What is the Job Outlook for Industrial Psychology?

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If you are interested in becoming an industrial psychologist, you may be wondering if the number of available jobs is increasing or decreasing. Also known as industrial-organizational psychology, this field focuses on studying behavior in the workplace. An industrial psychologist may assist with hiring and training new employees. He or she also may figure out how to improve productivity.

Job Outlook for Industrial Psychologists

Look in any article about job outlooks and you’ll find industrial psychologist labeled as a “hot job” or “best job” based on salary and job outlook. Psychology Today noted that job opportunities for industrial psychologists are the best out of all of the areas of psychology. Many graduates work in the private sector, so their average salary is higher.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook groups industrial psychologists in with other types of psychologists. As with other fields of psychology, industrial psychologists will find more job opportunities if they earn a master’s degree or Ph.D. The Occupational Outlook Handbook lists a master’s degree as the entry-level educational requirement. The number of jobs available for industrial psychologists is expected to grow by at least 29 percent between 2010 and 2020.

Other Opportunities for Industrial Psychologists

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology may be interested in jobs in human resources. The Occupational Outlook Handbook states that jobs as human resources managers are expected to grow by 10 to 19 percent by 2020. If you are interested in specializing in training or labor relations, your job outlook is a little better. Jobs as a training specialist or labor relations specialist are expected to grow by 20 to 28 percent by 2020.

If you have an advanced degree, you may be qualified to teach industrial psychology at a college or university. The Occupational Outlook Handbook states that the job outlook for postsecondary teachers is about average. The number of these jobs is expected to grow by about 17 percent by 2020. This number can be misleading. Certain areas of postsecondary teaching may see a shrinking job market, while other areas may see a growth in jobs.

Graduates trained in industrial psychology may be interested in the job listings at the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc.. These positions include jobs in academia, employee testing, and institutional research. Graduates looking to work in this field will find open positions all across the United States and around the world.

If you are looking for a position in industrial psychology, your highest degree will dictate what jobs are available to you. For job seekers with a bachelor’s degree in industrial or organizational psychology, there are many positions in human resources or data analysis. For people with a master’s degree in industrial psychology, there are many positions in training management. If you have earned your Ph.D in the field, then you may want to consider teaching at a university. Industrial psychology is a field that will continue to grow at least until 2020.

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5 Most Inspirational Corporate Leaders

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For decades the criteria for judging the performance of any chief executive officer has been the bottom line – quarterly financial reports and stock performance being the metrics of most importance. Certainly the financial health of any company, and the return on stockholder investment, are critical parameters, but the most esteemed leaders know financial success depends on creating working environments that empower and motivate employees.

Based on their ability to inspire, motivate, and demonstrate worthy leadership, here is a selection of corporate leaders who are dedicated to the proposition that their employees should feel good about being a part of the success of their companies. These CEOs set an example for their people and never lose sight of the fact that happy workers are productive workers. Their inspiration is infectious, and as their companies continue to grow and profit, their ability to enlist their employees in their corporate visions is obviously good for the bottom line, too.

TONY HSEIH

CEO – Zappos, Inc.

An entrepreneur at heart, Tony Hseih parlayed a home based photo shop business into an Internet advertising exchange he later sold to Microsoft for $265 million, then reinvested this capital in the on-line retail shoe store he called Zappos. With estimated sales for 2013 at just under $2 billion, his Henderson, Nevada based company employs over 1200 people who love to come to work every day. Tony never stops reinventing himself and his company vision, and in 2010 he authored a the book Delivering Happiness which, in just three years, has become much more than a book – it is a movement that is restructuring corporate America. Not surprisingly, Hseih gives credit to his philosophy to the teachings of the Tao.

JOHN MACKEY

CEO – Whole Foods Market

From a single food store in Austin, Texas that catered to vegetarians, John Mackey’s vision has come to fruition in a big way. Whole Foods now operates 300 full service stores and employs more than 68,000 people who are called “team members.” With annual sales topping $10 billion, Whole Foods is mostly organic and Mackey inspires people to “think about what we eat and where it comes from.” Though the company is still headquartered in Austin, John and the management team believe in a decentralized structure and they encourage employees to try new ideas without the blessing of senior executives. They have a “buy local” policy that encourages partnership between growers and producers and the Whole Foods stores. Employees in each store form teams of eight to ten people (produce, meat, bakery, wine, etc.) and bonuses are paid based on team, not individual, performance. This innovative team building concept has kept employee turnover low and morale very high, leading to increasing profit margins every year.

PAUL JACOBS

CEO – Qualcomm, Inc.

Dr. Paul E. Jacobs is the architect of the Qualcomm strategic vision and his leadership and oversight of the initiatives and operations is inspirational to a growing employee population of more than 5,000. Dr. Jacobs is dedicated to cultivating the most important resource of the company – its people. The work environment in San Diego fosters innovation and employees are constantly encouraged to take advantage of numerous internal opportunities to grow personally and professionally. Jacobs subscribes to the philosophy that “the companies that last, put their people first.” The company cafeteria serves free lunches and office vending machines don’t take money. Innovative 12 hour work days and a flex-time program allows employees to attend school, take care of family priorities, and be a part of the goals and aspirations of the company.

AARON JAGDFELD

CEO – Generac Corporation

Aaron Jagdfeld is the chief executive officer of Generac, a Waukesha, Wisconsin maker of electric generators, a company on a growth curve of 15 percent annually with a 70 percent share of the home generator market. Jagdfeld is committed to manufacturing and sourcing parts in the United States and he is proud of employing more than 2,500 people in Wisconsin. Unwilling to accept that manufacturing is no longer viable in America, John has intense national pride and believes small companies are on the comeback in the U.S. By investing in state-of-the-art facilities with factory automation and robotics he has made the manufacturing facilities a safer, more pleasant workplace and the pride of accomplishment can be seen in his employees. Jagdfeld says, “Young people are being pushed toward service industries, but there’s a lot to be said for seeing what you made on a shelf at Home Depot.” Generac sales of $1.4 billion in 2013 represent a 50 percent increase in two years – ample proof that his vision – Made in America – is spot on.

