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Workshop 9

 Building a Compelling Brand: Guidebook for I-O Psychologists

Presenters: Wayne F. Cascio, University of Colorado Denver; Cristina G. Banks, Lamorinda Consulting LLC

Coordinator: Paul Yost, Seattle Pacific University

Target Audience: Intermediate


This workshop will examine how I-O psychologists can build a compelling brand, frame their work to show others why their work matters by linking to important organizational results and outcomes, and how to analyze and interpret business or societal issues in ways that play to I-O strengths and competitive advantages.

Detailed Description:

Recent efforts to increase the visibility of I-O Psychologists in the business world and society in general have focused on telling the I-O story. Toward that end, SIOP, mostly led by the Visibility Committee over the last five years, has focused on refining the description of the content areas represented within SIOP and of the ties between that work and business outcomes. Although these efforts are worthy and are likely to improve the public’s understanding of the work we do in our research and practice, telling the world what we do may not be all they need to hear. Rather, telling the world why we matter may be a more relevant and compelling approach.

In what ways does our work matter to others?” Finding the answer to that question allows us to identify what we know from research and best practice that can be used to create programs or to design interventions that produce results or outcomes that matter to someone. The emphasis on someone is critically important. Who that someone is dictates what results or outcomes matter. This workshop addresses head-on how I-O psychologists can frame their work so that it matters to the client, thus increasing the likelihood that the client views the work as compelling, highly appropriate, and clearly superior to other options.

In our view, one builds a brand by devising and then doing work that resonates with others. What resonates? One possibility is a promise that what we do has one or more of the following results: (1) it fixes an important problem; (2) it helps the client understand an important problem; (3) it keeps clients from making major (costly) mistakes; and/or (4) it enables successful implementation of a business strategy. If we can determine and then communicate how I-O work (as opposed to other disciplines) leads to one or more of these results, it is only a small step for the client to understand that when these results are achieved, other important outcomes are more likely, such as increases in revenue or profit, lower costs, greater speed of strategy implementation (“time is money”), lower risk of failure, lower risk of legal challenges, and improved predictability of the future. We build the I-O brand by linking directly the 28 content areas comprising the field of I-O with organizational results and outcomes. We distinguish the I-O brand from other disciplines by its research-rich foundation of knowledge from which the work is devised and by the scientifically sound methodologies used by I-O psychologists to collect critical data.

In summary, building a compelling brand starts with identifying the right question. If we can understand what question the client wants answered or what problem needs to be resolved, we can decide if I-O psychology can help. If the answer to that question is ‘yes,’ then we can bring our substantial knowledge and technical tools to bear to fulfill the client’s needs most compellingly. This highly interactive workshop offers guidelines for I-O psychologists to follow to establish the linkages between I-O work and important organizational results and outcomes. We also invite participants to practice analyzing organizational issues and then framing I-O work as the most appropriate avenue for addressing them.

This workshop is designed to help participants:

  • Link I-O work to critical business outcomes
  • Frame I-O work in terms that are compelling to non-I-O audiences
  • Identify opportunities to “sell” I-O work by analyzing business documents (e.g., P&L statements, annual reports) and data

Wayne Cascio holds the Robert H. Reynolds Distinguished Chair in Global Leadership at the University of Colorado Denver. He has served as president of SIOP (1992-1993), Chair of the SHRM Foundation (2007), the HR Division of the Academy of Management (1984), and as a member of AoM’s Board of Governors (2003-2006). In 2010 he received the Michael R. Losey Human Resources Research Award from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Geneva (Switzerland) in 2004, and in 2008, he was named by the Journal of Management as one of the most influential scholars in management in the past 25 years. Currently, he chairs the compensation committee of the Board of Directors of CPP, Inc., he is a senior editor of the Journal of World Business, andhe chairs the U.S. Technical Advisory Group that is developing international standards for the Human Resources profession. Wayne has consulted with many organizations on six continents and is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources, the Academy of Management, and the American Psychological Association. His work is featured regularly in business media, including The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, National Public Radio, and Harvard Business Review, among others.

Cristina Banks is President/CEO of Lamorinda Consulting LLC and Senior Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley. She has over 35 years of experience consulting with organizations on a variety of issues, including organizational strategy, performance measurement, executive development, HR system development, legal compliance, compensation, and training. She founded and managed two consulting firms, one of which was sold to Manpower, Inc. in 2001. She was also a member of the Board of Directors for Whole Foods Market and for Chalone Wine Group, where she served on the nominating, audit, and compensation committees. She is a Fellow of SIOP and APA, and she received APA’s Presidential Citation for Innovative Practice for her work in job analysis. She served on the editorial board of Human Performance and is an ad hoc reviewer for Journal of Applied Psychology. She has published in the areas of performance appraisal and management, job analysis, and wage and hour law. Her best known publication is Narrowing the Research-Practice Gap in Performance Appraisal (Banks & Murphy, 1985), one of the earliest discussions of the scientist-practitioner model. She is a nationally recognized expert in the application of job analysis studies in wage and hour lawsuits, and she has testified in over 60 cases.