HubSpot and Netflix Offer Insights on Building Productive Organizational Cultures
We find useful information about talent management and corporate culture in all sorts of places. Just this week our marketing guy got an e-mail from a marketing company he follows called HubSpot. It surprised him with this headline:
“Advice on Corporate Culture From Netflix’s Former Chief Talent Officer”
The answer is simple, and informative: HubSpot takes its culture very seriously, and feels that all their clients (small companies for the most part) could benefit from the productivity gained by building their own consistent, transparent organizational culture.
Sharing their philosophy freely benefits HubSpot, because if their clients do well, so do they! (Reminds us of our own Communication that Counts philosophy.)
How valuable were their insights?
- One was a famous Netflix description of its desired corporate culture.
- The second a HubSpot version on the same topic.
Both had nuggets we could use in our own work, but the underlying message here was not “adopt our cultural approach.” Instead, it is “can you describe your desired corporate culture with such clarity?” Here are the benefits of that clarity and focus:
- Better hiring of people: They fit their jobs and your organization better so they hit the ground running faster and find it easier to generate passion about their work.
- Faster onboarding: New people need less adaptation to fit into their part of your environment, and require less intensive management oversight.
- Better retention: Employees engage with your organization’s mission and its people more quickly and find satisfaction in your approach to recognition and reward.
- Easier offboarding: If you know what you need in a position, spotting the poor fit is less complicated (we don’t mean uncomplicated, just less complicated!) Perhaps we should call this one “re-boarding”, because a misfit can be fixed by moving the person to a better-fitting role, or giving them the right training. Plus, people who understand what is expected of them will self-offboard if they decide they do not wish to work within your culture.
As is always the case, we found some aspects of their cultural philosophy a bit off the mark. One quote we really didn’t like from the one-time Netflix Chief Talent Officer Patty McCord:
“You either have power or you don’t. If you wait around for someone to give you permission, you’re going to get passed over.”
We like a bias towards action, but this is too tough: Huge amounts of untapped potential get “passed over” every day in corporate America because the loudmouths (louder voices?) dominate the decision-making process. Empowerment is a constantly recurring theme in successful organizations because the concept recognizes the need to get the quiet people to speak, and the louder people to listen.
HubSpot, as an example, does a better job of addressing this need to encourage the silent majority by emphasizing the need to hire “humble people.” Not shy, just humble. As they state in the above presentation:
- Humble (is) modest despite being awesome – Self-aware and respectful
- “Wait. Doesn’t humble mean lacking confidence?”
- No. The very best people are self-aware and self-critical – not arrogant.
Better clarity about your culture leads to better hires, fuller employee engagement and greater retention of talent. All of that naturally leads to higher productivity. Hence HubSpot’s and Netflix intensive focus on the topic!
What about your company? How clearly can you describe its culture? What about it encourages higher productivity from employees? What about it inhibits higher productivity?