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Netflix PTO policy

I love watching movies.  Thus, I had been a member at Blockbuster for years and was a member of for a long time.  As Blockbuster continued to fold, I came to the light and joined Netflix.  What a decision, streaming movies instantly through my Wii, on my computer, or even on my iPhone is so cool, and then I get movies through the mail as well.  Netflix continues to dominate the industry with its creative and innovative approach to movies. 

A colleague of mine sent me an article about Netflix’s PTO policy.  Basically Netflix does not have a PTO/holiday policy.  You take what you need, as long as your work is done and you have communicated with the appropriate people that you will be out of the office.  Now let me get this right, they are treating people like human beings, expecting them to make good decisions, and giving them the freedom to manage their job in a way that helps the company and allows them to achieve work/life balance.  This is crazy talk.  What happened to the days when the company knew better than the employee on when the employee could work and how they should work? 

If you don’t sense the sarcasm that is too bad, because I am laying it on pretty thick.  Why don’t companies get this?  I do not understand why this is such a difficult concept for most organizations to get.  You provide a structure for employees to work within and then give them freedom to work within that structure.  If they abuse that freedom, they are gone.  If you don’t trust that your employees can work within that structure and freedom, why in the world did you hire them and why are you keeping them? 

If you haven’t seen it, Netflix has a 128 page PPT articulating their culture.  I love this quote in the PPT "We should focus on what people get done, not how many hours or days worked. Just as we don’t have a nine to five day policy, we don’t need a vacation policy."

The days of clocking in and out are long gone, however I do not feel management styles have adjusted accordingly.  I had a client where a specific department manager required his employees to work 45 hours a week.  The employee loyalty for this group was horrible.  What the manager should have done is laid out the goals and objectives of the group and then let the group work what was needed to achieve those goals and objectives.  Several employees stated they could get their work done in 35 hours but were forced to find something to do just so they could say they worked 45 hours.  After some training for that manager, the next time we conducted the survey, employee loyalty had improved for that department.  These were highly skilled, difficult to replace employees so the impact the improvement of employee morale had on the company was quite significant. 

About the Author

Chris Woolard

Chris Woolard

Chris is responsible for the sale, design, implementation, account management, and consulting for his clients’ employee and customer assessment programs. He focuses on employee loyalty consulting and is considered Walker’s employee loyalty expert. He has worked with many companies on customer due diligence solutions.

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