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President’s Column: Updates and Thank You

Mo Wang

This is the last column for me as the SIOP president and I have some great updates to share!

First, SIOP has made important progress in helping shape national/federal level policies on AI-based assessment. During my presidential term, we have worked hard to engage members of the EEOC to address the topic of AI in hiring. In an EEOC hearing held on January 31, Nancy Tippins testified as a SIOP representative on “Navigating Employment Discrimination in AI and Automated Systems: A New Civil Rights Frontier.” She did a really great job of advocating for SIOP, I-O psychology in general, and the effective use of AI for hiring. At this hearing, EEOC Commissioner Sonderling also made following remarks that are very encouraging for I-O psychologists:

I have been spending a lot of time with I-Os and have really been trying to make sure that everyone involved is aware of your very important practice and all the work you are doing in this area. And I often said, at the end of the day, who is going to do this testing, who can actually assist employers, lawyers, auditors with the actual standards and putting pen to paper, and I believe that largely is going to fall on I-Os.

You can find the recording of this public hearing at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfMRLestj6s.

Second and relatedly, SIOP recently released recommendations for artificial intelligence-based assessments: Considerations and Recommendations for the Validation and Use of AI-Based Assessments for Employee Selection. This document supplements SIOP’s statement on the use of AI for hiring, which was created by the SIOP Task Force on AI-Based Personnel Assessment and Prediction in spring 2022. The recommendations discuss the unique challenges and considerations that arise in the development, evaluation, use, and interpretation of AI-based assessments. These recommendations will be useful for anyone who is currently using or is planning to use AI-based assessments in their organization.  We thank Task Force Chair Chris Nye and Task Force members Leaetta Hough, Kisha Jones, Richard Landers, Toni Locklear, William Macey, Fred Oswald, Dan Putka, Ann Marie Ryan, Ryne Sherman, and Nancy Tippins, for generating these thoughtful recommendations.

Third, the SIOP Executive Board (EB) has been working hard to improve the security and stability of SIOP finances. SIOP is always trying to do more and better for our members. We believe our membership community has myriad needs on which we should deliver. We aim to be the premier organization advancing science and practice that transforms work and improves worker well-being around the world while also serving as the welcoming, professional home base for the I-O psychology community. However, it is also important to realize that SIOP is a business. It has expenses. It wants to make improvements. It needs to be a fair and supportive employer (it would be particularly troubling for us as I-Os not to pay attention to this one). It is subject to the same market and economic forces like inflation and supply chain pressure and other issues. And so, to deliver a desirable SIOP membership experience, there are real and legitimate costs that must be covered.

Under the leadership of Financial Officer/Secretary Eric Heggestad, the EB worked together to develop a new and more sensible framework for conceptualizing and organizing SIOP’s finances. Specifically, we looked at all of SIOP’s methods of earning revenue and sources of expense and consolidated those into a few “buckets.” Critically, we considered expenses related to staff resources allocated toward each of the buckets, which, as you can imagine, can dramatically impact the bottom line for each bucket. We also engaged in high-level discussion about principles for how SIOP should be funded, financial diversification, the importance of aiming for better than break-even each year to invest in strategic reserves, and the cadence by which funding decisions should be made. Applying this new framework, we found that we were running a notable deficit each in the past 5 years in the bucket of Membership Services, where our membership dues revenue is insufficient to fund our membership services function. These deficits are not sustainable. Although we remain mindful and vigilant about cost containment where it can be done without negatively impacting service quality, we need to also increase the amount of revenue earned through dues collection. To ensure continued member service quality and, importantly, to position SIOP in a way that ensures this function is funded responsibly into the future (instead of perennially playing catch-up), our group agreed that we need to address this deficit primarily with a dues increase. Moving forward, we have committed as a board to evaluate dues annually during our budget process, in the same way we think about pricing for every other revenue item. We will then be able to think about how much it will cost to deliver membership services and whether we can do so through expense mindfulness alone or whether a dues increase is warranted.

Finally, as our 2023 SIOP Annual Conference approaches, I would like to give a special thank you to Conference Chair Winny Shen and Program Chair Enrica Ruggs and the committees that assist them during their tenure. Their long hours organizing such a robust conference program will really pay off, and we are looking forward to attendance numbers comparable to the prepandemic era. I would also like to thank the SIOP staff team for all of their behind-the-scenes support. It is amazing how much the staff has been able to accomplish this year. Let’s also not forget the in-person and virtual SIOP member volunteers who step forward to facilitate and keep things moving smoothly. Your willingness to devote time is very much appreciated. And finally, thank you to our sponsors. We really need you. Your financial support helped round out the conference offerings.

All the hands that come together to pull off the amazing SIOP Annual Conference are truly remarkable. This is exactly what allows SIOP to go beyond and continue its growth and influence. With this outstanding stakeholder engagement, SIOP is promoting our brand and delivering our content to other parts of the world, taking a leading role in shaping the future of working and organizing, and generating signature educational content to help the next generation of I-O psychologists to grow. Although the 1-year presidential term has flown by very quickly, I have loved every minute of serving our members and stewarding our society’s mission. Thank you for this opportunity and I look forward to supporting my successor, Tara Behrend, for her presidential term!

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