What shape are your employees in?

What shape are your employees in?
How ‘fit’ are your employees to meet the demands of the ever-changing business landscape?
Carla Curtsinger reviews an Ogilvy talent management case study.



What shape are your employees in? I’m not talking about wellness – although we all know how important physical fitness is. No, I mean how ‘fit’ are your employees to meet the demands of your clients and the ever-changing business landscape?

Jean-Rene Zetrenne, North America Chief Talent Officer at Ogilvy, asked the same question about his own organization, and presented his findings at the recent Next Generation HR Summit.

Zetrenne found that the majority of his employees were ‘I’ shaped, holding most of their expertise in one subject area. But thanks in no small part to digital transformation, business ventures today have layers of complexity, and require teams with knowledge and expertise in multiple areas to deliver the solutions customers need.

To grow our business and our employees, Zetrenne contends that we need future team members in this new ‘M’ shape – what we might consider generalists – with multiple areas of expertise, including digital capabilities, and a breadth of knowledge.

In Zetrenne’s survey of current Ogilvy employees, 25 percent were ‘M’ shaped, so he put into place a personalized talent management program to help them make the move from ‘I’ to ‘M’ at their own pace. 

What would your company’s stats look like? And what are you doing to grow your teams’ skill sets to meet the needs of the digital world?

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