The Six Types of Employees

09 Nov,2022




By Sanjeev Kotnala


Sanjeev KotnalaThe uncertainties associated with jobs are at an all-time high. The controlled unlocking, unpredictable economy, Hybrid and WFH priorities have cast further doubts on stability and continuity in employment. Currently, even the best of the performing employees feel threatened, knowing that past performance is no assurance of continued employment.

Usually, one expects the decision to issue a pink slip to rational. That the managers would naturally retain employees best placed to help achieve their KRA. However, many examples have demonstrated that these decisions are quick and not fully logical or rational.

Many times, the decision is based on the perceived employees brand image and its value for the manager and the organisation. The employee’s internal branding and alignment to the organisation’s and immediate senior’s dreams and aspirations critically influences the final decision. Ultimately, what matters is perception. The employee’s personal branding; Brand-I. Because perception is always stronger than reality.

Irrespective of the industry and its ecosystem, there are six types of employees.



The unknown face. The stakeholders neither know nor do they care if the employee exists. The employee is a count and number on the register and does what the employee is told to do. The employee never exceeds the brief; think of alternative solutions. The employee suffers from low self-esteem due to the inability to hold the position. Hence, the employee shies away from additional responsibilities hiding in the crowd under the pretext of teamwork. As a result, organisations avoid giving higher responsibility or tasks to the employee who is anyway an unknown entity.



The employee is known to the stakeholders and maybe the line manager. Perhaps they recognise the face and sometimes the name too. There is a degree of investment of the organisation into the employee. However, the employee is reasonably replaceable.

The stakeholders do not have a clear perception of employee capabilities. The employee surprises the organisation with thinking, implementation and delivery even in sinking causes. The sporadic performance and frequent lie-low attitude work against the employee. There is not much the organisation expects from the employee.



It is a surprise that the employee is still in the organisation. There are no hidden agendas or motivators to keep the employee. However, when the time comes, this employee will be one of the first to be given the pink slip. They are considered the reason for the team’s inefficiencies and deliveries.



The top-of-the-order employee. The reason behind the excellent performance. They are motivated and consistently deliver results. The employee is hungry for more and wants to expand their horizons. A career employee who chases position and power.

The employee engine demands constant up-gradation of responsibility, talent, expertise, salary, and perks. One of the last to be sacrificed. Typically, there exists a level gap between them and the senior, to safeguard the insecurities of not-so-competent seniors.



This employee is a reasonably good performer and delivers most of the time. The employee Is disciplined and values organisation culture, and the only things that restrict him are expectations and SOPs. They are loyal to the organisation and good team workers. They survive by keeping a low profile and hate questioning. They take time to grow and, with time, specialise in routine tasks. Usually, in the changing scenario where headcount is to be decreased, they are retained as a performing known devil. And there is a higher version where this employee upgrades to ‘MUST WORK FOR US’.



This is an upgraded version of ‘Must work for us’. The best employee. There are two-level. On the first level, the employer will hate if the employee was to work for the competition. On the second level, the employer will not want the employee to work for the competition; AT ANY COST.

If there is no suitable role within the organisation, the organisation will create a position just to deny the competition an opportunity to hire. Many times, they are carefully contracted and outpriced from the market.



If you are an employed with  an organisation, it is time to evaluate your position. Where do you stand? Which type of employee are you? What is your internal personal branding? How aligned you are with the Boss’s ambition. Dreams and KRAs? If you want to upgrade, what must you do? What will help strengthen the desired perception?

The natural logical aim is to be at least ‘Good for the organisation’ category and if possible upgrade to ‘Must work for us’ and ‘Must not work for the competition’. It is where the strength and power begins and ends.  These build resistance against changing socio-economic scenarios and pink slips and command the premium.

Be honest and answer to yourself: what type of employee are you?


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