MARK PARKER

CEO – Nike, Incorporated

Mark Parker is only the third CEO of Nike, a post he has held since 2006. Fully embracing the philosophy of founder Phil Knight, who still sits on the Board of Directors, Parker believes Nike remains at the top of the sporting goods market because people are inspired to be all they can be. Quarterly two-day pep rallies are held by the company to spotlight the vision of Nike and to encourage employees to imagine their own role at the company. Employees are fiercely loyal. In fact, it is not unusual to see the Nike swoosh symbol tattooed below the knee on the left leg (the lead leg for runners) of employees. The Beaverton, Oregon headquarters campus has tennis courts, indoor and outdoor tracks, soccer fields, and an Olympic pool where swimming, scuba, and kayaking lessons are offered. With annual sales of over $25 billion, Nike continues to make strong profits under the leadership of Parker. He believes the laid-back culture of the company gives employees more casual exposure to superiors, helping them to “navigate the corporate terrain” and succeed in meeting their own personal goals by advancing in the Nike organization.

LEADERSHIP MEANS LEADING

Business enterprises do not need managers, they need leaders. A manager may be good at organizing, measuring, observing, or reporting, but a manager is seldom a leader. Leaders – such as those who are featured here – inspire, motivate, captivate, and demonstrate how to turn dreams into reality. Harvard Business School students have identified other leaders who have inspired them in their quests for success. Perhaps these people will motivate a new generation of American leaders who will restore a sense of accomplishment and pride in the companies they lead.

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Performance Reviews: A Necessary Tool or Not?

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performance appraisalPerformance appraisals are widely criticized as a management technique. Critics say that they harm the relationship between the employee and their boss or the entire company and that they are ineffective as a measurement tool. While these facts may be true in some cases, there is considerable evidence that performance appraisals aren’t going anywhere and that no better alternative has been found yet.

Assessing the Use of Performance Appraisals

Sometime around 2002, Edward Lawler III, a Distinguished Professor of Business at the University of Southern California, investigated whether corporations used performance reviews and what they thought of them. He analyzed more than fifty organizations and found that every one of them had some type of performance management system. Some of these worked better than others, but only a few said they were considering doing away with them entirely.

In 2012, Professor Lawler again assessed the status of performance reviews in the workplace, this time using 100 top corporations. Again, all of these companies stated that they used performance management systems and only six percent of them said they were considering ending their use. On average, 93 percent of the employees of each company received performance reviews and they received them at least once a year.

One interesting fact is that companies rated their performance management systems about equally satisfactory ten years ago as they did today. Apparently, there was neither a great alternative to performance reviews nor a way to improve the process significantly discovered in the last decade. The lack of decline in the use of performance reviews points towards a long future for these assessments as tools as well.

The Argument Against Performance Reviews

Doctor Samuel Culbert works for the School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles. He believes that performance reviews are more harmful than helpful and that alternatives do exist. Dr. Culbert believes that the number one reason that bosses and subordinates do not work well together is because performance reviews undermine their working relationship and destroy trust.

Although performance reviews are widely used, Dr. Culbert believes that they are far too subjective to actually be of any use. Different bosses often rate the same person’s efforts on completely opposite ends of the scale, for example. He also points out that pay grades and raises are usually determined by the economy and performance reviews are only a fiction that is used to justify certain employees receiving or being denied a raise.

If performance reviews aren’t the answer, then what is? Dr. Culbert cites the use of something he calls a “performance preview.” This involves boss and subordinate communicating more openly and attempting to work as a team rather than one evaluating the other. In some workplaces these frank talks are already occurring but almost nowhere have they replaced performance reviews.

The Bottom Line

Professor Lawler does not dispute that some performance management systems are better than others. However, he believes that there is no effective alternative to their presence. Dr. Culbert believes that performance reviews are harmful and that an alternative does exist. However, his viewpoint is clearly the one fighting an uphill battle.

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Top 3 Things Employees Want from Their Managers

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If you’re the manager of a business, you may not think that making your employees happy or fulfilling their needs should be your top priority. On the contrary, though, keeping the people who work for you satisfied is key to running a successful business. Unless you can truly do it all on your own, you need them to show up and work hard for you and your company. Here are a few things employees want from their managers.

A Purpose

According to Inc. Magazine, employees want to know that they’re working hard for a good reason. In order to do their jobs effectively and efficiently, employees need a purpose. Share information about the company, explain why their jobs are so important and listen to their feedback and ideas. Do these things on a regular basis if you want your employees to keep working at a high level of productivity for you.

Achievable Goals

Monotony is not just boring, it’s suffocating. Without something to work for, daily tasks seem heavy, burdensome and never-ending. Thinking about your job ten years down the road and it being exactly the same as it is now is enough to make a lot of employees jump ship. You need to set goals for your employees.  Goals have to measurable and attainable – think about how you set goals for yourself when you became manager or jump-started a business. It’s no different for employees other than that the goals are unique to their positions.

Responsibility and Trust

Employees want autonomy, not a micro-manager. Setting tasks and goals for employees is one thing. Telling them exactly how they should do them is another. If you’ve hired responsible, capable people, then you should trust that they can get the job done right in their own, unique way. A good manager and quality company will want their employees to grow, evolve and learn. Thinking creatively and discovering new ways to do things is part of that process. Give employees the freedom they need and deserve so they will help your company prosper and grow.

Many managers and business may assume that their employees want things like huge raises, big year-end bonuses, paid vacation time and unlimited sick days. While all of these things would be nice, they still don’t add much value to a job. For the most part, the majority of employees want to actually enjoy their job – after all, they’re spending most of their days at work. Giving them a sense of purpose and worth is the best gift you have to offer.

