Should Your Company Use the Netflix 'Keeper Test'?

By William Vogeler, Esq. on October 29, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Nobody would complain if they had to pass a test for a job, as long as the test was fair, right?

But what about a test that an employee never gets to take? A test that determines their working fate, but they never even see?

That's how the "keeper test" works, and it's also how things work at Netflix. Should your company try it?

No Hard Feelings

According to reports, Netflix employees work under the shadow of the keeper test. It goes like this:

"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?" Netflix explained.

If the answer to that question is "no," then the employee doesn't pass the test and the company sends them packing with a generous severance and looks for a better replacement. No hard feelings, but no job either.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, described as "unencumbered by emotion" by the Wall Street Journal, routinely uses it. He even used the test to fire a close friend, who had worked for the company for 18 years.

Just Business

Despite many challenges, Netflix has built itself into a global force. The company is doing business in 190 different countries.

Harvard Business Review says Netflix did it by "employing solid, tried and true international business tactics, without cutting corners."

Cutting corners, no. Cutting workers, yes.

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