Apr 29, 2012

Valve breaks the code as a workplace

Print Screen from Valve's Book. Their copyright.
I'm reading through the perhaps leaked Handbook for New Employees by Valve. Whilst I'm reading it, I notice myself becoming excited and writing notes aside. Ideas start evolving in my brain connecting to cells on the left, right and beyond. How amazing and how what I'd want to accomplish too.

Valve, in their own words, is an organization that is totally boss-free (since 1996). They give all the power to the people. The power to hire the best, to decide in which projects one will spend their time on, the power to decide on the value of their peers (which effectively affects one's compensation) and so on. Whilst this type of freedom is definitely attractive, it suits only certain types of people. Those who are immensely smart, self steering and are able to see the scope of things. It won't work for people who need mentoring, guidance, who are title-hungry and who love bossing others around.

Few pointers from Valve Software culture:

Print Screen from Valve's Book. Their copyright.
  1. They talk about families of employees, not just employees.
  2. Valve is all about self steering, in good and potentially bad.
  3. Nobody is hired for a role. They are hired to put their best foot forward where ever it makes most sense and brings most value.
  4. Compensation becomes adjusted over time based on internal peer driven valuation. 
  5. There is no career ladder as there is no ladder whatsoever.
  6. Hiring is the most important thing at Valve. They believe missing out on a great recruitment will be the most expensive mistake they can make.
  7. They prefer T-shaped people (highly skilled at a broad range of important things, but among the best in their field within a narrow discipline)
  8. It seems like a group of independent artists working together towards the same goal.

Whilst Valve's culture is beautiful in most of it's aspects, it's not a culture suitable for just anyone to copy. If you read the handbook to the end, you'll find them to agree with it. But there are certainly many elements to copypaste or to inspire to take steps suitable for your organization. In my case, I'm thrilled and heavily inspired to fit some aspects into mine.

For Finnish readers; there is a conversation on this topic on Linked In Talent Pool Finland -group.

Be inspired!


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