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Maximizing The Benefits Of Workplace Diversity Training

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diversityWorkplace diversity training is an exercise designed to help coworkers foster a healthy work environment that promotes respect and open communication through the understanding that everyone is different. While experiencing diversity training, employees learn that regardless of someone’s race, religion, background, sexuality or any other factor that they might consider divisive, equality is the most important standard to promote because it creates a workplace where everyone is on equal footing. When diversity training is implemented properly and the right amount of sensitivity towards different cultures and lifestyles is embraced as a part of the training, it can promote open and honest communication and a deeper bond between coworkers.

Open Your Mind

As an employee who is experiencing diversity training for the first time, the most important thing to do in order to maximize the overall benefit of the training is to go into it with a completely open mind. While everyone identifies most closely with their own cultural background, religion, sexual orientation and the other aspects of themselves that comprise their own unique character, part of diversity training is coming to understand that the world outside the window is made up of many unique characters who have different experiences, perspectives, thoughts and opinions on topics that individual may have considered to be cut and dry. By truly listening and learning about coworkers, their backgrounds and how to be culturally sensitive, the opportunity for those participating in the training to open their minds to new ideas and methods of communication is limitless.

Open Your Ears

When an employee is able to learn more about the diverse cultural, intellectual and emotional natures of their coworkers, they are able to foster an environment where everyone is on equal ground. A greater understanding and respect for each other can be achieved among a group of coworkers that were previously easily divided by misunderstandings about one another. Having an open and honest dialogue that helps coworkers to understand both how they are different from one another and how they are similar, the nature of communication in the workplace changes. Interpersonal dialogues are conducted with more respect and the opinions and ideas of others are given more gravitas. This creates an atmosphere in which coworkers can work together as a diverse team to use their varying strengths in order to create unique and exciting ideas that divisive behavior would previously have made prohibitive. According to Gregg Ward of The Workforce Diversity Network, diversity training “should be a beginning of a powerful internal dialogue within your company and lead everyone toward new perspectives, actions and initiatives.”

One of the greatest assets a team can have is diversity, and when diversity training is implemented correctly with employees being taught the importance of making the most of their training, workplace productivity and happiness can skyrocket. A diverse workplace is an asset both to employees and to an employer. A team of people who are able to work well together because they understand the diverse nature of their coworkers is a team that can communicate in a beneficial and efficient way. By promoting the implementation of skills and behaviors learned through diversity training, an employer can help to create a workplace environment that is efficient, productive and happy.

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5 Things Most Employees Need To Be Happy at Work

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As the manager or owner of a business, the bottom line is likely your top priority. Is there one thing you can do to make sure your business makes more money? We think so: make sure your employees are happy. They’ll work harder for you, stay in their position for longer and increase your bottom line. Following are five things that will help make satisfied, and therefore productive, workers.

Ease Stress

Help to eliminate your employees’ stress. Nobody likes dealing with angry customers and your employees should know how to effectively handle a difficult patron. Remember, though, that your employees are just human and they have a limit. Certain businesses are more prone to stress than others, like food service and retail. Make sure to give your employees the tools they need to handle their job. Provide training that will help them handle unhappy and complaining customers.

Provide Time Off

In a recent Forbes article, Steve Cooper suggests giving your employees a day or two of extra, paid time off around the holidays.  This is especially valued if your business, like many others, has been impacted by the economy and you’ve been unable to offer pay raises this year. If the business can do without staff for a full 48 hours, other than an already-scheduled day off on a holiday, consider providing this extra bonus. They’ll come back refreshed and happy, accomplishing two days of work in their very first day back at the office.

Offer New Challenges

Nobody likes being stuck in a dead-end job, even if it’s in a good position at a thriving company. If there isn’t any room for growth, create the room. New responsibilities and positions that are created for the employee show them that they are valued and assure them they are doing a good job.  Employees should be compensated for their extra work, though – otherwise, it’s taking advantage of them.

Offer Incentives

If employees are working for an incentive, they’re more likely to show up and get the work done more efficiently. Offer bonuses, even if they’re small, suggests BusinessNewsDaily Staff Writer, David Mielach. Even a $50 year-end bonus is better than nothing at all.

Create a Pleasant Atmosphere

When employees enjoy walking into the office in the morning, they’re not going to call out sick as much or take a few extra minutes on their lunch break. Make an inviting, favorable office environment and you’ll see that the desks are occupied more often. Playing music in the office, serving fresh coffee and making sure the temperature is favorable are all little steps toward big improvement.

A majority of the time, making your employees happier won’t cost you much money or time. In return, though, you’ll get much more than you put out. Your employees are the cornerstone of your business and you need them to survive and thrive.

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Workplace Dress Codes Evolve According to Jobs’ Demands

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Although scores of researchers have drilled down on the question of how casual dress influences employees’ job performance, they have yet to reach accord on a definitive answer. Southern California corporate recruiter Veronica Gonzalez summarizes, “The impact of casual dress on job performance varies radically among industries, professions, and sectors.” Gonzalez says the research clearly indicates that casual dress improves morale and breaks down barriers between management and rank-and-file workers, but research also proves that, when “casual” degenerates into sloppy and sleazy, every aspect of a company’s operation suffers. Still, Gonzalez stresses, “The jury is still out on everything else.”

dress codes

The Dress Dode Remains in Effect

Veronica Gonzalez vividly remembers the first time she met John Walton, heir to the Walton family fortune and director of its philanthropic activities. “Walton belonged to a group of San Diego business and educational leaders who pooled their resources in support of the city’s first charter school. For the group’s first meeting, I, like all the other executives and high-powered professionals, entered the big conference room in ‘full battle regalia’—designer labels from head to toe and hair done up in a very proper bun.” Gonzalez smiles at her recollection of 30 leaders dressed up to meet a member of the world’s wealthiest family. “Walton himself showed-up in an old LaCoste polo shirt, Levis 501s, and well-worn Sperry topsiders. Although no one said anything, everybody in the room clearly felt surprised. Some people have very poor poker faces,” she giggles a little as she goes fast-forward to the conclusion. “Later, I had an opportunity to speak at length with Walton’s personal assistant, and I eventually felt bold enough to say I felt sorely over-dressed and my awkwardness probably limited my contributions to the discussion.

