for its talented workforce of over 7,000 employees, and for being a place where talented people actually enjoy working. A 2018 survey announced Netflix as the company tech workers wanted to work for most, and a survey released in January by anonymous professional network Blind found survey respondents from Netflix to be the happiest employees in the US. 

Here’s how Hastings and his team hired and recruited Netflix’s famously dynamic workforces of stunning colleagues.

Talent attracts talent 

Hastings’ recruitment philosophy is pretty straightforward: first make sure that the people you already have are at the top of their craft, and the talent will follow. 

“A company with really dense talent is a company everyone wants to work for,” Hastings wrote.

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These are the “A-players” that drive the most value for an organizations and ultra-competitive fields like Silicon Valley are obsessed with.  

While companies like Google offer its employees benefits like an on-site gym, free food, and a generous retirement plan, Hastings believes that side perks aren’t necessarily the things that spur on great work – instead, it’s all about the culture created by coworkers, derived from the coworkers themselves.

This is backed up in research: In one study from the University of New South Wales, participants were asked to complete a management task in groups – but some groups included actors who were asked to deliberately act disengaged. The teams that had these actors did about 30 to 40 percent worse on the task than teams that didn’t, suggesting a link between underperforming colleagues and underperformance on a group scale.

In other words, when otherwise solid employees are surrounded by uninspiring colleagues, the performance of the whole team is likely to slip. 

“For top performers, a great workplace isn’t about a lavish office, a beautiful gym, or a free sushi lunch,” Hastings wrote. “It’s about the joy of being surrounded by people who are both talented and collaborative. People who can help you be better. When every member is excellent, performance spirals upward as employees learn from and motivate one another.”

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Source:: Business Insider


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