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In 5 Words, This Former Netflix Executive Reveals the Key to Employee Motivation

The former Chief Talent Officer of Netflix provides powerful insight into what truly motivates employees.

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BY Ryan Jenkins - 28 Aug 2018

In 5 Words, This Former Netflix Executive Reveals the Key to Employee Motivation

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

When Patty McCord, the former Chief Talent Officer of Netflix, was building Netflix she was intent on creating a company culture of great teamwork and innovative problem-solving.

In my recent interview with McCord and inside her book, Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility, she revealed how Netflix motivated employees.

At Netflix, employee motivation is about "talent density and appealing challenges."

Great colleagues and tough challenges to tackle are the strongest draws to working--and stay working--at a company according to McCord.

This especially holds true for the emerging generations, as 65 percent of Generation Z say the people whom they work with would enable their best work. In addition, 75 percent of Generation Z (and 70 percent of Millennials) want their work to have meaning which can be achieved through solving perplexing problems.

Because the Netflix culture that McCord built lends itself to managing younger people much more than the old top-to-bottom style, this approach to employee motivation really strikes a cord with Millennials and Generation Z employees.

"Companies don't exist to make happy employees. It's absolutely great for employees to be happy, but it's best for both them and their companies if the reason they're happy is that they're doing great work with great people," says McCord.

"People's happiness in their work is not about gourmet salads or sleeping pods or foosball tables. True and abiding happiness in work comes from being deeply engaged in solving a problem with talented people you know are also deeply engaged in solving it, and from knowing that the customer loves the product or service you all have worked so hard to make," writes McCord.

Be clear about the challenges the company is solving in order to attract top next-generation talent and to ensure they are excited to come to work each day not despite the challenges but because of them.

Listen to my full interview with Patty McCord here.

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