“The woman laughed out loud, explaining, ‘When you’re a billionaire boat builder, you can wear whatever you damn please. Everybody else must follow the dress code.’ The woman herself wore an Armani business suit.”

Different Clothes for Different Occupations

According to Gonzalez, “Everybody else still must follow the dress code,” and she points out that Financial Powerhouse UBS enforces extremely strict and formal appearance standards for its employees, as outlined in its 44 page dress code. Presumably, the dress code is justified on grounds that all the company’s associates interact with the public, and their appearance influences public perception of the entire UBS corporation. Gonzalez readily agrees, however, “The ‘official uniform’ of business and industry has evolved and relaxed.” She aptly observes corporations have modified their dress codes according to where employees work, what they do and how they do it. “You can tell almost exactly what a person does according to what he or she wears,” Gonzalez insists, illustrating her point: “If you see a 20-something man or woman in slacks and a polo shirt, you know he or she works in customer service. If you see a woman wearing a blazer and high heels, you know she does something in a cubicle. A woman in a loose-fitting, exotic dress and an over-sized sweater is probably a psychologist or social worker. Most men wearing button-down collar shirts and repp ties are attorneys or accountants. Veteran teachers are wise enough to wear overalls.” Her list continues indefinitely.

“Appropriate” Emerges as the Key word

According to Gonzalez, “’Casual’ is a slippery, subjective term.” She notes, “For bank executives and high-priced litigators, ‘casual’ means a blazer and khakis instead of a three-piece suit; for women’s fashion retailers, it means ‘the cute outfits you wear every day.’” She wholeheartedly insists that “casual” does not influence performance; “appropriate” makes all the difference.

Gonzalez put herself through college and graduate school by modeling, and that experience informs her opinion and advice: “When they let us keep the clothes we modeled, I kept only the pieces that moved with me. Therefore, if I were developing appearance standards and a dress code, I would spend days, maybe weeks, studying my employees in action.” Her tone adds emphasis to her focus on action. “I would scrutinize every detail of their clothing’s impact on their self-esteem, their freedom of motion, their interactions with clients and colleagues, and their willingness to get dirty with their jobs’ more difficult requirements. Then, I would construct the standards around my assessment of everything that enables my people to perform at their very best.”

Smiling, Gonzalez concludes, “I never would develop ‘casual’ standards, but I certainly would develop ‘appropriate’ standards, and my employees would say, ‘When we’re lookin’ good, we’re workin’ good.’”

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Should An Overqualified Candidate Get The Job?

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In these economic times, there are more people searching for jobs than in years past. This both helps and hinders the hiring process. While there is a larger job pool of applicants for most jobs, many who apply are either under- or over-qualified. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines overqualified as someone who has “more education, training, or experience than a job calls for.” You may not think that being overqualified for a job would be a problem, but in many cases employers will not hire overqualified candidates. As with hiring any new employee, there are benefits and risk involved in this decision. To make this decision a company must decide; would this candidate be an asset, or a liability?

The Pros: Less Training, More Inspiration

There are many elements that would benefit employers when hiring an overqualified candidate. For example, they require less training, and thus save the company both time and money. These candidates already know the basics behind how to do their job. They only need to be trained on how to apply those concepts to a specific industry.

According to Career Coach Linda Rolie, another positive aspect of hiring an overqualified employee is how it can positively affect other employees. Overqualified employees could become an inspiration or a mentor to other employees. This is definitely true for younger employees who want to get somewhere in the company or in a particular field. Overqualified employees would be a valuable source of information and support for such an employee.

An overqualified employee could create healthy competition within the company. For example, if their was an internal promotion in the near future, other employees would strive to produce the same quality of work as the overqualified employee, so that they would have a better chance of receiving the promotion. This would create a more efficient work environment.

The Cons: Unmotivated Flight Risks

On the other hand, there could possibly be negative effects of hiring an overqualified employee. Unless the applicant has a love for the industry, they are most likely taking the job because of the current economy. This means that once the economy improves, they are more likely to leave for a better opportunity.

Many overqualified candidates feel that their time is more valuable than someone who is appropriately qualified for the job. They know how much they are worth and are unlikely to be satisfied until they receive that amount. Because of this, they are also more likely to ask for more frequent pay increases.

Once the employee has settled into their new position, they can experience a lack of motivation. An overqualified employee may become bored and restless if the work is not challenging enough. The chance of this happening is amplified if the employee exhibits signs of the previous disadvantage.

The decision to hire an overqualified employee depends on many factors. For some positions, they may be a perfect fit, but for others a less experienced candidate would be a better choice. As with many hiring decisions, it all comes down to the right applicant, applying to the right job, at the right time.

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Psychometry Measures Character, Personality and Potential

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Translated literally from its Latin roots, the word “psychometry” means “measurement of the spirit.” In everyday practice, the word “personality” substitutes for spirit, and psychometricians generally attempt to assess the most prominent characteristics in people’s personalities. The most widely used assessment instruments measure people’s intellects, perceptions, emotions, values and judgments. In business and industry, human resources managers use psychometric assessments to evaluate applicants’ fitness for different kinds of jobs, to identify and groom emerging leaders, to match mentors with protégés, and to develop effective, efficient work groups. In other words, organizational psychologists and HRMs use personality tests to “fit” people with positions and “match” mentors with protégés.

Growth and Evolution of Psychometry

“Intellectual Quotient” (IQ) tests represent the oldest and arguably the most reliable among psychometric tools. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, psychologists developed efficient, effective tools for measuring people’s learning and reasoning capacities. IQ especially manifests in people’s ability to detect and predict patterns and relationships so that testing does not require advanced literacy skills. Kindergartners take IQ tests. Beginning in the 1950s, educators applied IQ test results in ability grouping and curriculum development, and pervasive American high school “tracking” still reflects the influence of IQ testing on school organization and management. America’s leading corporations adapted educators’ practices to their own purposes, using IQ scores to place workers in appropriate positions, and especially using them to recruit or promote ostensibly more intelligent people for more sophisticated, complicated work.

