Hr Library

The Full-Stack HR Professional


In software development, there is a concept of the “full-stack engineer,” someone who knows hardware, operating system, database, applications, user interface, design, and mobile applications. These magic individuals are among the most valued in business: they can architect new systems, debug the most difficult problems, and serve as big thinkers for technologists everywhere. 

I believe we now need the same thing in HR, Full-Stack HR professionals. While specialization is still critical to your career success, building what is often called a “T-Shaped” career is the future.  Let me explain.

In all aspects of our lives, there is a tradeoff between depth (specialization) and breadth (perspective). By focusing and developing expertise, you learn to leverage your strengths, you add ever-increasing amounts of value, and you can create an identity and become well known. But as many studies now show (I particularly like the book Range: While Generalists Triumph In A Specialized World), it is the combination of depth and breadth that matter.

(This book makes a compelling case that specialists fall behind generalists over time, and that the highest performing people in sports, business, and the arts are always increasing their depth and range at the same time. They specialize, but only after they have done many things and learned how the world fits together.)

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