Economics/Business

What is organizational psychology/origin/importance/implementation

Organizational psychology studies the interaction between people and their work and, thus, performs analysis and defines strategies capable of creating a more positive environment in companies to promote well-being and improve productivity and results.

The well-being of employees is a growing concern that implies taking care of their physical, mental and emotional health. Something that leads us to talk about organizational psychology.

Organizational and work psychology helps to maintain the quality of life of professionals, contributing to their productivity and, consequently, to the success of the company.

What is organizational psychology

Organizational psychology is a branch of Psychology focused on the study and structuring of the behavior of professionals in a company .

With this, it can be said that it is about the psychology that is used to guide people management to promote quality of life and good relationships in the work environment.

The main outcome of this objective, as we will see further on, is the development of strategic practices that positively impact the organization’s business.

The study of human behavior with a focus on corporate reality, which is the proposal of business psychology, favors productivity, conflict management, turnover reduction and other relevant issues.

Branches of organizational psychology

To facilitate your understanding of what organizational psychology is, let’s go to its fields of activity!

personnel psychology

It is the branch that deals with issues related to the selection process of new professionals , career development, performance evaluations, among others.

work psychology

It addresses issues related to the interaction of each professional with equipment and machinery present in their work routine.

It also works on issues of safety and work organization.

Psychology of organizations

It deals with issues such as employee motivation, interpersonal relationships, conflict management , leader development and others.

How organizational psychology came to be

Based on the explanation of what organizational psychology is, it may seem that we are talking about a new concept, but that is not quite the truth.

The history of organizational psychology began during the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution . 

At the time, the so-called industrial psychology sought to support workers in the new relationships that were established with the end of the feudal system.

However, it took until 1924 for research to understand working conditions to begin.

Hence the proposal to change the idea that employees were machines; a vision well portrayed in Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times .

It was only with the expansion of studies in anthropology and sociology, however, that social issues came to the fore around 1950. Since then, concern for the well-being of professionals has been growing .

Gradually, psychology professionals began to pay more attention to human relationships in the work environment and their impact on the productivity capacity of individuals and teams.

In recent years, there are issues being discussed more intensively, shedding light on the need to invest in mental and emotional health care, in addition to physical health.

As a result, there are companies that choose to have an organizational psychology professional on their staff so that working conditions are monitored more closely.

This makes it easier to identify problems, correct them and propose changes to create a more positive working environment and relationships.

Currently, organizational psychology works to balance the employer and workers side , promoting an alignment that favors both parties.

The importance of organizational psychology

Organizational psychology is important to ensure a harmonious working environment , avoiding situations that harm employees and the company itself.

Different factors, such as technological advances and social changes, affect the dynamics of the world of work and point to new challenges for employers and workers.

As a result, market competitiveness has long been a factor of great relevance and has led to bold goals and, inevitably, varying levels of stress.

This is the ideal scenario for conflicts and even occupational diseases to be present with a certain frequency, but this is something that no one wants. Thus, it is natural for the parties involved to look for ways to avoid problems.

As employers are the stronger side, it is your responsibility to ensure proper working conditions. 

This has to do with physical space, suitability of demand, and issues relating to emotional well-being as well.

That’s where organizational psychology comes in, whose performance ranges from the emphasis on respect for breaks at work to the need to allow everyone to hear and be heard , providing a pleasant work environment.

All because, without the company taking care of well-being and good relations on a day-to-day basis, motivation and productivity drop and, on the other hand, conflicts and resignation increase.

The benefits of organizational psychology

Companies need to deal with market competitiveness and a growing demand for innovation, agility and quality. Doing all this harmoniously is a challenge.

An excessive focus on production, without proper care for the well-being of employees, can generate results for a while, but cause damage later.

The drop in productivity , as well as absences and high turnover are among the points that any organization wants to avoid. What you want to promote is just the opposite.

The benefits of organizational psychology have to do with creating optimal conditions to maximize productivity and increase employee retention .

Can you imagine everything that stems from a reality in which workers feel good to seek their best performance, with no desire to change jobs?

The benefits range from improving the organizational climate, increasing profits, to strengthening the employer brand .

These are achievements that depend on the presence of an organizational psychologist and a team to be assembled to work in different areas of the organization.

What are the roles of the organizational psychologist

For this conversation to continue, it’s important that you know what an organizational psychologist is, and there’s no mystery to it. 

We are talking about the Psychology professional whose work focuses on the world of work.

Mentioning it is necessary so that you have no doubts about the need to hire someone with this background to work with the people management sector .

Its role is to align the needs of employees and the interests of the company in order to promote quality of life in the work environment .

For that, the organizational psychologist needs to be able to analyze the behavior and the profile of the people that integrate the company’s staff.

Thus, you can understand your needs and identify the best way to deal with each one.

All this, it is worth remembering, aims to create conditions for employees to produce more and with quality, generating better results for the company.

Understanding the roles of this professional is even easier when you know their areas of expertise and that’s what we’ll talk about next.

Areas of activity within companies

Organizational and work psychology, as well as the responsible professional, can be applied in different situations that are part of the reality of a company. Check out!

