An Insight a Day

Netflix's Keeper Test or Next Jump's Lifetime Employment Policy

At Netflix, managers use the Keeper Test to decide who to fire. The test itself is very simple, managers simply ask themselves one question. "If someone in my team was thinking of leaving for another firm, how hard would I fight to keep them from leaving?" If the answer is not at all, they will be offered a generous severance package and let go shortly afterwards. Netflix's company philosophy is to see employees as a team as opposed to a family.

If you think of a professional sports team, it is up to the coach to ensure that every player on the field is amazing at their position, and plays very effectively with the others. We model ourselves on being a team, not a family. A family is about unconditional love, despite, say, your siblings’ bad behavior. A dream team is about pushing yourself to be the best teammate you can be, caring intensely about your teammates, and knowing that you may not be on the team forever.

We have no bell curves or rankings or quotas such as “cut the bottom 10% every year.” That would be detrimental to fostering collaboration, and is a simplistic, rules-based approach we would never support. 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. Getting cut from our team is very disappointing, but there is no shame. Being on a dream team can be the thrill of a professional lifetime.

This is the complete opposite of Next Jump where don't fire anyone, ever. Instead of seeing employees as team members, they see them more as family members. Just like how you wouldn't fire your kids or siblings because of poor family finance, they have a Lifetime Employment Policy and won't fire anyone.

We don't hire employees, we adopt family members. We don't fire at Next Jump, we coach. See Simon Sinek's talk mentioning our Lifetime Employment Policy.

On one hand, you have a company that operates more like a sports team and tries to build the best possible team. On the other hand, you have a company doing the exact opposite and treats employees as family members. Which one would you rather work for?