The Valve employee handbook

The Valve employee handbook

A while ago I read the Valve employee handbook which Valve have published online:

Valve sounds like an awesome place to work:

  • There are no managers, there is no management hierarchy, “nobody ‘reports to’ anybody else.
  • Valve employees spend 100% of their time working on whatever project they like, they even have ‘wheelie desks’ so that they can sit wherever they like.

Here’s why they do it:

when you’re an entertainment company that’s spent the last decade going out of its way to recruit the most intelligent, innovative, talented people on Earth, telling them to sit at a desk and do what they’re told obliterates 99 percent of their value

Perhaps Valve is a special case and their business particularly suits this way of working but I think implementing this to a lesser degree could work very well in other companies.

Whilst the projects at many companies are driven by client requests and have time scale & specification requirement obligations that have to be met, I think allocating a proportion of time for every employee to work on self-directed projects could unlock the full potential of every employee and the company as a whole.

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