1. Recruitment and selection

The recruitment and selection process is where the success of a company begins , especially for those who understand the value of human capital to achieve the goals of an organization.

For this reason, there are senior management people committed to providing the best tools and HR people looking for different techniques to identify talent, conduct interviews and ensure good alignment in hiring.

All this may give the false impression that organizational psychology has nothing to add here, but it is not quite so.

Only accredited psychologists can administer psychological tests to job applicants . 

This is an important resource because it complements the evaluation process and prevents people with an inappropriate profile from being hired.

The professional responsible for organizational psychology in the selection process has the necessary knowledge to make careful and decisive assessments. 

Thus, they contribute with a global vision of the interviewees, increasing the chances of success in the choice.

In this regard, it is always good to remember that technical skills or hard skills are still important. 

However, the so-called soft skills and the behavioral profile of individuals have been increasingly relevant for teamwork.

Therefore, the organizational psychologist has the role of helping the recruitment and selection team to conduct the process more efficiently and make better choices.

2. Training and development

Following the natural order of things, after new hires it is common for companies to start training processes with newcomers.

In general, these are short-term actions that provide the necessary training for tasks to be carried out well and for possible bottlenecks to be avoided on a daily basis.

In other cases, it is beneficial when the organization creates development programs for employees who are already “at home”, aiming at their professional evolution.

The focus on improving or developing skills usually characterizes long-term training. 

The idea is to provide conditions for each professional to evolve in their career and add more value to the company.

In the end, organizational psychology plays an interesting role in training and development because it helps to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each employee and each team.

In this way, it creates a basis for the best strategies to be defined, allowing programs to focus on what is essential to the business and what will really be suitable for each professional.

It is worth noting that training can even include actions to improve interpersonal relationships, coexistence and teamwork. Something that also counts with the vision of the psychologist.

3. Organizational climate management

And speaking of coexistence, organizational psychology plays a role in improving the organizational climate as well.

The climate is “an indicator of satisfaction” of individuals with the work environment. Something that can, yes, involve physical space and equipment, but it concerns the quality of relationships and the way in which the routine is conducted.

Organizational psychology is able to identify factors that are capable of harming the climate because it understands human relationships in the work environment .

Consequently, it can anticipate problems so that they can be prevented and indicate adjustments that need to be made. 

In this way, organizational psychology favors the feeling of well-being that results from a healthier and more positive environment.

Still, organizational psychology increases the chances of success in leading teams in the face of a challenge or opportunity. Something that helps keep morale and motivation high, also impacting the weather.

It is also worth mentioning that there is a role in mediation or conflict management . This type of situation is natural, but it needs to be addressed and, at best, avoided.

Good conflict management identifies the causes, guides and proposes measures to prevent new situations from impacting productivity and results.

The psychologist has knowledge that enables him to achieve this goal more easily.

4. Position and salary plan and benefits management

Are you realizing how close the role of organizational psychology is to managing people? That’s why, as we mentioned, the professional in the area works in partnership with HR.

Another moment in which this occurs is in the design of the positions that the company needs based on its philosophy. 

Knowing how professionals relate to work, psychology can help define appropriate assignments .

It is common for the definition of a job and salary plan to be related to benefits management and, once again, organizational psychology can be applied.

The idea is to use the ability to analyze the needs of each person to define which type of benefit is most interesting to employees . 

Just think that an employee with children tends to prefer a health plan with dependents, something that does not interest those who do not have children so much.

It is worth mentioning that organizational psychologists know statistics and use this knowledge to better define the benefits, ensuring maximum personalization.

5. Career and development plan

The existence of a career plan is among the decisive factors for attracting and retaining talent. 

It turns out that, even if they want to evolve, not all professionals know which paths they want to follow.

This is where the organizational psychologist comes in to listen to employees and help them define their goals and objectives. 

Something that must be done based on real possibilities that, preferably, consider the space for growth within the organization itself.

6. Performance evaluation

One of the actions necessary for the company to be able to guide an employee in their professional evolution is performance evaluations .

The performance evaluation studies the results presented by each worker, drawing a parallel with what was expected in the exercise of the function.

In other wordsthe objective is to verify performance at work . Something that allows feedback to be given for improvements, and feedforward to be done with new goals in mind.

Organizational psychology comes into play because evaluations demand active listening and analysis skills to understand the reasons for each employee’s level of performance.

Sometimes, when performance is below expectations, there are problems related to the work itself, but at other times, it is personal issues that influence the result.

It is up to the psychologist to use sensitivity and their knowledge to identify the core of the issue and help each worker to deal with the challenges in the best way.

7. Professional guidance

Taking the hook from what was said, when the negative result of the performance evaluation is linked to work issues, the problem can be dissatisfaction with the routine and tasks.

Faced with something like this, professional guidance is necessary to prevent the workday from becoming exhausting, demotivating and even capable of triggering occupational diseases .

The idea is to help the employee to align career and purpose in the best way, allowing the individual to rediscover motivation and quality of life in their professional day-to-day.

This can be done through career redirection, which can even be anchored in internal recruitment, or promotion to a new position. 