Because, however, intelligence represents just one element in the human psyche, and because intelligence tests cannot predict motivation, stress tolerance or risk tolerance, psychometricians developed increasingly sophisticated assessments of people’s “emotional intelligence.” In the late 1970s and early 1980s, “EQ” was promoted to equal importance with IQ, and EQ was generally regarded as the catalyst to exceptional educational and professional achievement. Continuing research indicated that “high achievers,” people with above average intelligence and exceptional willingness to take risks, out-performed their more “gifted” peers in almost all academic, social and professional situations. Subsequent research generally confirms that exceptionally high intelligence often correlates with anti-social behavior. That research encouraged business leaders to attach greater importance to personality assessment in hiring and promotion processes.

Personality assessments have proven their value in promoting growth of productive working relationships. People with complementary personalities performing similar tasks tend to become loyal, efficient, effective teams. Psychometric instruments also have proven especially useful in leadership development, where key elements in personality, values and judgment largely determine a person’s leadership style and the kinds of relationships leaders will develop with their followers. Because, however, psychometry is not nearly so objective, empirical and mathematical as its practitioners sometimes make it appear, critics allege that psychometric assessments frequently obscure bias and discrimination in hiring and promotion practices.

The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator

More than 40 million people have completed and worked with the results of the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI). The Indicator yields powerful insights into people’s perceptions and judgments—how they see themselves in the world and how they make decisions based on their assumptions about their place in it. Perception extends well beyond the five senses; it involves complex processes for developing awareness, and values almost always influence, often distort perceptions. Judgment inevitably follows perception, and although people draw conclusions at five-times the speed of light, nevertheless they follow predictable, measurable processes for judging. The more people know about how they perceive and judge, the more they can capitalize on their innate strengths and overcome or work around their weaknesses. Derived from precepts of Jungian psychoanalysis, and focused on perception and judgment, the MBTI ultimately assigns people to one of 16 different “types.” Those types establish the foundations for effective performance and collaboration. Although it is extremely dangerous in the hands of amateurs, the MBTI remains by far the most widely used personality test in graduate schools, industries and professions around the world.

Best Use of Psychometric Results

The MBTI adapts to almost any classroom, corporate or workplace situation, but it has proven most valuable for matching mentors with protégés. Because mentoring is the second fastest-growing business sector, rivaling growth in IT, a considerable body of research has developed around best practices in mentoring. Personality matching stands out as the single greatest predictor and determinant of success in mentoring. Of course, mentor and protégé must have complementary personalities, but the research indicates that identical personalities are more dangerous than radically conflicting perceptions and judgments. Radical conflict can evolve into healthy creative tension, but people with identical personalities tend to confirm one another’s errors and fears.

Cautions and Caveats

Julia Drew-Renfro, a San Diego executive consultant, summarizes professionals’ most common, most urgent concern: “The most popular personality tests come with pamphlet-sized guides to interpreting people’s results, creating the illusion that anybody can administer the tests and explain their results. Nothing could be further from the truth—especially because the results often tend to stun and overwhelm people.” Drew-Renfro emphasizes, “The MBTI and other high-quality personality tests are not just bigger, more complicated ‘Cosmo’ quizzes. Managers and executives must leave assessment and explanation to qualified professionals.”

About the Guest Author

Anna Lynn Gaston, ISTJ (Myers-Briggs personality type), is a practicing psychologist and researcher who frequently utilizes the practice of psychometrics to help her patients. More of her expert advice can be found at Top 10 Online Psychology Degree Programs.

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Top 5 Ways to Reduce Work Burnout

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work burnoutWork burnout causes unnecessary stress and burden, diminishing work performance and job satisfaction. Many are familiar with this unfortunate occurrence, particularly those in high-stress, repetitive, or service positions. Factory workers, teachers, social workers, and nurses commonly experience work burnout. The good news is that there are methods to counter the effects of work burnout. Here are five ways to help reduce the drain that work burnout can cause.

Talk to the Boss

Talking to the boss is a tricky prospect. Blatantly discussing job dissatisfaction with a superior can result in improved work conditions — or a pink slip. In theory, a professional meeting with a higher-up should foster ideas that create better work conditions. In reality, it could be a one-way ticket to a private escort through the front door. If it is a viable option, go for it. Communicating may be the answer. If the boss would not be receptive, hold back. Other options will not result in being fired.

Take Vacation Days

If vacation days are available, use them. Some employees avoid taking vacation time out of guilt or pressure, but as a good friend of mine once reminded me, “It’s not a benefit if you’re not using it.” Surrendering to a guilty conscious or job pressure is not going to relieve work burnout or stress. If anything, it will just compound the problem. Vacations exist for the very purpose of taking some time off for a little liberation and release. It could also be the perfect remedy for burnout. Returning to the job fresh and invigorated could change a negative outlook into a positive one.

Take a Break

Work burnout can be spurred by feeling trapped in a mundane, repetitive routine. Taking a few extra breaks can add some pep and zest to an otherwise dull workday. For those with jobs that must adhere to a rigid schedule with designated breaks (i.e. factory workers, nurses), taking a breather here and there is easier said than done. If the breaks are inflexible, make the most of it. Enjoy the time to its fullest by reading a favorite book or magazine. Even gathering with other coworkers to discuss a favorite movie or show can relieve some stress and make the day more pleasant.

Try New Tasks

Speak with management about finding new opportunities within the workplace. Anything from a different schedule to a newly adjusted work description can go a long way toward alleviating job burnout and stress, according to Forbes. Many employers offer flexible scheduling or alternate shifts. Consider looking into these options.

Change Jobs

Sometimes giving up is the best thing to do. If a job creates more misery than enjoyment, it might just be best to move on. While taking this step may seem extreme, a change of professional scenery may very well be the healthiest solution. There is always a chance that job dissatisfaction is really an internal cue to seek progress and find a new field.

