Valve Corporation Reviews | Glassdoor.com.au

Valve Corporation Reviews

Updated 24 November 2018
38 reviews

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3.6
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Valve Corporation CEO Gabe Newell
Gabe Newell
26 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (3)

    "Review of Valve as an employer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Valve Corporation full-time

    Pros

    Great work/life balance
    Amazing coworkers
    Plenty of projects to work on

    Cons

    Lack of communication/ transparency
    Clique-like mindset


  2. "Great Place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Developer
    Current Employee - Software Developer
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Valve Corporation full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Friendly Staff
    Good Pay
    Good Benifits
    Good Experience
    Lifestyle

    Cons

    Difficult Role
    Long Hours
    Slow Content
    Hard Entry
    Hard Interview

    Advice to Management

    None

  3. Helpful (11)

    "Toxic Company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Level Designer
    Former Employee - Level Designer
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Valve Corporation (More than a year)

    Pros

    -High salary
    -Freedom, however short lived

    Cons

    -Highly toxic work environment with heavy politics
    -Random firings
    -Random cancellations of projects
    -CEO only fires people


  4. Helpful (21)

    "A flawed experiment but still viable, if you can hold your nose from time to time."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Valve Corporation full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Valve’s flat structure and relatively limited bureaucracy really unlocks your ability to produce. If you are a multi-talented individual who can run a million miles per hour and are tired of other people getting in your way, Valve is probably the most productive environment you will ever see. Compensation can be excellent and the perks (annual paid vacation, laundry service, personal training for self and spouse, great office views) are wonderful. You can work with the smartest people in the world at Valve and just sit down for lunch with them whenever you want, and learn a ton about everything from hardware manufacturing to software engineering to network operations at scale.

    Cons

    Flat structure really means an informal power and influence hierarchy, so you have to be socially adept or you will get blindsided repeatedly. Some employees are more equal than others and are the ears and mouthpieces of board members. Cash compensation can be average or below average for people with solid but not exceptional skills. Company leadership is allergic to the word “policy”. Libertarian to the extreme - unwilling to even agree on matching basic humanitarian charity contributions, lots of “both sides” arguments in debates about online behavior. Being a jerk or worse to your coworkers is largely tolerated because the leadership does not place any value on “being nice”. Tiny HR department tries but they are necessarily subservient to the leadership, and at the highest levels, the company doesn’t believe that HR should get involved in anything except hiring, benefits, and logistics. If Gabe takes a personal interest in your area, you could find yourself suddenly overruled in ways that feel surprising and whiplash-inducing given the otherwise autonomous nature of employment at Valve.

    Advice to Management

    Pretty much everybody on the board should just retire already. The company would be in better hands if you abolished the hidden power structures and let your employees truly organize and make decisions by consensus instead of letting the loudest and/or scariest and/or most-connected people win.


  5. Helpful (36)

    "Toxic teams, traumatized workers, opaque management hierarchy"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bellevue, WA (US)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bellevue, WA (US)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Valve Corporation full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Valve used to make good games, is well known, and it provides a somewhat competitive benefits package.

    Cons

    I'm writing this as an act of kindness to other developers. I worked here for many years and I still speak with insiders after leaving, and nothing fundamentally has changed yet.

    I waited a while before posting this review, so I could think about my overall experience here and what I would like to tell others about it. Overall, I highly recommend you avoid this company right now, because your long term health and sanity are more important than anything they can offer you. There's nothing negative I can write that hasn't already been said here publicly on the web already. If you do decide to go, then please remember this advice:

    First, if you are a new hot developer who's done something amazing for some other company, Valve will desire you basically like a trophy. If you do decide to go here, demand options, demand a startup bonus, and negotiate your initial salary upward. *Always* do each, without exception. The power is in your hands here, and Valve definitely has the ability to handle the upward pressure on its wages and benefits you and others will be applying.

    If you are someone Valve *really* wants, someone that they can proudly show off around town, they will have one or two workers discretely coach you before the actual interview. I witnessed this occur on two occasions. It won't matter if you flub the interview, you will be hired. If you aren't couched, they don't really want you. If you do get coached, then you better negotiate your butt off.

    If you can do so, talk to several teams before going to Valve. Try to find the least toxic team to join up with first. Find a team that is truly excited about you coming on board and helping them out. Ask them about their goals, when they are going to ship, who their customers are, and about the milestones they've already completed. Try to determine if results actually matter to this team. Identify the leaders of the team, ask them how long they've worked there, and see if you gel with them. Avoid teams like the plague that haven't shipped anything in years or are filled with old timers, as they will tend to be incredibly toxic. Avoid teams that don't have strong support from Gabe or a board member. Avoid teams without crystal clear product goals and a ship dates.

