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Jenny Baker
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What Do Practitioners Want? Practitioner Survey Results Revealed!

Emily Solberg, SHL, & Ben Porr, Harver

Acknowledgements: We would like to acknowledge Betsy Bayha, Tracy Krueger, and Rob Silzer for their assistance with reviewing this article.

 

How satisfied are SIOP practitioners with the resources, networking events, and other offerings from SIOP intended to support their professional work? Results of the SIOP Professional Practice Committee (PPC) Survey show a lack of awareness about some current resources and more work to be done to provide practical resources and developmental opportunities to practitioners. Key survey findings are that

  • Practitioners’ satisfaction with SIOP has consistently improved since 2008, but we still have plenty of room for further improvement.

  • SIOP needs to better publicize key resources such as mini-webinars, SHRM White Papers, and so on.

  • Social media channels can be further developed and better utilized (e.g., segmenting by interest areas, consistent focus, better connect practitioners).

  • SIOP should continue providing practical information (e.g., salary survey) and accessible developmental resources (e.g., mini-webinars, professional development opportunities).

Background

The PPC administered a satisfaction survey to SIOP members in early 2019 to gauge the support for current and future practitioner resources as well as general satisfaction with the organization. In recent years, SIOP and the PPC have undertaken many activities including newsletters, webinars, meetings, and other projects to address practitioner needs. Our goal was to understand practitioners’ views on current initiatives and what they would like to see developed in the future. The survey asked questions related to

  • Professional resources used: What resources were most used by practitioners, which were most valuable, and how aware were practitioners of each resource?
  • Professional resources desired: What are the top 10 preferred initiatives from 33 possible future initiatives for practitioners?
  • Overall satisfaction with SIOP: How satisfied are practitioners with SIOP?

 

Method

Four focus groups comprising a total of 23 practitioners were conducted in the fall of 2018 prior to survey development to obtain qualitative information regarding current satisfaction with SIOP resources and to discuss ideas for future initiatives and resources. Based on their feedback, a survey development team, led by Emily Solberg and including Ben Porr and Caitlin Cavanaugh, worked on the development of items around several practice-related topics that had been identified.

Respondents were asked to answer two questions related to 30 existing practitioner resources:

1. How valuable is this resource for practitioners? (Response options were not useful (1), somewhat (2), very (3), extremely (4), and unsure.) Note that a link to each resource was included in the survey that respondents could use to learn more about the resource to help make their ratings if desired.

2. Have you used this resource in the past? (Response options were “yes,” “no,” and “I was not aware of this resource.”)

Results


     Value of existing practitioner resources.

Value: As demonstrated in Table 1, it is clear that our practitioners value staying on top of their knowledge/expertise (e.g., books, conference, white papers, workshops), networking with others (e.g., conference, workshops), finding job opportunities (e.g., I-O Job Network), and understanding salary benchmarks (e.g., salary survey). The low value placed on social media channels (e.g., Youtube, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook) provides the PPC (and other SIOP committees) an opportunity to improve effectiveness in our online channels.

Frequency of use: Our most frequently used resources (e.g., TIP, Salary Survey, I-O Job Network, IOP journal) offer practical information and best practices in the field. The least frequently used resources (e.g., speed benchmarking, Early Career Practitioner Consortium) are valued by those who use them (e.g., SIOP consistently receives positive feedback on these offerings from attendees) but may benefit from increased marketing efforts targeted towards these offerings as many have been introduced in the past several years.

Level of awareness: One survey option was “I was not aware of this resource.” The percentage of people who selected this response was used to identify which resources may be lacking the proper advertisement. The most well-known resources were preconference workshops, LEC, I-O Job Network, TIP, and the membership directory. The resources with the lowest level of awareness (<50% of respondents were aware) were the SIOP YouTube channel, mini-webinars, podcasts, conversation series, and the Professional Practice website.

Full results are noted in Table 1. Green highlighted cells are resources that were rated as being most valuable (ratings over 2.75 on a 4-point scale), most frequently used (used by over 60% of respondents), and most well known (known by over 80% of respondents). Red highlighted cells were rated as being least valuable (ratings below 2.5), least frequently used (ratings below 25%), and least well-known (ratings below 60%). Yellow highlighted cells were all those that fell between the high- and low-rated groups.

Table 1
Existing-Resources Results

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, it can be helpful to look across responses for trends that may indicate where future efforts should be focused to improve awareness. For example, resources that practitioners rated as being quite useful, but also having low levels of awareness included

 

Value of future resources.

