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I-O Psychology Can Inform and Support Effective Public Policy and Programs

The US Capitol buildingCollectively, industrial and organizational (I-O) psychologists bring over a century of conceptual, methodological, and data-analytic expertise in understanding and predicting human behavior in organizational settings.

Resources on this page are intended to inform federal stakeholders about the expertise domains of I-O psychology and how the application of I-O psychology findings can help shape effective policies and strategies about nationally important workforce issues.

SIOP is a community of nearly 10,000 members worldwide with a common interest in using research and evidence-based practice to enhance human well-being and performance in organizational and work settings.
 

Using I-O Psychology to Ensure the Health of the Federal Workforce As the Nation Returns to Work

In the 21st century,  the American workforce has experienced high rates of work-related illness, injuries, and mental health issues. In particular, the federal workforce has fallen victim to many of these stressors, such as toxic working conditions, long work hours, unpredictable work schedules, job insecurity, excessive work demands, harassment, abusive supervision, and insufficient resources. The nation’s struggle to return to work following the COVID-19 pandemic shows that a strong, healthy federal workforce is more vital than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented workforce disruptions and has compelled employers to make employee health a top priority. As the federal government continues to explore solutions for returning to work amidst the pandemic, one overarching question remains: how can workers return to work in a safe and productive manner while the organization recovers from operational shutdowns and deals with economic challenges? SIOP can help policymakers navigate and inform solutions to support federal workforce leaders, reduce stressors, and improve worker health and well-being. 

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Evidence-Based Policy to Rebuild the Federal Workforce

When addressing the rebuilding of the federal workforce, evidence-based policies can inform effective hiring and recruitment practices, training and development programs, morale and retention initiatives, and more. Data-driven methods and scientific theory should be applied when developing best practices, allocating funding, and creating federal workforce policies.

 

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Impact of I-O Psychology on Understanding the Changing Technology-Enabled Workforce
 

With the nature of work rapidly evolving, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) is advocating for the consideration of evidence-based I-O psychology as policymakers address the various challenges and opportunities related to areas such as the impact of automation and new technologies on the workforce.  This guidance document aims to inform federal stakeholders on the expertise of industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology and how it can help shape policies to better integrate technology into the workforce and build an effective “workforce of the future,” an emerging priority for Congress and federal agencies. SIOP has also organized an advocacy initiative to address the technology-enabled workforce, which will focus on topics such as automation, cybersecurity, teleworking and contingent workforces, STEM education and training pipelines, and implementation of new technologies.


 

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The Impact of I-O Psychology on Transitioning Veterans To Civilian Work
 

As federal and congressional policy makers consider programs and legislation regarding the transition of service members from the battlefield to the workforce, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) urges the application of evidence-based methods in industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology to enhance veteran employment experiences. This guidance document is meant to better inform policy makers about I-O psychology’s data-driven approach to identifying and alleviating a wide range of modern employment challenges facing veterans, including the translation of skills, decision-making capabilities, and support networks from military life, as well as the difficulty for civilian employers in recognizing promising veteran candidates. SIOP has developed an advocacy initiative of experts to provide guidance and assistance to federal decision makers as they seek to address issues related to the transition of veterans to the workplace.


 

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The Critical Role of I-O Psychology in the Development of National Security Solutions

A strong national defense and security relies on employees capable of performing at a high level when faced with myriad demands resulting from numerous threats. The field of industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology has long been engrained in the national security enterprise, developing interventions to address unique concerns over areas like stress and morale as well as best practices to promote organizational efficiencies and improve hiring in areas of national need like cybersecurity. The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) launched an Advocacy Area, which features a working group of I-O psychologists in multiple sectors (defense, private industry, public policy, and academia), to share this expertise directly with federal decision-makers and promote the inclusion of efficient and effective workforce strategies in the development of defense and security policies.

 

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The Impact of I-O Psychology on Workforce Development and Learning

In order to ensure the United States workforce remains a highly skilled workforce and workers can stay up to date with the constantly shifting skills landscape, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) is advocating for the use of industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology research findings in creating evidence-based policy around workforce training programs and other federal activities. SIOP aims to ensure that these federal employment programs are based in science and that workforce training organizations have the necessary resources to best serve American workers. SIOP has organized a group of experts to provide input to policymakers and other federal stakeholders on topics including upskilling and reskilling programs; STEM education; the skills gap; work-based and experiential learning opportunities; vocational training, career and technical education, and short-term credential programs; and creativity and innovation training; among other topics.

 

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Evidence-Based Solutions to Policing Reform: Organizational Psychology Applications to Promote Safety and Effectiveness
 

SIOP urges federal, state, and local decision makers to apply industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology’s data-driven methods to enhance various elements of policing reform.  In 2020, in response to emerging federal legislative proposals to address policing, SIOP formed a new working group to assist policymakers in this effort by providing first-hand I-O expertise. As a first step, the working group developed a guidance document that includes some examples of I-O solutions to address challenges related to bias, community trust, leadership, and wellness, among other areas.  In addition to listing effective, scientifically-based solutions to many of the challenges facing police departments across the United States, the document provides recommendations that would address several notable gaps in proposed major legislative solutions. This document does not provide a complete summary of I-O findings related to policing reform and is intended to serve as a conversation starter between policymakers and I-O experts on the working group.

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Connect With SIOP on Advocacy Issues

Members of SIOP's Government Relations and Advocacy Team (GREAT) are ready to assist federal lawmakers and staff in applying I-O expertise to legal and regulatory issues related to the workforce. Contact Dr. Alex Alonso, chair of the GREAT team, for more information.

In addition, SIOP maintains registries of members with particular expertise in Advocacy and Cybersecurity.  

SIOP's Consultant Locator is a database, which can be searched by interest area, of I-O psychology experts who are willing to consult on a variety of work-related topics. 

Members of the media are invited to work with SIOP's Communications Manager, Amber Stark, to connect with members for interviews and background research.