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The Thinking Cap

Tips, tricks and solutions from the team at PSB Solutions. We offer solutions in regards to people, safety, and business.

Bouncing Back: Building a Resilient Workforce

PSB Solutions - Thursday, October 31, 2013

Failure is a common occurrence within the workforce. Applying for a tender and missing out, a colleague being promoted over you, experiencing a safety incident, or having a setback on a project deliverable are all examples of the perceived failures we can face at work. How your workforce responds to these perceived failures can affect the competitiveness of your organisation and the degree to which employees reach their potential.

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Imagine you have two employees, Jane and Simon, who have just received negative performance appraisals. Both initially feel a little hurt, demotivated and are unable to concentrate properly for the rest of the day.  

However, when your team meets the next morning, Jane arrives brimming with enthusiasm. Overnight Jane has reassured herself that she is good at what she does; she can improve on some keys areas and decides to schedule a meeting with her supervisor to discuss the review in detail. Meanwhile Simon is still dejected. He feels the performance appraisal confirms his belief that he isn’t able to work in such a competitive environment. The performance review echoes in his mind every time he thinks about work. Several months down the track, Jane has applied for two development courses and has received a promotion. Simon begins to spiral into hopelessness and eventually leaves his role for something with less pressure.

What differentiates the Janes from the Simons? Can you engineer a resilient workforce?        

                                                

What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability of an individual to positively adjust to adversity or to develop adaptive strategies to deal with adversity. The study of resilience and other similar positive psychology traits have recently been brought into the spotlight through the work of Martin Seligman. Seligman began his career studying failure and helplessness. He and his colleagues developed the theory of ‘learned helplessness’, a condition whereby animals and humans learn to behave helplessly, failing to change their behaviour even though there are opportunities for them to help themselves.

In a famous experiment, Hiroto and Seligman (1975) randomly divided people into three groups. The people in the first group were played an annoyingly loud noise that they could silence by pressing a button in front of them. In the second group, people were exposed to the same noise but weren’t able to turn it off. In the third group, the participants couldn’t hear anything. Later that day the participants were all faced with a new situation that exposed them to the same loud annoying sound. In this case, all participants had to do to silence the sound was to move their hands approximately 30cm. The people in the first and third groups were quick to realise this and learnt to avoid the sound. In contrast to this, the people in the second group typically did nothing. They had ‘learnt’ earlier in the day that their behaviours had little effect on the outcome of turning the noise off, so did nothing. They have literally learned helplessness. What is interesting is that approximately one third of people and animals exposed to similar situations and experiments never learn helplessness. They continue to fight to improve their situation. Seligman suggests that this largely to do with an individual’s disposition towards optimism and resilience.

What are the benefits of a resilient workforce?

There are both individual and employer benefits for improving resilience within the workplace.

For individuals, resilience has been linked to:

  • improved well-being;
  • reduction in stress;
  • positive affect; and
  • improved performance.

Benefits at the individual level have a positive flow on effect to the organisational level, where resilience has been associated with:

  • reduced turnover and turnover intentions;
  • reduced employee sick leave;
  • fewer compensation claims; and
  • achieving better performance outcomes (eg. care outcomes in a hospital setting).

Can you develop resilience?

The simple answer is yes. Resilience is similar to a skill like time-management. Some people seem to naturally have the skill and are able to seamlessly apply it to their work, whereas others need the skill developed. Martin Seligman has recently pioneered a global resilience development program within the U.S. Army, an organisation with high-risk of trauma and adversity. They have had a high degree of success and buy-in from the army personnel. Resilience development programs have also been suggested for hospital nursing staff who are often confronted with a number of challenges such as staffing shortages, bullying, abuse and violence, occupational health and safety issues, and frequent restructuring (see Jackson, Firtko & Edenborough, 2007).

If you would like more information about what PSB Solutions can do to help build resilience in your workplace, give us a call on (08) 9489 3900 or email us at info@psbsolutions.com.au.

Reading List

Seligman, M. (2011). Building Resilience. Harvard Business Review, 89(4), 100-106.

Jackson, D., Firtko, A., & Edenborough, M. (2007). Personal resilience as a strategy for surviving and thriving in the face of workplace adversity: A literature review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 60(1), 1-9.

Outplacement: The Next Step

PSB Solutions - Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Outplacement: The Next Step

Market demand, mergers, acquisitions, reorganisations, changes in management, and the introduction of technical innovations inevitably bring about resource reviews, and the separation of employees from the organisation.

Changes such as these not only affect the separated individual; they can impact the organisation’s brand and the morale of remaining employees. Navigating these changes effectively is crucial.

Outplacement is a structured process designed to assist separated employees to find new opportunities, while helping to minimise the distress associated with being unemployed. Outplacement services have many benefits at both an organisational and individual level. These are described below.

 

Benefits of Outplacement Services

Organisational

  • Enhance the company brand and reputation as one that looks after their people.
  • Increase the chances of retention of those employees you require to take the company forward.
  • Retain a level of productivity and help to minimise any negative impact on costs.

