Netflix’s keeper test

I thought this was fascinating:

We focus on managers’ judgment through the “keeper test” for each of their people: if one of the members of the team was thinking of leaving for another firm, would the manager try hard to keep them from leaving?

Those who do not pass the keeper test (i.e. their manager would not fight to keep them) are promptly and respectfully given a generous severance package so we can find someone for that position that makes us an even better dream team.

Netflix Culture doc

I’ve worked with my share of “meh” people (both as their manager and as their coworker). You know the type. These are the okay performers; not solid enough to fight for them, but not bad enough to fire them. Netflix makes “being meh” a fireable offense, and I like the sound of that.

Of course, that only works because they’re Netflix. 99% of companies have too much trouble attracting top talent. They’d fire 75% of their people with no hope of replacing them…right?

Well, I’m not sure. It’s a self-reinforcing loop. Netflix fires anyone who isn’t top notch, and the idea of working with top notch people attracts other top notch people, which allows Netflix to keep firing anyone who isn’t top notch.

It’d be fun to see what would happen if non-FAANG companies adopted this keeper test. Maybe the self-reinforcing loop would eventually kick in, after an initial rough patch?

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