SIOP 2014 Recap

May 19, 2014

SIOP (the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologists) held their annual meeting in Honolulu, HI last week. Despite the beautiful weather and beaches I spent most of my time in the conference center and learned a lot over the three day conference. Below is a recap of my three favorite sessions.

3) “Decision-Making Processes, Biases & Heuristics”

The first speaker in this panel discussed how recruiters are overconfident in their ability to distinguish between more and less predictive selection tools, which can dilute the accuracy of their selection decisions. Because of this, organizations should be sure to only use selection methods that have empirical evidence supporting its ability to predict future performance.  At AAI we take great pride in ensuring our personality and cognitive ability assessments are reliable and valid predictors of future performance. We encourage all current and future clients to consider the accuracy of a selection assessment before purchasing it for use in selection.

2) “From Leader Personality to Employee Engagement”

In this session I learned that there is psychometric evidence supporting employee engagement as the main overarching factor that contributes to organizational effectiveness. Leaders are in a unique position to affect employee engagement, which can lead to higher business unit performance and higher customer loyalty. Employee engagement is driven by a leaders behavior, values, and decisions, which are affected by a leaders personality. This new model gives additional empirical support for using personality assessment in leader selection. This session was particularly interesting because it reflects some of the key competencies we at AAI assess in our personality inventories. We have found that a mix of facets of Conscientiousness and Energy (a facet of Extraversion) are predictive of employee engagement. With this in mind we created a dimension [initiative and effort] that combines these facets in our Advancement Potential Inventory. This new research on the importance of leader personality in influencing employee engagement supports our decision to consider such a dimension when selecting for future leaders.

1) “Connections that IGNITE I-O Research & Practice”

All IGNITE sessions are composed of 10 speakers who each have 20 slides that advance automatically every 15 seconds, so each speaker presents for only five minutes. While these sessions are always engaging, this one was particularly powerful. One speaker said, “sometimes I think we should be called the society of industrial OR organizational psychologist because researchers and practitioners never seem to talk to one another”. Her comment made me realize consulting organizations like AAI that place a premium on both rigorous research standards and tangible client takeaways are in the minority. Another speaker emphasized how insular our field is and how we need to start bringing our knowledge of selection and development to other industries. A third speaker commented on her efforts to integrate I-O psychology with occupational health psychology in order to more effectively avoid and combat work-life balance issues in organizations. All of these speakers certainly ignited my desire to increase public awareness of industrial-organizational psychology and its usefulness in selecting and developing top talent!