Three, two, one… chill.
No matter what you sell, make, or do, people make up your client base, company, and competition. But people are unpredictable, and in the workplace it falls to the HR department to handle this constant unpredictability.
HR departments spend an enormous amount of time, effort and money mapping out sick days, personal leave, time clocked in and out, and personal calls. And we’ve all heard the rumours about timed bathroom breaks.
This is where Netflix has changed the game. The company looked at the violations of the HR policy, people wanting more time off, getting to work late, leaving early, the stress and anxiety around performance reviews, and stale relationships between teams and their managers, and turned it all on its head.
The entire Netflix HR policy centres on asking people to rely on logic and common sense. Netflix only hires people who understand that high performance is expected. Employees get to create their own schedule as long as the work is completed. This focus has, in turn, made Netflix employees happier at work, and less likely to take advantage of their freedom they’ve been given.
Netflix has axed annual performance reviews, instead implementing an organic review process whereby people speak openly and consistently about what they could stop doing, keep doing, or start doing. Employees have unlimited leave and managers are held directly responsible for creating teams that will perform at the highest level.
An extensive procedure around company expenses was eliminated in favour of five words: act in Netflix’s best interest.
And (so far) it seems to be working.
Allowing people to create a workplace that works for them automatically gives more insight into their behaviour and eliminates unpredictability. Rather than enforcing blanket policy and dealing with the repercussions when the policy isn’t followed, perhaps we should allow more freedom for employees to create working norms they don’t feel the need to violate.
Excuse me while I change our company code of conduct to “Just don’t act like an idiot.”