About Organisational Psychology

What is Organisational Psychology?

Organisational psychology is the science of people at work. It is one of nine areas of practice within the psychological profession.

Organisational psychologists work with employees and teams to enhance their wellbeing, effectiveness, motivation and engagement. They help organisations to improve their systems, productivity and culture.

They base their practice on science, drawing on psychological research, empirical methods and data to help organisations to achieve more. Using the scientist-practitioner approach, organisational psychologists provide greater confidence and certainty about the effectiveness of the outcomes they deliver.

Why work with an Organisational Psychologist?

Organisational psychologists offer the following value proposition:

  • Organisational psychologists deliver more effective outcomes in drawing on the scientific-practitioner model. They help organisations to make robust, evidence-based decisions, rather than simply adopting the latest management fad.
  • Organisational psychologists are experts in human motivation and behaviour. All psychologists educated in Australia have received at least six years of university training and/or supervised practice. Organisational psychologists must undertake an additional two years of training with an accredited supervisor.
  • Organisational psychologists understand both people and systems. They use this knowledge to develop appropriate solutions to address complex business challenges.
  • Organisational psychologists are held to high professional standards. They are bound by strict regulatory standards designed to protect clients and their confidential information. They are also required to undertake continuing professional development across their careers. In a rapidly changing world, this ensures that their knowledge is always up to date.
  • Organisational psychologists are part of a larger network of practitioners and researchers. When you work with one organisational psychologist, you draw on the accumulated experience and wisdom of the community.

What roles do Organisational Psychologists work in?

Organisational psychologists work in a range of roles, although many do not have “organisational psychologist” in their job title. Many organisational psychologists work in HR-related roles in business and in government. Other organisational psychologists work as external consultants, providing services such as organisational development, change management, career counselling, and executive coaching. Some organisational psychologists work in universities as academics.

To see some great video case studies of Organisational Psychology projects in action, please visit the Workplace Excellence Awards channel on YouTube.

What expertise do Organisational Psychologists have?

Organisational psychologists receive training in the following areas:

  • Identification and planning of workforce requirements
  • Structuring divisions, departments and teams to suit the organisation’s goals
  • Systematic identification of the knowledge, skills and abilities required for specific jobs
  • Development of selection criteria for jobs and identification of the best assessment tools
  • Assessment of knowledge, skills and abilities, and potential and personal fit for specific jobs, using techniques such as assessment centres, psychological testing and behavioural interviewing
  • Analysis of training and development needs for individuals, teams and organisations
  • Design and evaluation of skills and behavioural training programs
  • Provision of advice and support to organisational leaders in relation to how they lead,
    engage and motivate their people
  • Establishment of a talent management framework, including succession planning, to identify and better manage critical roles, critical people, strengths and gaps
  • Introduction of programs to develop and retain top performers and next generation leaders
  • Provision of individual assistance, coaching and mentoring to improve work performance
  • Design and implementation of career development processes for an organisation, along with individual career planning and vocational assessment
  • Provision of advice to government, employers, employees and unions on social psychological aspects of issues such as industrial relations, HR and occupational health and safety
  • Design, implementation and evaluation of people­‐related change management
  • Development of programs to help leaders better manage change and drive performance improvement in their part of the organisation e.g., handling change fatigue, building resilience
  • Design, implementation and evaluation of programs to improve organisational performance and employee experiences
  • Design of organisational structures, processes and incentives to fuel organisational prosperity
  • Development and analysis of surveys of employees or clients/customers
  • Research such as identifying which work behaviour predicts future success
  • Design, implementation and evaluation of performance management systems that link in with business strategies
  • Development of employee incentive programs to drive desired behaviours and results
  • Development of programs to improve employee wellbeing, commitment and engagement
  • Development of policies and practices to enable better management of work-life balance
  • Development of policy and programs in employee assistance, rehabilitation, stress management and health promotion
  • Evaluation of an organisation’s people-­‐related programs and practices to assess operational and strategic impact
  • Application of customer behaviour insights to improve business processes and systems
  • Development of branding and communications to align an organisation’s processes, culture and values with the external brand message

What Organisational Psychology professional bodies exist in Australia?

All psychologists are registered through the Psychology Board of Australia.

The College of Organisational Psychologists is the main professional association of organisational psychologists in Australia. It hosts an events calendar listing different types of organisational psychology related professional functions. The College is a group within the larger Australian Psychological Society.

There are two major Organisational Psychology social media groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.