About the Guest Author

Margaret Glass is a psychologist and professional life coach who excels at helping people better manage their work-life balance. You can read more of what she has to say in her Guide to the Best Online Degrees in Organizational Behavior.

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Information Security Trends for 2013: An Evaluation

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Information Security is a valued and interesting profession for anyone interested in being competitive in the computer or tech related field. After all, the entire company is putting its security in your hands, and you will be responsible for protecting important trade secrets in many situations. As a result, companies will pay well for someone who really knows what they’re doing; salary.com reports the median salary for an Information Security Director is more than $142,000.

In the ever-evolving field of Information Security, qualified people will increasingly be needed, and the more you keep up-to-date with emerging trends, the more marketable you are. here are a few trends in the Information Security arena to expect in 2013:

Preparing for the Inevitable

A new trend in 2013 for Information Security is that breaches are just going to happen. In the past, many experts have said that it was possible to defend from every single attack that might breach a particular information system. But now it seems that getting hacked is simply a question of when it will happen. There’s no if involved. The main reason for this change in the coming year is the very large volume of transactions that now occur across most systems.

It’s a fact that the more transactions and the higher the volume that occurs in a system, the more difficult it is to prevent unauthorized access to that system. There are so many transactions now that the breach-free system is becoming an unobtainable legend.

Instead, many companies are now focusing on responding to breaches when they happen. The focus is on detection, rather than prevention. If breaches can be fixed very quickly after they happen, then they could potentially be nullified altogether in terms of how much damage they do to a system, or how many information is compromised.

Mobile Anti-theft

The combination of the high price and small size make mobile units a coveted prize. These devices could also often have access to wider systems. This means that the possibility for a wider breach is possible when ever a thief gains access to a mobile device that was used by a company employee.

This means that it’s an important trend in the coming year to add anti-theft and tracking capabilities to mobile devices. In the case of smartphones, the GPS device makes it much easier to track. There are many plans for companies in the coming year to add remote-wipe abilities to handsets delivered to employees as well. This allows the company to destroy any information that could be a potential problem if a mobile unit becomes lost or stolen. According to ITBusinessEdge, this particular type of security breach doesn’t just happen from thieves outside the organization; often a corporation’s own employees are culprits, making a comprehensive plan to keep mobile devices safe an absolute must for any company.

Social Engineering Attacks

Since social network sites are exploding, many attacks will now focus on these networks. Many schemes will involve sending false messages to people pretending to be from Facebook or some other site, to then gain access to the social network of that person. They can then gain access to many other sites as well, through the piggy-back system now being used across many major sites. This means a breach could spiral out of control from just one entry point.

The new technologies that are continuing to expand in the new year will have s a significant effect on Information Security. As a result, companies will be looking to expand their staff of knowledgeable employees.

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Mentoring Builds People, Teams and Leaders

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Count this trend as more living proof that “all things old are new again.” Almost as old as civilization itself, mentoring is once again emerging as industry’s most popular and productive training method. In fact, rivaling IT’s explosive growth, “coaching” currently ranks second among fast-growing business sectors. Organizational psychologists’ rise to prominent positions in major corporations has revolutionized executives’ view of coaching. Whereas most executives once believed anybody can coach and trusted their managers to do it, they now recognize the value of professional coaches, and they especially recognize the value of using professional coaches’ skills and talents to establish in-house mentoring programs.

Although mentoring ultimately brings approximately 500 percent return on investment, in the short term it cuts production and increases labor costs. Therefore, most cost-conscious companies focus their mentoring efforts on new employees’ training, struggling employees’ retraining, and development of new leaders.

Mentoring As Enculturation

In many large corporations, mentoring is a second essential step in new employees’ training. Even when new employees bring considerable experience and skill to their jobs, they require training in “this company’s way of getting things done.” In most companies, methods are the medium of exchange in the company’s culture. In other words, when employees use similar methods, they develop similar patterns of thought, and the culture thrives on widespread like-mindedness. At least a century of industrial experience has proven old-fashioned “didactic” methods work best for developing new employees’ command of everyday procedures. Computers or professional trainers teach essential skills, model the skills, help new employees practice the skills, and ultimately test new employees’ mastery of the skills. New employees emerge from basic instruction prepared to take their places in the workforce.

Basic training does not, however, prepare new employees to assume their roles in the workplace culture. Mentoring helps new employees learn, practice, and demonstrate the culture’s values, norms and expectations. Mentors show their protégés how to play their roles, contribute, claim their places and develop healthy friendships in the company’s distinctive culture. In perhaps the most prominent example of on-going values training and systematic acculturation, The Home Depot gives all of its associates a “values wheel”—a nicely embroidered circular badge employees must display prominently on their aprons. The wheel clearly shows the inter-relations among the eight values that drive the Home Depot operations, and trainers tell new associates to use “the values wheel” as a guide to effective customer service and decision making. In the best-performing stores, department supervisors mentor new associates in effective everyday use of the wheel.

Mentoring As Intervention

During a new employee’s first year, a Fortune 500 company typically invests approximately $10,000 in his or her training. Naturally, then, employee retention becomes as financially significant as it is important for morale, productivity, efficiency and employees’ job satisfaction. It costs less to intervene with a current employee than to recruit and train a new one. Just as importantly, research clearly indicates that over 80% of low-performing employees understand their jobs’ requirements and have mastered all the skills they need to succeed. At-risk employees typically struggle because they have not adapted their perceptions and judgment to operate effectively in the workplace culture. First stressing practice, feedback and reflection, effective mentoring changes how struggling employees see their environments and relationships, and it changes how they draw conclusions and make decisions about their contribution to workplace society. Reflection generally emphasizes two essential questions: (1)Dealing with failure, ask, “Where did I go wrong?” and find courage to answer honestly; (2) dealing with success, ask, “How can I repeat my behaviors to become consistently successful?” The second question often involves the complicated process of transforming instinct and intuition into conscious principles of choice.

