Patty McCord | Principal, Patty McCord Consulting (formerly Chief Talent Officer, Netflix)

Patty McCord | Principal, Patty McCord Consulting (formerly Chief Talent Officer, Netflix)



Our guest today is Patty McCord of Patty McCord Consulting. For 12 years she served as Chief Talent Officer at Netflix, where she helped create the Netflix Culture Deck which has been viewed nearly 15 million times. Sheryl Sandberg said it "may be the most important document ever to come out of Silicon Valley."

We spoke with Patty about how a company's shifting needs affects its hiring decisions. Rather than focus on keeping people, Patty says, we should be focusing on keeping the right people for as long as they are valuable. If someone will be out of a job in six months, management needs to communicate that.

Key Takeaway: 

"It's not about keeping people. It's about finding the right fit."



People aren't staying in their careers for 10, 20 or 30 years anymore.

Research shows us a different trend:

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.6 years.
  • Freelance Union found that more than 53 million Americans are doing freelance work, which is about 34 percent or ONE-THIRD of the workforce.


Does retention matter?

Is "length of time stayed" the best benchmark? Focusing only on retaining employees can lead companies off-target. Instead, companies should focus on:

  1. What business problem an employee helps to solve 
  2. What success looks like in that role
  3. How well aligned are #1 and 2

If they are well aligned – that is, if the employee's vision of success solves the business's problem, then as long as the employee is performing well then it is in the best interest for that employee to stay.

If not, companies can shift the conversation to reallocating strong employees with departments that can use their skills, or developing new skills they might need for the company's new direction. Keep in mind that one-size-fits-all training or general development is not the solution. 


Retention is a common concern because companies and employees feels like they invest time, expertise, and experiences, therefore should receive loyalty in return. But let's be real. Business doesn't work like that... it grows, evolves, and changes. Companies can cultivate how to navigate this change by talking openly and honestly with employees. If you fear disappointing employees and hide upcoming changes, they will feel victimized and blindsided when you let them go.


Ready to embrace change?

Companies ready to embrace the culture of a fluid workforce can start with these top 3 actions:  

  1. Practice open conversations at the executive level to model this approach at the top. 
  2. Facilitate conversations across teams, not only about what is going to change, but also how to work through transition. 
  3. Enable teams to figure out solutions for themselves. Executives don't need to know all the answers, and companies don't need to cling to practices for "consistency's sake."  


When employees are aligned to where the company is going and a fitting job function, regardless of the timeframe - 6 months, 1 year, 2 years - employees gain the advantage of working with highly skilled team members, accomplish more, and in-turn become worth more.


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