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Top Minds and Bottom Lines: What Can I-O Psychology Do For Your Business?

I-O Psychology in Action

Industrial-Organizational Psychology is the application of the study of human behavior to the workplace. Industrial-organizational (I-O) psychologists employ an evidence-based approach, utilizing research and data to make recommendations and implement improvements that enhance the effectiveness of organizations, help manage risk, and deliver improved business results. I-O psychologists pursue advanced training that prepares them for work in an array of settings. I-O psychologists can be found in academia, corporations, the government, and nonprofits, as well as consulting firms.

Areas in which I-O psychologists practice include:

  • Talent Assessment & Selection
  • Leadership Feedback & Development
  • Organization Culture & Climate
  • Team Effectiveness
  • Executive Coaching & Development
  • Succession Planning
  • M&A Due Diligence & Integration
  • High Potential Identification & Development
  • Employee Engagement


Advance Auto Parts* is a U.S. automotive parts retail giant with nine distribution centers and 3,150 retail automotive stores. To stock its locations, the company relies on automation and approximately 3,000 material handlers. The material handler position is fast paced and physically demanding. In addition, the environment in which the handlers work is challenging. As a result, the position typically has very high turnover.

  • High turnover
  • Too much reliance on on-the-job training
  • Selection process did not accurately measure traits for success

SOLUTION: I-O psychologists implemented an online pre-employment testing to screen for key work-related personality traits including detail orientation, adaptability, openness to change, accountability, and dependability. They designed an assessment process that included a custom job fit component and conducted follow up research on the business impact of the new hiring process.


  • Improved retention at 90 days by 87%
  • Increased job performance by 23%
  • Improved work speed by 8%
  • Supervisors rank those who score high on the assessment as more effective employees
  • Selection process is legally defensible

*Case study courtesy of PreVisor, Inc.


A large, privately owned company in the industrial research and manufacturing industry was planning for the retirement of its CEO. Before a successor could be selected, the respected leader suddenly became ill and was forced to step aside.

  • No clear CEO successor identified; multiple contenders
  • Unable to seek the guidance of the former leader
  • Retention of non-selected candidates a concern

SOLUTION: I-O psychologists conducted a series of interviews with the board of directors and members of the executive management team to develop a success profile for the CEO position. Twelve highly talented executives were selected to enter an intense and accelerated development program to enable them to fill all the near and long-term succession requirements of the organization. Each leader underwent an executive assessment based on the success profile, received candid feedback and a customized development plan that included 6 months of coaching support.


  • An internal candidate was deemed the best fit for the CEO position
  • All unsuccessful candidates for the role of CEO remained with the company, some in expanded roles
  • The board of directors and senior management are now aligned with respect to objectives, strategy and methods to ensure seamless transitions in the future

The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) is the largest professional association of I-O psychologists in the United States. SIOP’s mission is to enhance human well-being and performance in organizational and work settings by promoting the science, practice, and teaching of industrial-organizational psychology.

Helpful Links:

To learn more about what I-O psychology can do for you: www.siop.org/topminds

To locate an I-O psychologist to assist with your business: my.siop.org/FindAnIO

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology
440 E. Poe Rd. Suite 101
Bowling Green, OH 43402