    The way to shut down these toxic, zombie-like teams inside of Valve is to starve them of new hires, and if Valve won't do it internally then ex-Valvers will do it externally by informing the world's developers about what to look for.

    Before you go to Valve, speak with at least a couple ex-Valvers about what it's actually like to work there. Do not go there unprepared, and do not believe the developer marketing.

    Advice to Management

    Perhaps someday, the company will change. But in order to do so a lot of the old timers will have to leave. New management will have to be brought in, cliques broken up, and the hierarchical and non-self organizing structure of the company will have to be candidly acknowledged and tended to. I predict that this is exactly what's going to happen, sooner or later, especially as the old timers with stock retire to obscurity.

    The thought leaders and people actually in charge here completely externalize the health, sanity, and happiness of its workers. These people need to be quietly shown the door.

    Valve needs to discard its cult-like culture, its outdated slogans, and its crackpot philosophies about "self organization", or it will remain an extremely unhealthy workplace overall. Acknowledge that there are bosses, managers, and hierarchies here.


  6. "Valve is a great place to work!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Moscow (Russia)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Moscow (Russia)
    Recommends

    I worked at Valve Corporation part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Freedom, nice food, nice people, you are a boss to yourself, you are up to decide on what to work on, the offices are quite well designed and very comfortable to work in.

    Cons

    There is too much freedom for some employees and there is some lack of organisation.


  7. Helpful (35)

    "House of bullies"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Valve Corporation full-time

    Pros

    A lot of percs due to the constant money stream from Steam
    Great salaries
    High level of talent among most coworkers
    Used to make great games.

    Cons

    The place is run like a school yard without adult supervision.
    Bullies and loud people get the attention and rewards
    There's a definite, though unspoken pecking order.
    Several cliques. If you're not in the right clique, you won't have a good experience
    You can be fired out of the blue without warning, even if you're worked there successfully for years.
    They don't make games any more.
    You could work on developing a project for years and just have it dropped for no good reason other than one of the self appointed leaders decided he wasn't interested anymore.
    They sell you a real bill of goods coming in, that you'll have all the freedom in the world to do what you want , work on things that interest you and that they just want a lot of highly creative people to make great things. But after a short time there you start to see how the sausage is made and what you were told was an exaggeration at best

    Advice to Management

    It's such a poison place that I don't have any advice for them really. Make games again. Get the nerd bullies in line or get rid of them and get back to what made Valve great in the past. Right now it feels like it's circling the drain. But the higher ups there don't really care because they're all rich. I know I sound bitter and I am, but this is my experience there. Some people do well there, but many find the backstabbing nature of the company very stressful and disturbing.

  8. Helpful (3)

    "BD Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA (US)

    I have been working at Valve Corporation full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Fun, COOL, hard, working, enjoy

    Cons

    marketing is small and future is good

    Advice to Management

    Stay cool and insist on working


  9. Helpful (30)

    ""Utopia for some but painful when the fit is bad" - emphasis on the "some""

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Valve Corporation full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    In terms of fringe benefits, Valve has quite the impressive repertoire:

    - Good healthcare benefits, including onsite gym, physical trainers, a wide variety of food available
    - Great paternity/maternity benefits
    - Paid annual company trip
    - Laundry, barber and massage services provided onsite

    You get to work with brilliant peers and most peer interactions are generally very positive.

    Cons

    - The flat structure is somewhat a sham. There is a badly hidden hierarchy, and at the top are some very smart people, but there are also some bullies who do whatever they want
    - Awful communication externally and internally
    - Terrible system for feedback and compensation. Annual feedback collection seem to go into a void and not actually taken into account. There was some attempt to revamp this process this year, but unclear what is being changed
    - Constant anxiety to fit in. Everyone around you is anxious about their job and what they're supposed to do, often without clear direction. This gets worse as the end of the year approaches, as everyone prepares for the peer review process. Working with people who are constantly anxious about their jobs takes a toll on everyone, regardless of the great benefit offerings
    - Bleeding talent. With a combination of the reasons above, talent keep leaving in droves, adding stress to the remaining small teams
    - "Fit": This is only meaningful to company rock stars, but there are necessary tasks that comes with producing successful products that people are reluctant to pick up at times because they're not sexy projects

    Advice to Management

    There is nothing I can add here that hasn't already been said before. Valve will continue to do well for now, but there is a severe disconnect with most of the employees and the upper management and there is plenty of general resentment.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Great company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Working at Valve has been a great experience.

    Cons

    I don't have any cons about Valve

    Advice to Management

    I don't really have much advice. Just do what you're doing.