Looking to the future, the survey included a list of 33 potential future resources and initiatives, and respondents were asked to vote for up to 10 of them. Two resources were voted on by more than 50% of respondents:

  • Relevant-research update

  • Advanced professional development

More than one-third of respondents chose three additional resources:

  • Creating additional free online training resources

  • Increasing the amount of practitioner content at the conference

  • Offering regional workshops

The list in Table 2 below (ordered from highest to lowest in terms of percent of votes) can be used to help target SIOP’s future efforts related to practitioners.

 

Table 2
New-Resource Voting

New resource

% Voting

Relevant research update: Publishing a regular (e.g., annual) review of recent impactful I-O research and the implications for practice

54.7%

Advanced professional development: Offering SIOP-created in depth coursework on specific practice expertise, topics, and skills (e.g., coaching, executive assessment, validation)

50.1%

Training resources: Creating more free training resources (e.g., webinars, white papers) on topics that are new or are not taught in grad school (e.g., GDPR regulations, R tutorials, business acumen, change management, data visualization)

44.8%

Practitioner conference content: Offering more practitioner-related content at the spring conference

40.3%

Regional workshops: Offering SIOP-sponsored workshops for members in regional locations

36.0%

Website tools: Providing more hands-on resources/tools to the website (e.g., sample performance-rating forms, content-validity questionnaires)

33.0%

In-depth learning: Offering more free, practitioner-oriented, in-depth learning opportunities (e.g., Masters Tutorials) at the spring conference

32.1%

Promoting practitioners in SIOP: Advocating for practitioners for increased representation for SIOP elections, the Executive Board, and appointments

31.8%

Benchmarking groups: Forming special-interest/benchmarking groups on practice areas that connect regularly to discuss issues

29.1%

Syntax-sharing sites: Creating a Github page for I-O analytics (e.g., AI-analysis syntax to run on R or Python)

28.8%

Professional practice standards: Providing standards for practice and practitioners

27.9%

Increase I-O marketing: Aiding practitioners by building I-O and SIOP public brand using a professional marketing team

26.8%

Networking: Providing more networking opportunities (e.g., organized breakfasts, networking sessions, receptions) at the SIOP conference

24.0%

Practitioner research support: Providing resources to help practitioners effectively conduct and disseminate their research/work to broader audiences

23.7%

Professional partnerships: Increasing SIOP's collaboration with related professions or organizations

23.3%

I-O practice marketing: Marketing I-O practice by placing I-O psychology practice articles and advertising in HR and business publications

23.1%

Certifications/credentials: Offering SIOP certifications or credentialing (for pay) on specific expertise areas (e.g., coaching, executive assessment, validation)

21.7%

Business development: Offering learning opportunities in the area of business development for consultants and entrepreneurs

21.1%

Practitioner board placement: Facilitating the placement of I-Os on various local and national boards (e.g., industry, business, professional) by publicizing openings.

20.5%

Teaching I-O practice skills: Advocating for including training and education on I-O practice topics and skills in all I-O graduate programs

19.7%

External conferences: Offering SIOP-sponsored conferences promoting our expertise to other professionals (e.g., HR managers, business consultants)

18.6%

Business-leader contact: Providing more opportunities to meet and learn from C-suite business leaders

18.4%

SIOP awards and recognition: Offering more opportunities for awards and recognition for practitioners (e.g., Fellowship, SIOP awards); defining clearer Practitioner criteria for the awards

17.5%

University courses: Having I-O university courses available (for pay) online to facilitate continuing education

15.2%

SIOP volunteer opportunities: Providing more opportunities for individuals to get involved in volunteering for SIOP

14.3%

External-training-resource list: Developing a list of external-training/credentialing resources (e.g., coaching-certification programs) and their location/costs

13.6%

Practitioners in graduate education: Organizing and promoting practitioners as speakers, lecturers, and adjuncts in I-O graduate programs

13.6%

Specialty listservs: Organizing listservs on specific topics where people can ask questions and receive professional responses from others

13.0%

Professional-education standards: Providing standards for professional education and training (e.g., offer SIOP credentialing/certification for graduate programs by reviewing coursework, syllabi, etc.)

11.8%

University-based consulting: Publishing a list of I-O graduate programs with consulting arms along with contact information, and so on

11.5%

Regional I-O-practice roadshows: Organizing showcases or roadshows of I-O practice expertise for business clients and organizations

11.2%

SIOP Transparency: Making more SIOP materials and Executive Board decisions/action available to members

9.1%

Licensing sponsorship: Taking initiative (e.g., test-prep assistance) to ensure I-Os can get licensed in all states

8.7%

 

Practitioner satisfaction with SIOP.