In its second phase, mentoring evolves into collaboration between mentor and protégé. They work shoulder-to-shoulder on projects the two of them identify as important and meaningful. Mentor and protégé share both the decision-making process and responsibility for their choices’ results. Of course, a mentor cannot allow a protégé to make a faulty or dangerous decision, but mentors can encourage their protégés to take some reasonable risks. As they complete their project, they discuss how values and ethics influence their ability to meet their objectives and satisfy high standards. When they complete their collaboration, they share its rewards. When mentoring woks as it should, protégés return to their jobs with confidence, enthusiasm and dedication to team play.

Mentoring for Emerging Leaders

Observation and psychometric evaluation help businesses identify emerging leaders—not employees who simply are good at their jobs, but proficient workers who clearly exert healthy influence over their colleagues. Working with potential leaders, mentors help their protégés redefine their roles in the work environment. A few Fortune 500 companies still try to press promising candidates into “the company mold,” but the most forward thinking companies have learned to cultivate new leaders’ styles according to the results of personality testing. Mentors’ personalities complement their protégés’, and many mentors use relentless critical questioning to sharpen their protégés’ analytic and decision-making skills. Exemplary mentors typically use their protégés’ ability to hold their own in spirited give and take as the measure of their readiness for management.

The Greatest Benefit of Mentoring

Of course, relationships between mentors and their protégés are perfectly reciprocal; mentors benefit at least as much as their protégés. Alumni of effective mentoring programs routinely use the word “empowering” to describe their experiences, and almost all report their experiences boosted their self-esteem and helped them discover and develop professional roles that assure their continuing success and advancement.

About the Guest Author

Howard Chelius is writer and researcher in the field of organizational psychology.  He has worked extensively with both mentors and their “mentees” alike, and has collaborated with many online employment resources such as Masters in Human Resources Degrees.

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Puzzle Interviews Challenge Job-Related Skills, Attitudes and Aptitude

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Human Resources jargon becomes confusing when professionals discuss both “puzzle interviews” and “interview puzzles” in the same sentences: “In a puzzle interview, a job applicant completes an interview puzzle.” Search engines similarly mix up the terms, simultaneously showing results for sophisticated interview procedures and complicated math and coding problems that drive those procedures. In simplest terms, “puzzle interviews” challenge job applicants to solve complex problems in order to demonstrate their intellectual and emotional fitness for the work they want to do.

The puzzle interview originated in 1990s trends toward “performance exercises.” As more sophisticated, better educated baby boomers began competing for upper-management and executive positions, they became so articulate in their answers to traditional questions that human resources managers tied their brains in knots trying to rank excellent candidates against one another. Recognizing that traditional interviews emphasize social and communications skills without revealing much useful information about how people think, work, manage frustration and collaborate, HRMs contrived exercises that forced candidates to reveal their personalities, values and temperaments. Carefully controlled studies revealed that executives chosen from performance exercises adapted to, grew comfortable in, and ultimately mastered their positions much faster and more effectively than those chosen from traditional interview chat.

Using the format to assess applicants’ stress tolerance and problem-solving proficiency, Microsoft pioneered the puzzle interview in the mid ‘90s, and some corporate historians credit the process with driving the software behemoth’s rise to industrial dominance. Google still relies on puzzle interviews in its selection and assignment of ”technorati.” Google managers especially use applicants’ puzzle results to “fit” new employees with their assignments and colleagues. They test researchers and computer scientists with purely mathematical puzzles; they test engineers and product developers with coding and sequencing puzzles.

Subtle,Very Sophisticated Psychometry

Some organizational psychologists call puzzle interviews “guerilla psychometry.” In puzzle interviews, problem-solving processes count more than getting the right answers because they reveal the same kind of information that personality tests reveal. People’s approaches to the puzzles show how they perceive, how they think, how they manage stress, how they judge and how they react to success and failure.

Google recently asked applicants, “Question: Write a method to generate a random number between 1 and 7, given a method that generates a random number between one and five. The distribution between each of the numbers must be uniform.” Although the solution requires advanced mathematical reasoning that is approximately as spatial as it is numerical, a few applicants seemed to intuit the answer almost instantly. Challenged to account for their speed and accuracy, most said the answer “Just came to them.” Google’s HR mangers wisely concluded that those applicants should work on new products but never should conduct company training sessions. Other applicants used brilliant, beautiful graphic organizers to work out their answers, using every second of their allotted time to double-check their work for precision and accuracy. They clearly, logically, articulately could explain each step in their processes. Google officials naturally assigned them to manufacturing management and carefully sequestered them from the intuitives.

Google screeners also confirmed what most teachers have known since medieval students first walked into cloistered classrooms: “Gifted” people have exceptionally low risk and frustration tolerance. In one set of puzzle interviews, a group of Stanford, Cal, MIT, and Harvard alumni serendipitously comprised one interview cohort, and nearly all of them grew extremely agitated when they could not solve the puzzle quickly, precisely and perfectly. Psychometricians later theorized that since things always have come so quickly, easily and naturally to “the gifted kids,” they never have learned how to cope with psychological and emotional obstacles.

Preparation for Puzzle Interviews

Most experts agree job applicants anticipating puzzle interviews should take some time to become familiar with puzzles’ formats and challenges, but they should not get so caught-up in preparation and practice that they get confused or burn out. Just as the College Board has documented how test-takers perform better on the Law School Admissions Test when they eat and sleep well the night before the test than when they study, so professional puzzle interviewers find calm, well-rested applicants solve their puzzles more effectively than their peers who have driven themselves crazy with practice.

Elizabeth Johns is an organizational psychologist who has conducted extensive research on employers’ hiring practices. She offers more of her expert advice at Top 10 Best Online Colleges for a Psychology Degree.

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Three Tips for Dealing with Negative Coworkers

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negativity at workWorking in a negative environment has the potential to turn anyone into a grump. Whether you are sick of hearing office gossip or you simply cannot deal with the complaints about your job anymore, try these tree tips to squash the negativity immediately.

