5 Organizational Development Jobs

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Efficiency can have a profound impact on business performance. Companies that are unwieldy and disorganized are more likely to waste time and effort trying to achieve their goals. This can lead to effects such as low employee morale and reduced profitability.

Efficient companies, however, can streamline productivity, give employees a greater sense of purpose and strengthen the bottom line.

Organizational development and talent development can be the factors that keep companies running smoothly. These tactics take a holistic approach to business efficiency: applying strategies that take employee needs, client or customer interests and company goals into equal consideration. Organizational development can pay massive dividends for a company’s goal of maximizing profits and stability.

Organizational development expertise can inform a wide range of careers in areas like psychology, consulting, and talent development, and a master’s degree in applied psychology can help you hone the necessary skills to pursue one. Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in this field should be sure to build their understanding of the types of organizational development jobs that they can pursue after earning a degree.

Man and woman looking over plans

What Is Organizational Development?

Organizational development is an interdisciplinary approach that aims to improve operational efficiency by enhancing the employee experience. It uses data-driven research to identify weaknesses in a company’s organizational processes and applies methodologies associated with sociology and organizational psychology to address gaps in the company culture.

Organizational development strategies can be divided into five phases:

  1. Entry: Identifying potential inefficiencies and weaknesses
  2. Diagnosis: Gathering data and analyzing issues
  3. Feedback: Interpreting and presenting the data findings
  4. Solution: Creating, building and executing fixes to the inefficiencies
  5. Evaluation: Determining whether the implemented solutions work

While organizational development may sound similar to human resources (HR), the two fields are distinct. The main difference is their respective goals. HR focuses on enforcing company policies and regulatory compliance. Organizational development and talent development focus on building strategies to improve employee performance.

Careers in Organizational Development

Organizational development can play a part in many careers. Different organizational development jobs may apply the associated concepts in unique ways, but they all share the same goal of improving employee satisfaction and company profitability. Here are some of the careers you can pursue in the field of organizational development and talent development.

Organizational Development Manager

Organizational development managers apply the five phases of organizational development to create and execute training programs. They collaborate with other managers to identify weaknesses within a company and advise company leadership on creating solutions to improve the employee experience.

 The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the salary for training and development managers, which includes organizational development managers, was about $120,000 in 2022.

Account Manager

Account managers oversee the daily management of a company’s clients. They apply organizational development ideas to ensure an optimal customer experience, to satisfy current needs and to address potential future needs.

The median salary for account managers is around $59,900 as of June 2023, according to the salary aggregate website Payscale.

Organizational Psychologist

Organizational psychologists concentrate on applying psychological principles to analyze behavior and address issues throughout a business. They tend to have knowledge of factors that influence and inform employee and consumer behavior such as attitudes, desire for career development, performance, group interaction and ethical considerations, according to the American Psychological Association. Their work can influence recruitment, policy development and training strategies.

The BLS reports that the median annual wage for organizational psychologists was $139,280 in 2022.

Talent Development Manager

Talent development managers coordinate a company’s efforts to optimize employee recruitment and retention. They develop programs to integrate recruitment with company culture, such as initiatives related to equal employment opportunities and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Payscale data from June 2023 shows that talent development managers earn a median salary of around $81,500.

Organizational Development Consultant

Companies hire organizational development consultants to address specific weaknesses in their organizational strategies. The work can focus on areas such as employee training, financial management, technology and strategic direction.

Payscale data from April 2023 indicates that the median salary for organizational development consultants was around $94,500.

Applied Psychology in Organizational Development

Organizational development and talent development focus on keeping employees and clients satisfied. Organizational professionals use applied psychology principles like group dynamics, user experience and cross-cultural psychology to create environments that foster satisfaction and boost productivity.

 The principles can also be applied beyond typical workplace settings. The rise of the virtual workplace and hybrid work means that organizational development strategies may be required to meet the needs of those outside of the traditional work environment as well as those on location or in the office.

As the workplace continues to evolve with technology and employee preferences, professionals must be able to apply the analytical, communication, research and problem-solving skills that advanced applied psychology programs offer. A graduate-level understanding of applied psychology can help organizational development professionals build strategies that positively impact the employee experience, wherever and however employees work.

Be an Effective Strategy Builder

Efficiency is crucial to business success, and one key to it is creating a work environment staffed with satisfied employees. By using applied psychology principles, professionals in organizational development jobs can help companies operate as efficiently as possible.

The USC Master of Science in Applied Psychology (MAPP) program can help you develop the knowledge to drive organizational success. The program dives into the principles and theories of human behavior, combining the viewpoints of consumer psychology and organizational psychology for a holistic approach to how people act and react in different situations.

Find out how USC can prepare you to make a difference in the psychology of business.

Recommended Readings

How Cultural Competence in the Workplace Creates Psychological Safety for Employees
The Future of Consumer Psychology: 3 Trends
What Influences Human Behavior?


American Psychological Association, “Industrial and Organizational Psychology”
Association for Talent Development, “What Is Organization Development?”
Houston Chronicle, “Roles of Organizational Consultants”
Indeed, “Business Efficiency: What It Is and How to Improve It”
Indeed, “Careers in Organizational Development (With Salary Info)”
Indeed, “What Is Organizational Development? And How It Can Work With HR”
Investopedia, “What Is an Account Manager? Job Description, Salary, Benefits”
Payscale, “Average Account Manager Salary”
Payscale, “Average Organizational Development Consultant Salary”
Payscale, “Average Training & Development Manager Salary”
Society for Human Resources Management, “Director, Talent Management”
Society for Human Resources Management, “Organizational Development Manager”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Industrial-Organizational Psychologists”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Training and Development Managers”