That is to say, the orientation can indeed identify the termination as the best way out for the worker and the company.

8. Physical space and ergonomics

Physical space and ergonomics at work affect well-being, task performance, health and organizational climate.

In the best case scenario, a company wants the environment to favor productivity and this has to do, among other things, with the distribution of machinery and the adequacy of equipment.

There must be comfort, ease of movement and adequate tools for each type of work to be performed in the organization. 

It is worth knowing, ergonomics still has to do with posture, whether in front of the computer or performing more manual work.

In any case, the knowledge of organizational psychology comes into play to create stimulating and inclusive environments. Something that considers individual needs and a focus on productivity.

9. Work safety

Another important issue in the routine of an organization is the safety of its employees.

A company may be responsible for purchasing and maintaining PPE, as well as promoting the Internal Workplace Accident Prevention Week, for example.

The awareness and prevention work, however, should not happen only in one week a year.

Thus, organizational psychology contributes by developing awareness actions to mitigate risks and have a more aligned posture on the part of employees.

10. Mental health diagnosis

Still at the beginning of the text, we talk about concern for physical, mental and emotional health . With that, it is likely that you were already waiting for us to address the matter more directly.

We mentioned areas of organizational psychology that favor the mental well-being of workers. An example is conflict management, but that’s not all.

We highlight the role of the assessment of the corporate environment to define conditions and actions that prevent mental health problems at work .

Different occupational diseases , including burnout syndrome , can be on the radar of the responsible psychologist. 

With that in mind, the professional can survey employees to learn their view of the work environment and more.

The investigation, whether based on conversations and research or observation, allows the psychologist to make a diagnosis capable of guiding necessary interventions for the promotion of mental health in the company.

11. Organizational diagnosis

And speaking of diagnosis, it is necessary to be clear that any problems faced by employees do not originate only in particular issues.

Sometimes, the company has its responsibility and this is clear, for example, if we think of an environment with equipment in poor condition, abusive leadership, lack of appreciation and so on.

In other words, the crux of the matter may be problems relating to people management and management more broadly . 

Organizational psychology is able, through different tools, to analyze the situation and provide a diagnosis.

This is important because the failures detected can be related to the low performance of employees, their lack of motivation, frequent conflicts, high turnover and other problems.

The responsible psychologist is able to identify points of attention and indicate ways to promote necessary adjustments for worker productivity and business success.

How to implement organizational psychology

You already know the importance of organizational psychology, so we can move on to its ways of implementing it. 

There are two options: assemble an internal team or hire an external consultancy.

Assembling an internal team

To assemble its own team, the company will need to have one or more organizational psychologists . Something that varies according to size and demand.

In addition, it should call on HR professionals who are more sensitive to the human issues of people management to compose this team.

One of the advantages of having your own team is that it makes it easier to keep the work going.

Organizational psychology can help with improvements at all times and this becomes even easier when the team is present to follow the changes in the scenario and the moment of each employee.

Hiring a consultancy

The option of hiring a consultancy is also valid and can be simpler if we consider that the choice of professionals to compose an internal team needs to be very well done.

However, the company needs to understand that if it hires outside experts, it will need to take responsibility for following through on the measures implemented afterwards.

Eventually, it may be necessary to call the consultancy again so that new steps are defined.

Both alternatives involve costs, or rather, an investment on the part of the organization. In addition to manpower, carrying out tests and research demands resources, but the return tends to make up for all this.

Best practices in implementation

Everything that has been said so far suggests that organizational psychology exists to solve problems and improve situations, and that’s it. 

In fact, knowledge to follow this purpose exists, but the sector also lacks attention.

So, we have some tips or best practices to leverage the power of business psychology. Follow up!

Promote team interaction

Encouraging interpersonal relationships is positive for any sector of the company, including organizational psychology. It is interesting that professionals socialize with each other and with other company colleagues.

Thus, it is worth promoting happy hours, coffees or lunches on commemorative dates and other events of this nature. The idea is to create opportunities for the team to get to know each other better and work better together.

Stimulate interactions with top management

It is very positive that the top management of the company understands what organizational psychology does and understands the strategies indicated and adopted by the team.

For this reason, it is interesting that opportunities for dialogue take place and that managers show curiosity about the area and its actions. Questions and exchanges of ideas are welcome.

share the results

You should know that, even today, there are people who are uncomfortable with the idea of ​​dealing with psychologists. The issue is still a taboo for many and this can generate distrust among employees.

Therefore, in addition to communicating the role of the organizational psychology team, it is interesting for HR to communicate the results achieved with support from the sector.

Therefore, it is valid to rely on metrics and performance indicators because it is easier to accept what is more tangible, more concrete.

Think strategically about the industry

In recent times, a lot has been said about a more strategic HR within companies. A very similar idea applies to the field of organizational psychology.

In this regard, it is worth remembering that psychology at work aims to align the interests of employees with the company’s goals and, for this reason, its performance can be decisive for the business.

Seeing things this way leads to the inclusion of the team in meetings and decision-making processes. Their statements, based on knowledge and analysis, tend to favor the definition of solutions favorable to the company’s success.

 

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