What is Industrial-Organizational Psychology and How Can it Benefit Companies?
Many people ask us what we do on a daily basis, and usually our simplest response is Industrial-Organizational Psychology. However, many people don’t actually know what this even means, how what we do at Behavioral Essentials fits into that spectrum, and how it can benefit their company. Let’s find out.
What is Industrial-Organizational Psychology?
Industrial-Organizational psychology, also referred to as I-O Psychology, is the field of psychology that applies psychological theories and principles to organizations. More specifically, The American Psychological Association defines the specialty of I-O Psychology as” the scientific study of human behavior in organizations and the work place.” This field focuses on increasing workplace productivity and related issues such as the overall well-being of employees.
Industrial-Organizational psychologists can perform many different tasks. These tasks can include studying employee attitude and behavior, evaluating companies and their processes, and conducting leadership coaching, all of which are services we offer. With the help of our behavioral assessment, we are able to study the behavioral attributes of an executive team and the employees and determine how and where each individual will best benefit the ecosystem and what steps need to be taken to help them flourish.
How I-O Psychology Helps Companies
As the name implies, industrial-organizational psychology has two sides. First, there is the industrial side, which involves studying human behavior in order to match individuals to jobs that fit their natural tendencies. Secondly, there is the organizational side which is more focused on understanding how an organization’s structures, management styles, company culture, roles etc. affect an individual’s behavior and wellbeing. By understanding these factors, I-O psychologists can improve employee performance and wellbeing while at the same time looking at the bigger picture within the organization and benefitting it as a whole.
Here are a few specific ways I-O Psychology can benefit a company:
Hiring & Recruitment
After evaluating the executive team and studying a company’s culture, roles and processes, industrial psychologists have an informed idea of what behavioral attributes an employee needs to fit into the ecosystem and succeed in a given role, therefore making the hiring process a breeze. Knowing what behavioral traits are needed to be successful within a given role is crucial to ensuring not only a hiring success but a happy hire that sticks around. Additionally, they can help create interview questions that probe any areas of behavioral misalignment and help managers immediately identify the best candidates for the position.
Defining Company Culture
“Corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. Often, corporate culture is implied, not expressly defined, and develops organically over time from the cumulative traits of the people the company hires.”-Investopedia
One of the most important roles of an organizational psychologist is helping companies define their culture, which isn’t an easy task for a company to take on on its own. Industrial-organizational psychologists can help objectively identify the core values of a company and clearly establish the culture by asking questions, observing, and analyzing the key people that define the company.
Using their psychological insight, I-O psychologists can help companies with the bigger picture as well, improving their organizational structure, increasing profits, addressing a problematic corporate culture and helping them navigate through times of change (major mergers, rapid expansion, downsizing, etc.)
Boosts Employee Engagement, Happiness & Productivity
Organizational psychologists study employee behaviors to measure overall employee happiness and wellbeing. Using their findings, they can suggest methods to help employees work together more effectively and feel engaged and more fulfilled by their job, which increases productivity and the bottom line.
Ensures Better Work-Life Balance
When employees are burned out, they begin to hate work. Organizational psychologists can help companies find areas where they can reduce job-related stress and work to create norms that focus on supporting the wellbeing of employees. When employees are less stressed, they are happier and more productive.
Development & Coaching
One of the best ways to cultivate a thriving workforce is to build a self-aware organization. When employees and leaders have heightened awareness of their core motivators and natural behaviors, that awareness becomes a catalyst for personal development. Self-awareness encourages everyone to understand how they see the world and how the world sees them. Using their vast knowledge of human behavior, I-O psychologists can help leadership and employees become more aware of their strengths and the things that hold them back and provide them with an actionable behavioral plan so that they can be the most effective in their role and learn to build more meaningful and harmonious relationships.
So How do we Fit in?
Here at Behavioral Essentials, we focus on all of the above things that fall into the I-O spectrum. With the added value of our behavioral assessment, we are able to study the behavioral attributes of an executive team and the employees and determine how and where each individual will best benefit the ecosystem and what steps need to be taken to help them flourish. On the organizational side, we use this same behavioral data to help companies with the bigger picture, providing invaluable insights into their company culture, organizational structures, management styles and processes so that they can thrive.