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By: Evan Sinar, Ph.D
In part one of my blog on this year’s SIOP Conference I discussed the attendance at this year’s meeting along with highlighting one of the most popular sessions featuring Jacqueline Berrien of the EEOC. In addition to that great session other topics stood out as well.
The topics gaining the largest increase in SIOP presentations from the past year are a key indicator of the zeitgeist amongst I/O psychologists and the organizations within which they operate. From the 2011 conference to 2012’s event, the topics surging the most were Innovation/Creativity (with the number of presentations increasing 82%) and Counterproductive Behavior (increased 78%).
Innovation and Creativity are not surprising; nearly every organization is pursuing these objectives, although many struggle to achieve them. This year’s Innovation/Creativity presentations included sessions on how to assess, train, foster, and reward individual and team creativity.
Counterproductive Behavior, focusing on workplace bullying, abusive supervision, and harassment, is a more troubling emerging topic, and perhaps a sign that abundant on-the-job stress faced by some employees is spilling over to the point that these individuals are lashing out at others, with negative consequences for all involved.
Technology and Analytics as applied to Talent Management, virtually non-existent topics only five years ago, were the focus of several sessions in which advice was shared and challenges openly discussed about HR professionals needing to manage complex relationships involving Applicant Tracking Systems, to incorporate new technologies into the HR toolbox, and to effectively leverage and wring analytic insights from the “big data” generated by their HR systems. Social networking, too, was a focus, with numerous presentations seeking to clarify the appropriateness and utility of social media information for Talent Management purposes.
For each of these areas, while the surge in research and probing discussion is promising, much remains unknown and the knowledge base is not yet adequate to provide detailed guidance for HR professionals – we anticipate these topics to attract even more intensive attention and data-driven investigation at next year’s conference.
In the conference’s closing session DDI’s own Doug Reynolds, current SIOP president, highlighted SIOP’s goals for the upcoming years, including bolstering its standing as a model of integrated scientific and practical effectiveness, growing its membership to reflect an increasingly diverse and global I/O and Talent Management population, and extending its influence and impact within the HR community. This year’s conference accentuated SIOP’s unique role as a bridge between the research and data underlying the tools and processes used by I/O psychologists, and the practical implementation and sustained impact of these approaches.
The criticality of balancing rigor and practicality is certain to only increase in future years, ensuring the SIOP conference’s continued relevance and usefulness to Talent Management professionals seeking evidence-based, logically-sound foundations for their practices they lead, the advice they provide, and ultimately, the organizational impact they are charged with achieving.
Did you attend this year’s SIOP conference? What did you learn? What emerging themes did you recognize? What sessions did you enjoy the most?