Personnel psychology usually focuses on the best practices of recruiting, selecting, placing and developing employees to meet strategic organizational goals. Recruiting is carried out according to job descriptions when managers select groups of candidates with certain characteristics, such as the type of education (such as a Bachelor’s degree in Physics) or work experience (Cascio & Aguinis, 2019). Candidates are selected according to the qualities that will guarantee future employees maximum success, and as part of the selection, the actual assessment tools are developed. An adequate choice can be made using tools such as a personal test or an interview format that allows you to discuss aspects of experience or technical knowledge in more detail.
Notably, employee placement, which is an appointment to a job or promotion, is associated with the notion that this appointment involves career prospects. Scholars note that a particular job is usually associated with multiple jobs and “may have stronger ties to a subset of other jobs than to the job initially selected” (Cascio & Aguinis, 2019, p. 171). Therefore, HR managers conduct job analyses to identify job clusters associated with specific criteria and determine logical career paths. Equally important, employee development involves providing training in areas that are associated with the greatest productivity. For example, employees are trained in special skills to better meet the requirements of their positions, and training can also be conducted online.
Employee selection is seen as the central practice in personnel psychology since it determines the composition of the work team. In particular, selection requires understanding what human qualities and professional skills are needed to competently match the current job descriptions. Therefore, HR managers direct their efforts toward the selection of certain groups of potential candidates, setting criteria that correspond to the current organizational circumstances described. Tools for assessing certain qualities, for example, through questionnaires or interviews, are related to the fact that employees must be selected to fulfill strategic organizational goals and are part of a larger whole (Cascio & Aguinis, 2019). In other words, new employees perform the role associated with their position and participate in organizational environment creation.
There are many ways in which personnel psychology is applied in the work environment. For instance, personnel psychology can be a handy tool to increase business competitiveness, especially in the service industry. Notably, personnel is the most important resource, even compared to capital, equipment, technology, and information (Landy & Conte, 2018). Unlike the latter, which are available to any market participant in a relatively equal quality, development and the right selection of personnel can be decisive factors in success or failure. Therefore, personnel psychology is usually applied to create additional value.
Human resources must perform certain functions to be a source of competitive advantage. To this end, human resources must contribute “positive economic benefits to the process of producing goods or providing services; workforce skills differ from those of competitors (through education and on-the-job training); and (3) such skills are not easily duplicated” (Landy & Conte, 2018, p. 9). The personnel management system is defined as a set of various related processes to maintain and develop human resources. Therefore, the correct management of this system determines the ways of internal development of the organization or further achievement of its strategic goals.
Industrial-organizational psychologists are responsible for how well employees help an organization meet its goals, such as bottom-line profits. By helping to identify and solve organizational problems by managing human behavior in the workplace, industrial-organizational psychologists improve employees’ work environment (Robertson & Cooper, 2001). The training of IO psychologists is focused on mastering the techniques of working with personnel, although in larger organizations, the duties of IO psychologists may be distributed among several job positions, which are combined into a department.
Occasionally, IOs also serve as HR managers and may fill this role in some companies. IOs are trained in personnel management and development if the company has such training. They also work more closely with senior management, as senior managers’ responsibilities include working with IO to solve day-to-day problems (Robertson & Cooper, 2001). IO psychologists can work in any manufacturing or service industry, including factories, offices, or hospitals.
IO psychologists must have specific skills and competencies to adequately perform their duties. Emotional intelligence is one of the most important qualities for IO to work. Psychologists with high emotional intelligence should apply it for reflection and self-criticism, aiming to identify their own biases. Equally important, high emotional intelligence allows IO psychologists to correctly assess the emotions and feelings of other people and respond to them following the requirements of their job role. At the same time, critical thinking helps IO psychologists identify problems within an organization or its human processes.
Cascio, W. F., & Aguinis, H. (2019). Applied psychology in talent management, (8th ed.). Sage.
Landy, F. J. & Conte, J. M. (2018). Work in the 21st century: An introduction to industrial and organizational psychology, (6th ed.). John Wiley & Sons.
Robertson, I. & Cooper, C. (2001). Personnel psychology and human resources management. John Wiley & Sons Inc.