Valve Corporation Reviews

Updated Apr 7, 2021

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3.5
54%
Recommend to a Friend
62%
Approve of CEO
Valve Corporation CEO Gabe Newell
Gabe Newell
31 Ratings
Pros
  • "Work/life balance, if you choose to prioritize it(in 5 reviews)

  • "Free food, smart people, casual working enviornment , gym(in 5 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "Avoid teams that don't have strong support from Gabe or a board member(in 5 reviews)

  • "advertising flat structure when there actually isn't(in 4 reviews)

  • More Pros and Cons
    Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.
    1. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      some video games ideas!

      Nov 16, 2020 - Anonymous Employee in Jersey City, NJ
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      we get to go to hawaii!

      Cons

      i hope i dont ever lose this job.

      Continue reading
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    2. 5.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Very Nice

      Jul 30, 2020 - Software Engineer in Bellevue, WA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Cool company and cool stuff

      Cons

      Nothing is a con here you see

      1 person found this review helpful
    3. 2.0
      Former Employee, more than 5 years

      Feels like a disorganized trap

      Apr 7, 2020 - N/A in Bellevue, WA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - No job titles, managers, or micro-management of your time - Great health benefits & 401k contribution - Flexible hours and lots of PTO

      Cons

      What looks good about this company on paper feels very different in person: - Salary review process is very nebulous and constantly changing - Feedback gathering was disorganized or even nonexistent most of the time - No growth potential or promotions for employees due to "flat" structure, so it feels like putting your career on pause - Open floor plan everywhere means no privacy and loud work spaces all the time - Felt like a Silicon Valley startup echo chamber more than a distinguished company

      25 people found this review helpful
    4. 2.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Awful

      Aug 8, 2020 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Get to play games and engineer

      Cons

      Bad pay, was making 9 dollars an hour

      2 people found this review helpful
    5. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 8 years

      Utopia for some but painful when the fit is bad

      May 30, 2016 - Senior Software Engineer in Bellevue, WA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Valve can be an amazing place to work, but it requires the right fit. The people who will do well at Valve need to be high performers in their specific area, but beyond that they also need to excel at thinking about users and products and contributing to product level decision making. Additionally people need to be able to take in a lot of sometimes conflicting opinions and advice from co-workers who are all peers and then go make good decisions on what they should work on and what direction they should take their work independently. People who can demonstrate an ability to do those things well will be afforded a huge amount of freedom, independence, and responsibility at Valve. Most of the people who do those things well are extremely happy at Valve and have trouble imagining leaving. For those people Valve is a place of huge opportunities, freedom to take big risks, freedom to work on many different projects, and a place filled with smart people who will help you accomplish things you couldn't on your own. In terms of more tangible pros compensation is competitive at the base level, and for high performers bonuses (cash and sometimes equity) can be extremely generous. The company takes you and your immediate family on a free vacation to a fancy resort every year, you get extremely good medical coverage, life insurance, a very generous 401k matching plan, free food, free personal trainers, etc. Overall benefits are generally as good or better than the best companies out there.

      Cons

      The biggest con is that fit can be difficult to measure up front. The company has a difficult hiring process and works hard to measure not just your competence at your role but also your ability to work without a manager and to make high level user/product decisions. This process is tuned towards allowing false negatives and trying to avoid false positives but mistakes in hiring can still be made. For those who end up inside the company and struggle with the environment it can be very painful. Since you don't have a manager it can be difficult to get clear guidance on how to improve and you may get conflicting advice from peers. The company has a yearly ranking/review process that has proven very effective at correctly compensating those who are doing well but I agree with a prior reviewer who stated that it's never been 100% effective at providing useful feedback to those who need help. If you end up being in a situation where you are struggling at Valve you will get some advice and guidance from peers and from HR but you will ultimately need to figure out your path to success on your own. For those used to having a more hands on manager as their advocate this can be hard. Many of the negative reviews here seem to come clearly from employees who struggled at Valve to varying degrees. My experience is that these employees are a small minority due to the difficult hiring process but their negative experiences are still real. The best thing you could do for yourself before working at Valve is to try to really understand the work environment and the high expectations. Once you understand those make sure you are really honest with yourself about whether Valve is likely to be a good fit.

