The Comb-Shaped Employee

Why Is Important to Hire Comb-Shaped Employee ?

The world today is better connected in terms of

  • Information access (google; youtube and so on).
  • Money, people, goods and services flow (international investments, foreign business operations, migration, import and export).
  • Communications (skypes; email; blogs and so on).
  • Transport (popularity of flight, air freight and the rise of budget airlines).
  • Supply chain (container shipments, order fulfillment houses and so on).

Because of this, the world has shrunk into a village. What this means

  • More people travel. People have the choice of where they want to live, for example many Australians retired in Thailand to take advantage of the foreign exchange rate; many Singaporeans migrated to Australia for a slower pace of life; many people go to Korea, Thailand or Japan to teach English.
  • Work can be transferred easily across borders, for example, moving jobs from US to China because of lower production costs; outsourcing production to a factory in Vietnam, Thailand or China; internet free-lance work.
  • Virtual places are now a reality, such as elearning; online shops.

Pace of Change and Disruptions

“So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work” Peter Drucker

Initially, in the late 90s and early 2000s the pace of change has increased. Now, in the first part of the 21st century (2010s), we are beginning to felt the punches delivered by disruptions from technological change  and  this would only continue to acclerate. We Have started to see old industries fading and new one rising.

The rigid organizational structure; functional specialization; big organizational sizes of the industrial era

Retrenching and Re-hiring has become a viscious cycle and has taken its toll on anyone that relies on a job to make a living.

To survive today’s reality, businesses have to be nimble. That would mean organic amoeba-like structure; undoing management structure (doing away with managers) and have better educated, better trained M-shape workers with strong work ethics that are supported by facilitators.

Source: Upcity website

T-Shaped Staff Versus M-Shaped Employee

T-shaped skills describe specific attributes of desirable workers. The vertical bar of the T refers to expert knowledge and experience in a particular area, while the top of the T refers to an ability to collaborate with experts in other disciplines and a willingness to use the knowledge gained from this collaboration. A t-shaped person is someone with t-shaped skills.(Source: Hrzone website)


Source: Upcity website

The following shows a pi-shaped employee have 2 areas of expertise and a broad top for collaboration.

Source: Irisclasson website

The following shows a comb shaped employee have multiple areas of expertise areas which gives the shape of a comb and a broad top or base for collaboration.

Source: Irisclasson website