A Leading Perspective

Pragmatic insights for the leader in you


Hiring Is Everything!

A Guest Post by Ben Eubanks


Recently I ran across a very interesting employee handbook for Valve, a small software company. The handbook talks about the culture and what it’s like working there in intricate detail, but one section really blew my mind.

At Valve, they don’t hire managers or have any supervisors. They simply have people working in different teams who manage themselves as they see fit.


If you’re anything like me, you probably said, “Wait a minute, that’s crazy!” or “It wouldn’t work at my company.”

And you’re right, because it wouldn’t. (This brings up another point that we don’t all want/need a building full of innovative thinkers with no limits, but that’s a post for another day!)


But at Valve, this system of self-management has worked for over 10 years.


How is that possible?  At Valve, “hiring is everything,” in their words.


They focus more energy on hiring people, and then they have to spend virtually no time managing or retaining them, because they’ve created a culture that employees love. Imagine for a second that there is a direct connection between time spent recruiting and time spent managing problem staff.


Would you rather spend eight hours now recruiting people who are a great fit for your organization or eight hours in the future managing the problems associated with poor hires?


You can pay now, or you can pay later, but either way you’ll pay.


I’m not sure about you, but I’d pick recruiting any day. It’s a great trade, because even if it doesn’t give you more time in the day, it still adds some stability to your workforce. It also helps to develop the strong ties necessary for a solid employment relationship.


On the flip side, spending that time on employee relations problems is sure to cause friction with your managers and work teams. Murphy’s Law (whatever can go wrong, will) says that a person will start having performance issues right when it’s time for a big project that depends on their efforts. If you are focusing your effort on recruiting it’s a timeline that you can manage with significant returns on the time invested.


Want to learn more about these concepts? Click here for the Valve employee handbook in PDF format. The hiring section starts on page 43.


Hiring is everything, according to Valve.
What about your company?
Could you say the same about your organization?



About the Author

Ben Eubanks is an HR pro, speaker, and writer. I met Ben this past summer in Atlanta, GA and I quickly became a big fan! His personable, honest and direct approach to his career is similar to my own and, because he’s about 10Xs nicer than me, I quickly realized I needed him in my network!  🙂

Ben works as a one-man HR team at Pinnacle Solutions during the day, and at night he writes at upstartHR.  This is an HR blog with a little humor, humility, and how-to. Check it out to learn more about entry level HR jobs, talent management, and other “in the trenches” HR topics.

Human ResourcesRecruitmentRetentionRole of HRSelectionSelection ProcessTeamwork

Heather Kinzie • October 23, 2012

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