Creating a Powerful Workplace Culture: Key Takeaways from Former Netflix CTO, Patty McCord



When SHRM canceled the 2020 Annual SHRM Conference due to the pandemic, I felt I had missed out on what would have been another fantastic opportunity to learn and interact with HR professionals from around the world.

However, when SHRM announced its brand-new digital series called Tune in Tuesdays, you can imagine how excited I felt about it. I saw this as an excellent way to encourage virtual learning and interactions among HR professionals.

As SHRM describes it, "Tune in Tuesday" is a digital series of interactive episodes that offer fresh perspectives and solutions-based insights about work from leading experts.

On Tuesday, July 14th, I joined the first episode, which featured Patty McCord, the former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix.

Did you know that Patty co-published the Netflix Culture Deck, which has had over 19 million views? Remarkable!

I had learned that Patty advocates for radical honesty in the workplace. So when she started with a little introductory warning saying, "the things I'll say to you today are going to be said out of love and as a fellow HR person," I thought, "Uh-oh!". But guess what? I was impressed within the first few minutes of listening to her.

Here are key takeaways from listening to Patty McCord talk about:


The most important thing you should do is to understand your team. Every organization has an objective and a way that winning has to happen. So to be a strategic HR professional, you need to understand every member of the team, what they do, how they operate, and their challenges. I completely agree with this point! Generally, the best way to support people is to understand the kind of support they need—so this should also apply in teams.


Know the problem you're trying to solve, find the right talent to solve that problem, and have all the right systems to support them. Often, HR professionals write job descriptions designed to look like the person who just left the position or the hiring manager. However, when you focus on finding the people who can solve the known problem, you will most likely find that those hires do not look like you—I think this is an excellent point, especially as we become more aware of the need for inclusive workplaces. Also, Patty recommended that HR should assess all the systems across the organization and create places where those talented people can thrive.


During the Q & A session with Johnny C. Taylor Jr., SHRM's president, and CEO, I learned about the right way to give people feedback. When dealing with a peer or senior leader who isn't equipped to receive honest and transparent feedback, Patty recommends that you "let the person understand that you're providing feedback because you genuinely want them to succeed. When people understand that, they will be able to receive your feedback." I think that this approach will significantly reduce the ill-feelings associated with feedback sessions in the workplace, and so more people need to apply this approach when giving feedback.

I enjoyed Episode One of Tune in Tuesday, and I look forward to tuning in for Episode 2 on August 11th, 2020.


Originally published on the Osasu Arigbe blog.



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