Using Psychology to Retain Top Talent

In the workplace, psychology is an essential tool for boosting employee performance, improving interpersonal relationships, and helping find the best possible candidates for a position. Find out how companies large and small use psychology to keep top talent, and learn how studying organizational psychology can be an essential step toward pursuing these roles.

Attract Top Talent in the Field

A meeting takes place

High compensation alone will not attract the best candidates to a particular company. Having an understanding of individual needs and behaviors can help hiring managers determine why people seek certain jobs in the first place. Candidates' needs range from the potential for advancement to a positive work culture to a healthy work-life balance. Recruitment specialists and human resource managers use this knowledge to help companies decide how to attract the top talent in the field, enabling the business to grow and achieve goals.

Not only does organizational psychology include tools for assessing the skills, talents, and experience of prospective employees, but it also helps businesses determine the best fit for a job opening. Additionally, as the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) reports, psychology skills are also critical in helping companies understand the issues that they must address to help attract and retain an organization’s talent. With these advanced psychology skills at their disposal, companies can realize their potential for growth while building an impressive workforce, and addressing the issues important to that workforce.

Retain the Best Employees

Most companies can quickly calculate what it costs to replace an employee. From the losses associated with leaving the position open for weeks or months to the price of recruiting new talent and training a new employee, attracting and hiring top talent is expensive. Financial implications are often the biggest reasons that companies around the globe strive to retain the high-performing employees that they already have rather than looking for new ones.

Organizational psychology plays a key role in this since companies need to know what employees want to feel satisfied at work. Psychology professionals use their understanding of people and their knowledge of effective research to develop programs that assess employee needs. Those involved in organizational psychology may study employee apathy on the job, evaluate reward systems, and carry out programs that encourage employees to commit to a company over the long term.

SIOP predicts that the following trends will be of critical importance to businesses this year:

  • Health and wellness
  • Data integration across processes
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Capturing the “voice” of employees
  • The changing nature of the workforce
  • Flexibility in how work gets done
  • People analytics
  • Data-driven decisions
  • Adapting to change
  • Changing performance management techniques

Organizational psychology can help businesses understand when these or other trends are of importance to employees, and how to adapt to them to ensure workforce satisfaction. Further, when businesses undergo mergers, rapid growth, or downsizing, organizational psychology becomes even more necessary. In this context, advanced understanding of psychology in the workplace is essential for helping an organization restructure while maintaining transparency so that employees feel grounded and confident in their place at the table.

Improve Training Materials and Methods

For most companies, the need for advanced psychology skills does not stop with employee recruitment. They are also necessary for understanding whether employees are capable of doing their jobs, developing effective training materials, and understanding how to improve performance on the job.

The American Psychological Association (APA) explains that in-depth knowledge of psychology is essential for understanding what employees need to improve. Those working in organizational psychology put their research skills to work by evaluating training needs and determining where the company and its employees fall short. These professionals may also make professional development strategies that enable employees to gain the skills and experience they need to realize their potential.

In many cases, effective training and professional development do not just benefit the company. These methods also increase overall happiness and satisfaction. This can encourage talented employees to feel more rewarded while improving staff retention.

Establish a Positive Work Culture

As companies strive to attract and keep employees and build a growth-oriented workforce, one of the most important aspects they can develop is a positive work culture. Since organizational psychology professionals have the interpersonal and critical thinking skills they need to understand human behavior as well as the research tools they need to determine what works and what does not, they often take responsibility for helping companies set up and communicate a positive work culture.

Also known as behavior scientists, organizational psychology professionals often put their skills to work by assessing what employees need from their company. As TLNT explains, often this starts with understanding what meaningful work means to each employee. It may also include understanding employees’ preferences for engagement and understanding what an inclusive workplace means to top talent.

Creating a positive work culture does not end with research and assessment, though. To develop a positive environment, organizational psychology professionals often work with executives and decision makers to find effective ways to communicate corporate culture. This may include maintaining a constant stream of communication, developing on-site employee programs, and even rewarding employees for meeting goals.

A positive work culture does not look the same for each industry and every business. Strong psychology skills enable savvy professionals to define and promote the right environment for each company.

Strengthen Relationships in the Workplace

Even the most ambitious employees need to create healthy, supportive relationships in the workplace. These go far beyond mere friendships; workplace relationships help employees work together smoothly, join forces to collaborate, and realize better results than they could have alone. Helping employees build the foundations of these relationships is not always easy, however, especially if a company has a history of internal conflicts or a competition-focused culture.

According to SIOP, an organizational psychology professional applies skills in conflict resolution and interpersonal relationship development. Doing this helps a company build an environment that is more positive and that supports collaboration and teamwork instead of oppression.

Thanks to an advanced understanding of psychology in the workplace, employees can work smarter and perform better.  For many companies, this does more than just solve an immediate problem. It helps employees adopt team building as a long-term strategy to benefit themselves and the company.

The Online Master of Science in Applied Psychology degree offers a unique perspective into the business applications of psychological concepts. Professionals with advanced education in applied psychology may have the opportunity to put their skills to work retaining top talent for high-performing companies.

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