How Netflix’s previous Chief Talent Officer, Patty McCord redesigned Workplace Culture

Words by Serena McSweeney

Patty McCord is a hardworking and dedicated leader who demonstrates the beauty and power of innovation

Netflix is one of the most influential streaming services around the world. In just ten years, their revenue grew from us$1.35 billion to us$158 billion and they currently have close to 193 million paying subscribers worldwide. Netflix very successfully revolutionised the simple act of watching television, so it is no wonder many businesses and professionals turn to them to for inspiration, benchmarking and advice for their own businesses.

Patty McCord is a human resource consultant who, between the years of 1998 to 2012, was the netflix chief talent officer. In 2014, mccord put pen to paper to talk about her time at netflix and the unorthodox, and for some very surprising, ways she pioneered talent management strategies there. In her

article, ‘how netflix reinvented hr’, mccord describes the unconventional but guiding principles that led to her operating a dynamic, futurist, rewarding, and above all, successful team. Some examples of these principles include giving workers permission to manage their own vacation time and take what they feel is appropriate; eliminating ‘annual reviews’ and instead implementing organic, informal and frequent truth-telling as part of everyday role responsibilities; trusting employees with managing their travel and expense policies to get rid of the ‘middle man’; granting employees the choice to choose how much (if any) equity compensation they receive and; not offering performance pay bonuses. To read more about these principles, and the theories behind them, click here.

In a world that now operates 24/7 due to globalisation, the lines between work and life have become increasingly blurred and what employees want now is very different from what they wanted previously. As a result, traditional organisational structures can become increasingly outdated. McCord’s unorthodox strategies brought autonomy, responsibility and trust to their employees, characteristics that can unfortunately be hard to find within businesses, and this attunement to the need for change is something we can all learn from.

Something all women, and companies, should take from mccord’s work is that with high risk comes high reward. It is important to use common sense as the foundation to policies or programs or structures, and that venturing away from the status quo doesn’t mean you will fail. McCord highlights in her piece that it is not always easy work.

For example, implementing her ideas meant firing people who have been at the company for years but are no longer an asset to the business, monitoring people to ensure they are managing themselves responsibly and having honest conversations with people who may not be performing at the required level. But in order to do her role in the best interests of the organisation, she needed to make these high-risk changes.

McCord is a hardworking and dedicated leader who demonstrates the beauty and power of innovation. She exemplifies how greater representation in the workforce allows for fresh ideas that can be catalysts for success. Women should be inspired by the work of mccord and always remember that with high risk comes high reward, and to never be afraid of creating your own unorthodox path.

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