You may have heard of pear-shaped, apples and even hourglass shaped people but T-shaped individuals are not like these things. For one, their name isn’t reliant upon how much bodyweight they carry in certain areas, instead, it refers to their skill set and the type of person that they are.
What is a T-shaped person?
T-shaped people are those who have a broad range of skills and interests but a few select niches that they are experts in. So, if we look at it in terms of hobbies they may enjoy cycling, writing, modelling and floristry broadly but are really passionate about computer programming.
Employers were once unsure about T-shaped people – referring to them as generalists with too many skills to know where to start but this simply isn’t the case. Supporting one main skill with a range of others offers a breadth of wisdom and variety an expert perhaps can’t offer.
The benefits of having T-shaped people in your company
T-shaped employees are an excellent addition to any team. They can deal with a core role and focus in their work but also have the ability to branch out into other areas, supporting the business in a wider sense. These types of people are masters of all trades, the type to pick things up quickly and could become true experts with time and practice.
They can communicate and collaborate better across a business
Those who are T-shaped can discuss matters across the whole business, making them great at dealing with other people and understanding what is required of them as a whole. They understand how other people work and why things need to be done in a certain way.
They can offer wider support
Having an expert is great, but having someone capable of picking up work from other people when they need support is better. A copywriter who specialises solely in travel and tourism is perfect for a focused travel brand but if they were working for a marketing agency, say, they would be limited. Someone who has a lot of interests and experience such as a T-shaped person is the preferred choice as they can amend their style to fit the mould.
They’re always flexible
While they have a main expertise, or area of work they can focus on solely, if there isn’t any of this work to be done or something else is a priority they can still help. They have the flexibility to jump on new tasks and support other people on their team to ensure things get done.
They can share experience and skills with others
As they stretch across a range of niches, they can encourage others to dabble in new skills too. This can lead to a stronger team that develops at a greater rate than before.
They have hard and soft skills
Hard skills, such as programming or design are the desirable core traits you’re looking for but softer skills such as critical thinking and networking make up the whole package.
Who doesn’t want to employ and work with interesting people? Those who have a wide set of interests and skills are generally more enjoyable to be around and get along with more people in a business.
How to hire T-shaped people
When it comes to hiring this type of person, here are a few ways to improve your chances of bringing them into your team.
Don’t restrict their role
T-shaped people don’t want to do just one type of work. They want to progress in different areas, dabble with new skills and be part of the wider business. Ensure your job description highlights that they have the opportunity to work across departments and features a variety of work.
Offer training and development
T-shaped people have a thirst for knowledge and development, ensure your business offers this to encourage them to accept a role with you and to keep them interested during their employment.
Take interest in their other skills
You may be interviewing candidates for one job but be sure to also ask them about their wider skill sets and interests. Consider how these can be utilised for your business to benefit them and the company on a wider scale. Employees who actively take an interest are more appealing and you may discover more about them to help aid your decision.
T-shaped individuals are assets to any company when mixed with experts and experienced employees. Consider looking for candidates with a variety of interests and skills to broaden out your team and ensure everything is covered – even the small stuff.