Industrial Psychology – Fantastic career that helps understand Employees and Behavior

Mar 18, 2016

Image of team meeting and employees connecting with the help of industrial psychology

A happy workplace is a productive space.

The comfort and happiness of employees are a key component of the success or otherwise of the workplace. If people are content in their working environment, where their individual needs are understood and met, they will contribute to a better and more efficient workplace. One that helps boost individual and team productivity and contributes towards a sound company/organization structure.

Knowing industrial psychology helps in achieving these invaluable goals. While the brief of an industrial psychology is wide and varied, the basis is simple: Application of research into human behaviour in the workplace.

Career as an Industrial Psychologist

An industrial psychologist uses the discipline and principles of psychology and human behaviour and applies it to people in the workplace. By understanding how employees think and react to a range of these conditions, they can improve a lot of workers, making them happier and ultimately more productive.

Industrial psychologists work with management to create a better environment for employees and bring research methods and psychological principles to areas as varied as policy building, workplace safety and training and development of employees.

Understanding Employees

Everyone’s different, everyone has personality strengths and weaknesses. It is the job of the industrial/organizational psychologist to understand this and show how these can be utilised to advantage within the workplace.

Recruitment/Personality Assessment

Ensuring the right personality type is selected for the various positions in the organizations which many require specialized skills and capabilities.

Performance Assessment

Assist management by using behavioural research skills to best conduct performance assessment techniques.

Apply Psychology to Workplace Team Behaviour

Which employees are best suited to team organization? In what situations would a team approach work best for management?

Training Programs

Using an industrial psychologist to help develop training and development programs for employees is essential for best practice. The psychologist brings research and ideas into the way humans behave and this can be built into the programs to increase their effectiveness.

Three simple strategies to boost productivity

The industrial psychologist has a range of ways to boost productivity in the workplace. Here are three examples:

1. A Reward system for employees

A simple reward structure (Christmas bonus, extra time off, Employee-of-the-Month award) taps into people’s need for recognition for a “job well done”.

2. Organize social events

The psychologist may suggest a regular company-sponsored sports day event to boost morale and increase the fun factor. Great for introducing newer members of the team to other employees.

3. Regular meetings between employees and management

The arrangement of regular meetings between management and employees to air views and answer questions. The psychologist may suggest the meeting be a casual get together — even party — atmosphere to help everyone involved relax.

All three strategies have the effect of meeting employees’ needs, shaping the character of the workplace and making it a better place to attend, as well as boosting productivity.

Tips for using such strategies in a home environment

Using industrial psychology has a range of applications at home, even if you work in a home office.

People who work from home don’t have managers checking in on their productivity on a regular basis. It’s very tempting to say “I’ll just go for a walk down the street and get a coffee (or two) and do some work there”. However, they may meet a friend, have a chat over coffee and before they realise, work day has passed, their writing plans for the day in tatters.

If this happens too often, the freelancer will have a major productivity problem!

But how about managing this problem in a similar way to an industrial psychologist? He or she would look at the “reward” factor — the coffee at the local cafe — and, instead of seeing this as a problem, build it into the planning for your day. This can be done by making the reward accessible only after a certain amount of work has been completed. For example two thousand words of an article or five hours straight working time.

The behaviour patterns understood by industrial/organizational psychologists — the human desire for reward — can then be used as a productivity tool. The worker may look forward to the daily cup of coffee at the cafe however by disciplining themselves to only accept the reward after a set amount of work, the worker improves their productivity (just as in a company workplace) and may enjoy their coffee more!

Bill Gates once famously said that “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it”. However, the role of an industrial/organizational psychologist is far more nuanced. An industrial psychologist is many things in the company or organization’s workplace, however, the strategies devised — based on the study of how humans react to given situations — may also be applied in the home environment.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, Industrial Psychology is projected to grow at 14%, which is much faster than average with a median salary of $77,350 per year.

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