Browse Definitions :
Definition

T-shaped employee

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A T-shaped employee, in the context of human resources, is an individual who has deep knowledge and skills in a particular area of specialization, along with and the desire and ability to make connections across disciplines. The horizontal bar of the T symbolizes a breadth of general knowledge and soft skills, while the vertical stem of the T symbolizes the depth of technical hard skills. Essentially, a T-shaped individual is both a niche-topic specialist and a generalist with people skills.

Today in information technology, T-shaped employees are in great demand because of an increasing convergence of technologies and changes in software development and delivery models. For some software development jobs, such as those that involve DevOps for example, the ability to work in a multidisciplinary team is essential. This contrasts with the I-shaped skills model that information technology departments valued in the past -- one in which an employee's depth of knowledge in one niche area of IT was valued above all else.

One approach to ensuring that a company has employees with the required knowledge and skills for success is to encourage projects that break down silo walls and create a company culture that nurtures soft skill development. In such a working environment, employees will naturally gain general knowledge and develop people skills as they continue to build the in-depth knowledge required to support the company's business goals.

The term T-shaped employee was popularized by Tim Brown, the CEO of the IDEO, a California design firm known for its collaborative and innovative workplace practices. 

This was last updated in July 2017

Continue Reading About T-shaped employee

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

What is your HR department's biggest challenge?
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business...

  • privacy compliance

    Privacy compliance is a company's accordance with established personal information protection guidelines, specifications or ...

  • data governance policy

    A data governance policy is a documented set of guidelines for ensuring that an organization's data and information assets are ...

SearchSecurity

  • asymmetric cryptography (public key cryptography)

    Asymmetric cryptography, also known as public-key cryptography, is a process that uses a pair of related keys -- one public key ...

  • Evil Corp

    Evil Corp is an international cybercrime network that uses malicious software to steal money from its victims' bank accounts.

  • Plundervolt

    Plundervolt is a method of hacking that involves depriving an Intel chip of power so that processing errors occur.

SearchHealthIT

  • telemedicine (telehealth)

    Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the ...

  • Project Nightingale

    Project Nightingale is a controversial partnership between Google and Ascension, the second largest health system in the United ...

  • medical practice management (MPM) software

    Medical practice management (MPM) software is a collection of computerized services used by healthcare professionals and ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchStorage

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification written for internally mounted storage...

  • RAID (redundant array of independent disks)

    RAID (redundant array of independent disks) is a way of storing the same data in different places on multiple hard disks or ...

  • cache memory

    Cache memory, also called CPU memory, is high-speed static random access memory (SRAM) that a computer microprocessor can access ...

Close