In terms of satisfaction with SIOP, survey respondents were asked how satisfied they were with SIOP in a number of different areas using a 5-point scale from very satisfied to very dissatisfied.

Areas where satisfaction was highest were

  • SIOP’s efforts to provide opportunities for professional networking

  • Making SIOP the “first-choice” organization for I-O practitioners

  • SIOP efforts in advancing and promoting I-O practice

 

Areas where satisfaction was lowest (slightly below neither satisfied nor dissatisfied) were

  • SIOP’s support for practitioners who want to get licensed

  • Representation of practitioners on the SIOP Executive Board

 

Full results are provided in the Figure 1 below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 1. SIOP satisfaction ratings.

 

Figure 2 shows satisfaction results comparing the 2019 survey results with prior practitioner surveys conducted in 2014 and 2008. There has been a steady increase in satisfaction with professional-networking opportunities, likely due to targeted efforts to improve opportunities for networking (e.g., introduction of speed benchmarking and the practitioner-networking reception at the SIOP conference). There were also fairly large increases in the 2019 survey in terms of efforts in advancing and promoting I-O practice, and support for advancing one’s I-O career compared with the prior two surveys, likely also due to numerous targeted efforts in these areas that resulted from the previous survey outputs (e.g., Early Career Practitioner Consortium, Career Survey).

Despite general increases in satisfaction, the items related to practitioners having influence on SIOP and practitioners’ opportunities for rewards/recognition tended to be some of the lower rated items, as was SIOP’s support for practitioners who want to get licensed. However, it should be noted that results from the Future Resources area of the 2019 survey indicated that in general practitioners were more interested in allocating future resources toward initiatives that helped them to stay up-to-date in the field (e.g., relevant research update) and to continue to develop their knowledge and skills, and that there were relatively fewer votes related to offering more opportunities for awards and recognition or providing licensure sponsorship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 2. SIOP satisfaction ratings over time.

 

Conclusions and Recommendations

The results from this survey can help to evaluate the effectiveness of existing resources and initiatives targeted towards practitioners as well as prioritize initiatives on which to allocate future resources. Based on the results, we identified a few key recommendations:

  • Publicizing existing resources: SIOP can make improvements in communications and marketing. There are many valuable resources (e.g., white papers, webinars, research access, speed benchmarking) that SIOP practitioners may not know are available to them. It is important for SIOP to work to raise the awareness of the existence of these resources, perhaps by making the connections for people in multiple media formats and channels, because the current channels may not be effective.

  • Improving use of social media: These results demonstrate the lack of our effectiveness using social media to connect and communicate with our fellow practitioners. During our panel at this year’s SIOP, a key topic was how well the conference discussion board was used, which demonstrates the success we can have with social media. A key takeaway from this survey is to collaborate with the SIOP committees to determine our strategy to engage our members through social media.

  • Updating existing resources: The resource reported as being most valuable as well as being very widely used was the SIOP Salary Survey. The most recent survey was conducted in 2016. An updated survey should be prioritized (and is currently being planned) given the widespread use and perceived value of this resource. Similarly, the SIOP published book series and SIOP-SHRM white papers were also widely used and perceived as valuable, so resource allocation and efforts should continue to focus on these resources to ensure they continue to meet practitioner needs.

  • Future initiatives related to professional development: Based on the results of the voting on future resources, SIOP practitioners seem to be most interested in having readily available professional-development resources, such as summaries of recent published research, additional online webinars and hands-on resources available through the website (e.g., free training resources on new and relevant topics, hands-on website tools). There were also high numbers of respondents indicating they wanted more in-depth, advanced professional development workshops and training (e.g., regional workshops, in-depth coursework on practitioner areas). These results can help target future efforts by SIOP to help further meet the needs of practitioners.

Next Steps

Two areas of focus emerged from the survey. First, we are briefing other SIOP committees to identify areas where we can partner to improve on the value we provide practitioners and to align our interpretation of results with feedback received from other committees. We see these results as one data point, but our committees are constantly talking with members to understand needs and are gathering feedback on potential improvements. Second, we are assessing the planned initiatives for the upcoming year to use these results as a guide on priorities. It is clear from these results that we should continue focusing on producing high-quality resources for our members to stay current on both research and application while also providing platforms to share this information and network with others.

 

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