Which work archetype are you?

by The Smartsheet UX Research Team

At Smartsheet, we're constantly developing new capabilities and improving our product. One of the tools we use to make sure those improvements best meet your needs is our set of work archetypes.

Our work archetypes are essentially personality types, but they describe  someone's work style —  what kind of work they do, and how they approach it. Our original goal when creating them was to better understand and serve Smartsheet customers, but we found that they could also be used to understand how people approach any type of work, regardless of the product they use. 

Which work archetype are you? Perhaps you're a Tech Champion, actively seeking out new technology to help you solve a problem. Or maybe you're a Process Maker, viewing technology more as a means to an end. Whatever the case, our short quiz will tell you which work archetype you are, so you can reflect on your work style and optimize your processes to match — and you can send it to your coworkers so they can do the same.

Keep reading to learn more about how we created our set of work archetypes, and how we currently use them at Smartsheet. Or, feel free to jump ahead to the quiz

How did we create our work archetypes?

The work archetypes were born out of extensive research. We started by surveying a group of 4,000 workers who represented a wide range of perspectives across different roles and industries. We asked them questions to measure their characteristics and preferences on a sliding scale, such as the type of projects they tend to work on (long and detailed, or quick and iterative) and how they like to make decisions (as a group, or on their own).

The results revealed five key traits that set them apart:

  1. Attitudes towards technology: Workers vary based on how advanced their technical skills are, and how willing they are to adopt new technology to create value.
  2. Complexity of work: Some people view their work as complex and having lots of moving parts, while others view their work as more straightforward and standardized.
  3. Collaboration behaviors: Some people prioritize creating solutions for a wide range of people, while others tend to prioritize themselves or their immediate team.
  4. Importance of aesthetics: How much they value the aesthetics and ease of use of a tool versus being able to adapt tools to what they’re working on.
  5. Approach to work: Some people  prefer to gather information, plan, and learn before starting a project — others prefer to just dive right in and learn as they go.

Next, we looked at the survey data to identify the workers who responded in a similar way across these five traits. We identified six distinct types of workers, which formed the basis of the work archetypes. Then, to get to know the six archetypes more deeply and to add more nuance to our survey data, we conducted interviews with individuals who fit each type.

At the end of this process, we had a thorough understanding of what characteristics define and distinguish each of the work archetypes.

What are the work archetypes?

The Tech Champion

The Tech Champion is an early adopter who actively seeks out new technology to solve problems. They put functionality and customization over aesthetics. They love to experiment, learning how the system works by testing the limits of what they can and can't do. Their goal is to take complex projects and tasks, and create tools to make things simple and efficient.

The Process Maker

The Process Maker wants to turn short term fixes into long term solutions for their organization. A lot of people depend on their work, and it is critically important to them that solutions and outputs are intuitive, easy to use, and look good. They consider themselves technical, and learn tools in depth, but new technology is only the means to an end.

The Go Getter

The Go Getter is technical and full of potential. They’re mostly individual contributors, creating solutions to problems they experience with their immediate team — and want results fast. They think in the short term, but that could change as they improve their skills and expand their scope. They take initiative and look for opportunities. Because they love to move fast, they need to quickly see the potential value in a product.

The Plate Spinner

The Plate Spinner is stretched thin. They definitely want to be more efficient, but they’re hesitant to try new tools, and they don’t have the time to dedicate to learning them. To be successful, they need to get started with something simple that requires little to no learning. They can't waste time figuring out a tool that is or even seems complicated, when they have “plates spinning” that might drop.

The Trusted Worker

The Trusted Worker doesn’t have a lot of opportunity to create efficiencies in their role; they’re mostly dealing with day to day tasks. They believe that tech can be a great help, but they’re not a big fan of adopting new things, and they expect their tools to be easy to use above all else.

The Lynchpin

The Lynchpin is an independent worker who touches a lot of custom work streams. They see themselves as the cog in a big complex wheel, and though they favor long-term solutions, they see a lot of their work streams as too custom to be standardized. Though they’re comfortable with tech, they’re skeptical of adopting new tools for work unless they’re simple and can directly make their life easier.

How are we using the work archetypes at Smartsheet?

The work archetypes are an important part of our design process at Smartsheet. We use them to keep the right people top of mind and involved throughout the ideation, prototyping, and testing phases of designing a new feature.

For example, while Tech Champions tend to want to build a solution from scratch, Plate Spinners need to get going quickly and are more likely to rely on templates to jump-start their solution. Therefore, by incorporating input from Plate Spinners while designing or redesigning our templates, we can make sure our improvements best serve those most likely to benefit from them.

Which work archetype are you?

Do any of the work archetypes sound familiar? To find out which work archetype you are, take our quiz! Then, please share your feedback with us — this will help us continue to improve our archetypes to better understand and serve our customers.

Take our quiz