      Continue reading
      73 people found this review helpful
    6. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 5 years

      Great with the right fit, hard to anticipate fit

      Jun 1, 2015 - None, Thanks for Asking in Bellevue, WA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Valve hires very smart people with a shared core set of expectations about communications and problem solving. Individuals and groups at the company act with customer goals identified, and sort tasks and product choices accordingly. The employee handbook and occasional articles about how the place runs are true. There are no bosses. No one, including Gabe, has the authority to tell someone else what to do. Proponents must recruit people to projects by explaining why the task is important and how it is important, and convincing people to share time or prioritize over other competing needs. The lack of hierarchy and titles is a conscious design to minimize bureaucratic resistance to getting work accomplished (and bureaucratic authority to get the wrong work accomplished). It's also a design to keep valuable employees indefinitely. No one has to leave because a peer got a promotion into a job he/she though he/she deserved. No one has to become a manager because it's the way to get paid more. Individuals can get more and more valuable over years and decades of work, get rewarded as such, and have no particular forcing functions to trigger them to leave. Great to individual and company. The scarce resource at Valve is people's time. Capital is available for most any purchase need, if you can make the case for what you're doing and why. Routine purchasing decisions are devolved to employees. This system, hiring great people, giving them resources and great colleagues, and getting out of the way between them and their customers, has produced a lot of value for customers and the company. Last pro: Valve takes good care of employees and their families. Benefits are generous and sometimes astonishing. Most anything that can keep employees happy and productive will be considered.

      Cons

      To succeed at Valve, you have to be a self-starter. No one will tell you what to do -- if you ask, people may give you an opinion about what they think you should do, but no one hands you a list of your five most important tasks for the next review period. Beyond being a self-starter, you have to come up with ways to judge yourself, or to gather feedback from customers, partners (developers/publishers/vendors), or other employees. I think the comp system works reasonably well, but the feedback system has never functioned well for all employees. When an employee is having trouble, the system (which is really just a group of peers, sometimes guided by HR or more senior colleagues) is more focused and effective at gathering and communicating specific feedback for people. Some people are just driven nuts by the uncertainty of this kind of management and feedback system. Some people thrive and delight in the absence of semi-annual self-evaluation forms. At Valve, it's hard to get a grand project started. It's easy to get a clever, valuable, smaller project started. Turning the latter into the former requires great communication skills or a clever plan of laying out small projects to take the company in the direction you think is smart (and which is confirmed by the outcomes of prior small projects). There are no patrons to make things happen for you. I disagree with a few other (typically former employee- ) reviews that suggest there is secret management structure that controls everything. There are certainly more senior people (who may or may not be more experienced by years of work) who can give great feedback on what is worth doing, or how to do something. But there is incredibly little control, and shadow management is just not true. I think that is often a projection by people who can't believe the uncertainty of radical freedom.

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      59 people found this review helpful
    7. 4.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Awesome company with good perks

      May 16, 2019 - Steam Support 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Working on creating games in different languages

      Cons

      Corporate atmosphere, competition among teammates

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    8. 3.0
      Current Employee, more than 10 years

      High pay, Low morale

      Feb 4, 2019 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The company pays well and has plenty of office perks.

      Cons

      The company is a like a ship without a motor. Lots of failures and low risk, poorly thought out ventures. Senior people have been checked out for years.

      27 people found this review helpful
    9. 2.0
      Former Employee, less than 1 year

      House of bullies

      Jan 26, 2018 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      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

      Continue reading
      58 people found this review helpful
    10. 3.0
      Current Employee, less than 1 year

      No Games!

      Mar 9, 2019 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      We get to go to Hawaii!

      Cons

      I feel like I'm going to lose my job, I'm only making 15 dollars a year, and I've been put in the basement.

      Continue reading
      20 people found this review helpful
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