Redirect Attention

One of the best methods for changing the course of a conversation is to redirect the speaker’s attention. The next time the woman in the cubicle next to you starts complaining about how she simply cannot stand the paper clips anymore, start to talk about an entirely different subject. You can start to talk about your weekend or the big trip that you have planned for a couple of weeks down the road. If she keeps muttering useless complaints, start to ask questions about what she plans to do this weekend or how her recent vacation was. She might be happy to open up about something positive for a change.

Make Negativity Do a 180

Sometimes, people will just continue gossiping about other people or complaining about petty issues no matter how much you try to redirect. Instead of changing the topic of the conversation, try to change the mood. Let’s say that a group of coworkers is always bashing another coworker during their lunch time sessions. The other person is a hard worker, and she always hands in her assignments on time. You can stand up for her without sounding overly preachy. The next time someone says, “Oh my gosh…and she came in late again for the fourth day in a row!”, you can calmly respond with, “Wow! Really? That’s so weird. I was here 15 minutes before the office even opens, and I saw her grabbing a cup of coffee.” This simple statement is not overly defensive and maybe it will make your coworkers reconsider their gossiping ways.

Seek Higher Help

Employees like to try to stick together, and they generally do not get much satisfaction out of going to higher-ups. You really should only take this action if the problem is serious. Unfortunately, individuals might try to pin something on you if they found that you are going to the manager or boss about them. However, in certain situations, it’s simply necessary. Maybe the woman at the next counter is always excessively rude to customers. Sure, everyone has a bad day or two, but it’s become a major issue. Customers are always walking away from the counter in a huff, and their requests are never targeted. At first, you might want to offer some gentle advice to her. If she is abrasive to you or does not implement the advice, it may be time to speak with your supervisor. If you do not wish to give names or point fingers, suggest that he or she stay nearby, although not within visual distance of your coworker, during your shift because problems seem to be occurring.

Dealing with negativity at work is annoying and frustrating. However, try to keep your positive attitude up to do the best job that you can, and hopefully rub off on the Negative Nellies in the process.

Amber Gentry is Masters psychology student and blogger from Virginia Beach, VA, who has had to deal with her share of negative colleagues, which is why she’s glad to be free-lancing now.  She likes to share what she has learned about this topic, and others at Best Masters in Psychology.

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3 Tips for Turning New Managers into Positive Leaders

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Business executives handshaking after striking a business dealPromotion to a managerial position is a huge career milestone and a welcome recognition of all the effort put in as an individual contributor — but ascending to greater heights in the workplace hierarchy is a journey fraught with unfamiliar challenges and the perils of office politics. Mingled with the sense of achievement is often a feeling of trepidation while the recently promoted manager begins to settle into his new role as a leader. The transition is especially tricky if the new manager is now supervising his former peers, as the changes in workplace roles and relationships can seem confusing and uncomfortable at first. Strong and balanced leadership is key to both productivity and harmony in the workplace, making it critical that promoted employees receive the coaching they’ll need to fulfill their potential. Armed with a knowledge of organizational psychology and leadership development, a more senior executive can guide the new manager in navigating toward success as a confident, influential and positive workplace leader.

Redefine Relationships and Expectations

A higher-level position comes with a new set of roles and expectations, particularly when the newly promoted manager is now supervising personnel he once worked alongside as a peer. In order to help the new manager succeed in adopting his managerial identity, it’s important to clearly define the expectations and responsibilities of his new position from the very beginning. To ensure a smooth transition, point out the differences between his past and present job descriptions. Suggest that he build peer relationships with fellow managers, and that he strive for honest conversations with new subordinates on the changed nature of their work relationships. Remind him that a formal position of authority is only the beginning of real leadership — influence, credibility and persuasion are all crucial aspects of leading, so be sure to discuss each one. Internally promoted managers often feel uncertain about delegating work to former peers, so discuss the judgement, cooperation and decision-making process that goes into successful delegation and the follow-up it entails.

Build Confidence with Early Victories

To inspire confidence and success in others, a leader needs to project a sense of confidence in his own success. Early victories help to solidify a new manager’s position of authority in the eyes of subordinates, while providing the manager with a sense of competency and accomplishment that will enable him to continue leading and taking on responsibility in a self-directed manner. Executive-level leaders can facilitate these initial successes by assigning the new manager to shorter-term projects with a strong likelihood of positive outcomes.

Provide Ongoing Training and Development Opportunities

When a promising new leader ends up failing due to a lack of proper guidance or training, it’s the company that loses out on talent. While some people truly are natural leaders, there will always be gaps in experience to challenge new leaders, and any rookie manager will benefit from training and development opportunities. A savvy executive team will consider working with HR to ensure that newly promoted supervisors receive sufficient support in the form of consultations, coaching and ongoing development programs.

Above all, it’s most important to allow a new manager the room to discover and develop his own leadership style. The reality is that he’ll probably make a few mistakes starting out, and it’s critical that the executive response to these missteps be construed as learning opportunities, rather than as punitive reactions. With the proper coaching, the skills and qualities that first influenced his promotion should drive his success as a positive workplace leader.

About the Guest Author

Sylvia Langdon is an Organizational Psychology Consultant from Omaha, Nebraska.  She enjoys helping up-and-coming-leaders through her personal business coaching technique.  More of her expert advice can be found at Top Online Colleges for Psychology.

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About Us

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SOIP 2011 is designed to mark important developments in the world of industrial-organization psychology and related scientific studies of the workplace and workplace related behaviors and dynamics.

These aspects include but are not limited to management, delegation, performance, recruiting, selection, training, and work-life balance.

Other areas include:

Psychometrics
Compensation
Job Attitudes
Motivation
Leadership
Ethics
Diversity

Some pioneers in this field include:

Frederick Taylor
WL Bryan
Joseph Wharton
Walter Dill Scot
Hugo Munsterberg
Robert Yerkes
Elton Mayo
Kurt Lewin
Peter Drucker
BF Skinner
David McClelland
Frederick Herzberg
Edwin Locke
Frank and Lilian Gilbreth

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