This essay examines the role of industrial and organizational psychology in selecting and training employees. There are several assessment techniques applied by I/O psychologists to assist organizations in selecting, training, and evaluating employees (Spector, 2012). Specifically, I/O psychology also helps organizations to “find the right candidates for the job and subsequent training of such employees” (Bernstein, Penner, Clarke-Stewart and Roy, 2011, p. 777). Selecting and training the right candidates for the task is simply a matter of relying on “tests, interviews and other evaluation techniques to get the best employees with the right characteristics, which job analyses had identified as vital for successful job performances” (Bernstein et al., 2011, p. 779).
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Two real-world examples of how organizations have used industrial and organizational psychology to select and train employees
Many large organizations rely on I/O psychology for employee selection and training. Some have internal I/O psychologists while others use external consultants or use information available in I/O psychology publications.
IBM uses I/O psychology in areas of employee section and training. In addition, it also applies I/O psychology methods in performance appraisal, leadership development, motivation, and employee satisfaction.
The Federal Office of Personnel Management has a reliable test development system for all military agencies, particularly the US Army Research Institute. The agency relies on I/O psychologists to carry out studies in areas of leadership, employee placement, dispositional factors, morale, and motivation.
These organizations use I/O psychology research outcomes to solve both applied and basic problems in human resource management. In employee selection, I/O psychologists are responsible for job analysis, formulating recruitment processes, developing selection processes, reviewing tests, enhancing employee placement and evaluating management capabilities of candidates (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc., 2014). In training, I/O psychologists facilitate training material design, conducting and evaluating training programs. They conduct needs assessments for an entire organization and specific jobs with the aim of identifying objectives and constraints in an organization.
Methods to measure the level of success of each training program
I/O psychologists conduct research to evaluate the outcomes of their training programs (Bernstein et al., 2011). First, a trainee learning criteria method involves “the use of tests, which evaluate trainee’s knowledge and skills in specific areas covered during the training” (Bernstein et al., 2011, p. 782). In some instances, evaluators may conduct both the pre-test and the post-test to evaluate improvements.
There is also a performance-level criteria method, which assesses the extent to which knowledge and skills acquired during training have translated to real outputs in employee workplace behaviors. Any failure of employees to use their new skills and knowledge to improve job performance indicates that the training program has not been effective. While some of the approaches focus on work values and enjoyment, other criteria concentrate on efficiency, productivity, and other performance oriented elements.
In most cases, organizations have based their evaluations on verifiable job performance outcomes, such as the number of customer complaints. However, they fail to conduct controlled experiments to understand training effectiveness. Therefore, I/O psychologists insist on several evaluation criteria to determine various aspects of training effectiveness on knowledge and skill acquisition and actual job performances.
Any legal and/or ethical concerns that arise in the implementation of each training program
Organizations have codes of ethics, which guide various activities including training programs. Therefore, trainees and trainers must adhere to such requirements during training activities.
During staff training programs, trainers have ethical responsibilities to support trainees. At the same time, they must insist on ethically and legally sound decisions. For instance, the trainer has ethical responsibilities to identify trainees who might not be able to acquire skills and knowledge during training sessions. Consequently, trainers are ethically obligated to ensure that such trainees receive the necessary help they might require to realize training objectives.
Trainers have responsibilities to maintain trainees’ trust and confidence during the training program. Outside an organization, there are several ethics statutes and regulations, which require trainers to conduct training programs under regulations and directions of state and federal laws.
The trainer must ensure that training materials meet ethical standards set by an organization. In other words, such training programs must adhere to training regulations and meet established standards on ethics.
Generally, organizations prohibit their trainers from receiving and accepting payment from other sources. Trainers should not accept payments from trainees based on their performance and official responsibilities, which include participating in training programs. Any prohibited compensations could result in a dismissal or a legal proceeding against a trainer who violates training ethics.
Physical and sexual harassment, conflicts of interest and other ethical issues could occur during the implementation of training programs.
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In the implementation of training programs, trainers and trainees should raise, resolve, and report any ethical issues of major concerns. It is also imperative for trainers and trainees to understand ethical decision-making processes, codes of conduct, laws, and regulations that guide and direct training practices.
This essay has examined the role of industrial and organizational psychology in selecting and training employees. Employee selection involves assessing applicants’ knowledge, abilities, skills, and other dispositional attributes by using tests, interviews and other assessment criteria developed by I/O psychologists. The aim of employee selection is to ensure that candidates can meet job analysis gaps for better job performances. I/O psychologists also conduct needs assessments and design programs for knowledge and skill transfer to employees. They must evaluate effectiveness of training programs by using various techniques. It is imperative to recognize any ethical and legal concerns that may arise in training activities.
Bernstein, D., Penner, L., Clarke-Stewart, A., and Roy, E. (2011). Psychology (9th ed.). Stamford, Connecticut: Cengage Learning. Web.
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc. (2014). Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Web.
Spector, P. (2012). Industrial and organizational psychology: Research and practice (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Web.