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Jenny Baker
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Texas Is Big on I-O

Anna Erickson & Melissa Kloner, SIOP Local I-O Group Relations Committee

Although we will not be visiting the Lone Star State for SIOP’s 35th annual conference, the SIOP’s Local I-O Group Relations Committee would like to take a moment to highlight what else is happening in Texas in the world of I-O.  Specifically, there are four local I-O groups that are making an impact for Texans.

Austin People Analytics Meetup

The Austin People Analytics Meetup is a local group that meets at the University of Texas at Austin in the business school.  Ethan Burris (McCombs School of Business, UT Austin) and Roxanne Laczo (Hogan Assessment Systems) founded the group two years ago with the goal to provide I-O psychologists and others working in people analytics with a venue for networking, learning, and collaboration.  The group meets about four times per year at the McCombs School of Business.  Meeting attendance is free because all costs are covered by sponsoring organizations who pay for drinks and snacks.  The group maintains an e-mail distribution list of approximately 250 people.  Quarterly meetings typically draw between 50–75 people. 

Austin is home to dozens of companies and the heavy presence of the tech industry means there is a strong appetite for using data to make decisions.  The Austin People Analytics Meetup works to create a bridge between academics and industry and attracts a diverse group of HR professionals.  Approximately half of their members are also SIOP members, with 25–30 PhDs in I-O psychology–mostly practitioners.  However, their membership consists of a diverse group of HR professionals including those working in benefits, diversity, talent selection, and employee acquisition.

Their advice to other local I-O groups: stories + data = interesting discussion. Stimulating dialogue about interesting topics contributes to the buzz following any event such that attendance tends to increase at the next meeting.  Because of their broad membership base, they like to keep the presentations relatable to all by providing just enough detail to pique the audience’s interest without providing so much detail that they lose the less technically savvy audience members.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Austin People Analytics Meetup, reach out to Ethan Burris: ethan.burris@mccombs.utexas.edu.   

Dallas Area Industrial Organizational Psychologists (DAIOP)

A little further north, Adam Kabins leads a local group called the Dallas Area Industrial Organizational Psychologists (DAIOP). This is a local group of I-O psychologists that meets about twice per year in the Dallas–Fort Worth area.  Originally founded in 2002, DAIOP had become much less active 3–4 years ago.  Like many local groups, it had lost momentum after a strong ten years or so.  The group has now revitalized with more than 300 professionals on their distribution list and quarterly meetings that typically draw between 30 and 50 attendees. 

The group offers free admission to anyone interested in attending the meetings by recruiting local firms to host the quarterly meetings. Varying the meeting type encourages attendance, as some meetings are exclusively networking-based events (i.e., “happy hour” gatherings), whereas others offer research summaries and other learning opportunities.  One of their most popular meetings is the annual post-SIOP summary meeting in which 10–15 people present their key learning from the SIOP conference leveraging an “ignite” format.  According to Kabins, the most valued service for most members is the job postings that DAIOP shares with all of its members.  Each week, Kabins distributes between 5 and 10 job openings to DAIOP members via e-mail.  If you’re interested in attending a DAIOP meeting or being included in their e-mail distribution list, contact Adam Kabins at Adam.Kabins@kornferry.com

Southwest Assessment Group (SWAG)

Another Texas-based group focusing on selection and assessment is the Southwest Assessment Group (SWAG), which distributes quarterly newsletters and meets semi-annually also in the Dallas area.  This group is one of three local chapters of the International Professional Assessment Council (IPAC), which exists to promote state-of-the-art selection practices. SWAG works to create a forum to facilitate networking and best-practice sharing, and it also serves as a bridge between science, research, and practice.  One goal is to provide a vehicle to pioneer new concepts related to employment assessment.  As such, the organization welcomes not only I-O psychologists, but anyone with an interest in selection and assessment, including attorneys, HR leaders, and specialists working in staffing, recruiting, and organizational performance management.  That said, SWAG’s membership base is primarily I-O psychologists and most of their members are also members of SIOP.  The group has strong representation from I-O practitioners working in public sector and government roles where selection research is taken very seriously. 

In January, SWAG hosted their second semi-annual conference focused on human capital management, which was attended by more than 30 students and practitioners. Dr. Ben Dilla presented a walkthrough of the Cilfton StrengthsFinder and provided all participants with a personalized profile. Also, Dr. Stephen Mueller presented best practices in human capital management and the future of I-O psychology in each of its focus areas.

If you’re interested in learning more, you will find their website at https://www.ipacweb.org/SWAG and can reach the current SWAG President, Erin Smith, at erin.smith@dallascityhall.com

Austin Association for Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Austin is home to one more local group that has been dormant for the last couple of years but is in initial stages of revitalization.  The vision for the Austin Association for Industrial/Organizational Psychology (AAIOP) is to create a forum for Austin-based I-O psychologists to meet, network, educate, and share best practices with like-minded professionals. The group will provide an opportunity to talk about broad I-O topics integrated with some of the challenges we face as professionals on a local level.  If you’d like to know more, express interest in joining, volunteer, or offer support, contact David Dubin (David@dubinadvisorygroup.com).


We Need You!

These are the local I-O groups that we know are active in Texas. Did we miss someone?

Unlike some other professional organizations, SIOP does not establish chapters that operate on a local level.  The SIOP’s Local I-O Group Relations Committee has been established to provide support for grass-roots local groups while respecting their autonomy and independent operation.  As part of our work, we have created a tool kit to help you build or sustain a local group and a list of local groups with contact information which you can find here: https://www.siop.org/Membership/Local-I-O-Groups.

If you know about a group that is not listed there or if the information we have is out of date, please let us know by sending an e-mail to Matthew Haynes: mhaynes@siop.org.

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