“Although the goals in this book are important, it’s really your ideas, talent, and energy that will keep Valve shining in the years ahead. Thanks for being here. Let’s make great things.”


Valve, the company responsible for the ever-popular “Half Life”, “Portal” and digital shopfront, “Stream” has released their new employee handbook for public viewing. Read it here:  Valve Handbook

Valve is famous for being an inspirational place to work, full of innovative, engaged employees and they declare hiring to be the single most important thing they do. If you’re thinking of creating or updating your welcome pack for new starters, this is an interesting place to start in terms of inspiration.


Their focus is on the emotional fit of the new employee and ensuring that each new person feels happyin their role, not how to set up voicemails and what is covered under the health benefits. Plus, the content is created by the people that already work there, making it an accurate and unpretentious guide to what it is really like to work at Valve.


“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. We want innovators, and that means maintaining an environment where they’ll flourish.”

Ben is the Chief Executive Officer of Employment Innovations (EI), he is also a qualified solicitor with a passion for business.

Views: 4082

Comment by Veronica Lopez on August 31, 2012 at 10:41

Refreshing and full of great ideas for building an innovative culture! Nice work!

Comment by Catherine Gillespie on August 31, 2012 at 12:27

Would love to read their 'how to hire' handbook (because this is where they ultimately have to get 'it' right) and do they have any probationary period?

Comment by Ben Thompson on September 5, 2012 at 11:21

If I come across their recruitment handbook, I'll be sure to share it!

The idea of removing hierarchies is an interesting one, you're right, it essentially means that every single hire must be absolutely perfect for the role.

Comment by michael minns on September 12, 2012 at 19:46

Best Employee Hand Book Ever.. Sorry I can't agree.However the Handbook does do a great job of describing the workplace culture at VALVE where they have gone to a lot of trouble to manufacture it in a fashion that is not uncommon in creative environments.

I liked the difference between advancement and growth, the belief that Hi Performance people are self improving and the no blame culture aspect of not sacking anyone for making a mistake. However there is no mention of how Corporate Socialization takes place.As for the Best Ever? No but it is good

Take a look at a couple of Coal Mines west of Sydney and  look at their designed ulture described as Safe, Unique, Hi Performance and Accountable. View their  Employee Hand Book and Orientation Program. Measure the time it takes to get a cleanskin miner up to speed. Look at the HRMetrics and how well they are going.

It is the culture that makes the handbook ie Culture begats Handbook

Comment by Ben Thompson on September 13, 2012 at 11:07

Obviously, my statement of the "best ever" is not a literal one, but I do feel that the Valve approach is one that deserves some acknowledgement. (That is the motive for sharing the handbook.)

Comment by Emma Driscoll on October 2, 2012 at 17:43

Hi Ben

Is this handbook not available for viewing any longer? it does not seem to be letting me take a look



Comment by Ben Thompson on October 8, 2012 at 9:22

Hi Emma, sorry about that, link is now fixed.


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