Individual

  • Provide support in dealing with all aspects of being separated from the organisation including managing anger and hurt and instilling confidence.
  • Change the focus to their personal career needs and future.
  • Provide the tools to carry out reflection of their career to date.
  • Provide an assessment of key personal strengths.
  • Assist in developing a clear action plan for the future.
  • Guide them in the latest knowledge and skills to carry out an effective job search in the current market.
  • Equip them with a CV and strategies for gaining employment.
  • Provide them with interviewing skills and knowledge of behavioural questions.
  • Give them confidence and reassurance in their chosen future be it employment, re-training, business or retirement.

  

How PSB Solutions Can Help?

As psychologists, we at PSB Solutions understand the psychological impact behind leaving a job, and the potential stressors of making a transition to a new life. Our background in psychology enables us to understand and help individuals to prepare for their next stage.

A key area of differentiation between PSB Solutions and other providers is our ability to utilise assessment tools to provide individuals with insight into their strengths, areas for development and personality characteristics when considering best career choices or person-organisation fit in future.

The following stages reflect our core outplacement service offerings:

 

Depending on the level of program chosen by the organisation, exiting employees are also provided with the following options:

 

Other Services:

In addition to the services outlined above, PSB Solutions specialise in:

  • Effective Communication Skills;
  • Essentials of Stress Management;
  • Essentials of Fatigue Management; and
  • Psychosocial Risk Awareness.

For additional information on these services and how they may be of benefit in supporting individuals to find the right career and life balance in future roles please contact PSB Solutions for details. PSB Solutions are able to tailor their packages to incorporate these services on an individual basis, as required.

Contact Us

If you would like to know more about our outplacement services, phone us at (08) 9489 3900 or email us at info@psbsolutions.com.au

 

 

I’ll Call PSB Solutions, Eventually: Procrastination and its Effect on Health.

PSB Solutions - Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Do you ever find yourself thinking “I’ll do that tomorrow”? Have you got a number of deadlines looming that you’re putting off? Or, perhaps you’re reading this to avoid doing something else.

A majority of the working population report that they sometimes procrastinate, and a significant minority even admit to having personal, job-related, or financial difficulties because of their procrastinating behaviours.

What is procrastination?

Procrastination is the act of putting off impending tasks to do another activity that an individual finds enjoyable or replacing more urgent requirements with less urgent tasks. Most employees procrastinate to some extent every day. Minor procrastination, such as scheduling a meeting with a friendly client before completing a tiresome report, may actually be beneficial. This kind of procrastination is likely to keep employees engaged in their work and may be a way of motivating themselves by fostering a positive mood before starting an unpleasant task. However, when procrastination becomes more frequent and pervasive there can be a number of costs. Severe procrastinators have been shown to deliver poorer quality work than their less-procrastinating colleagues. They are also much more likely to miss crucial deadlines than those that procrastinate less, suggesting that the old adage ‘I work better under pressure’ may not in fact be true. Adding to the costs to performance, high procrastination has also been associated with a number of negative health outcomes (Tice & Baumeister, 1997).

What are the health costs of procrastination?

Researchers have linked procrastination to a number of negative outcomes, such as:

  • anxiety;
  • depression;
  • stress;
  • a sense of guilt and crisis;
  • loss of personal productivity; and/or
  • lowered sense of self-worth.

These issues, as well as compensatory procrastination behaviours (such as staying up all night to meet a deadline) have been shown to manifest in physical symptoms, such as:

  • decreased physical immunity to the common cold and the flu;
  • difficulty sleeping/insomnia;
  • muscle tension;
  • headaches;
  • fatigue/loss of energy; and/or
  • under eating or over eating.

Engaging in procrastination can clearly lead to a number of long-term health issues, so it is important to understand the reasons behind this behaviour.

Why do people procrastinate?

In a large scale review of a number of studies, van Eerde (2003) reported a number of individual psychological characteristics that increase the chance of an individual engaging in procrastination. These include (in order of their importance):

  • low Conscientiousness (individuals who are laid-back and less goal-oriented);
  • low Self-efficacy (individuals who believe their own abilities are poor);
  • low Self-esteem (individuals with poor emotional evaluation of self-worth);
  • high Neuroticism (individuals who are emotional, worried, and moody);
  • high Trait Anxiety (individuals who have a stable tendency to respond anxiously in situations); and
  • high Pessimism (individuals with tendency to focus on undesirable outcomes).

From a physiological standpoint, some researchers suggest that procrastination may be caused by poor impulse control. Interestingly, van Eerde (2003) found no relationship between age, gender or intellectual ability and procrastination. So if you were hoping that you would grow out of procrastination, research suggests that it’s unlikely! Contrary to popular belief, there is also no relationship between perfectionism (a personality trait characterised by an individual striving for flawless performance) and procrastination.

Treating Procrastination

For individuals who engage in minor to moderate procrastination, treatment might be as simple as improving time-management, personal coaching or professional development. More serious procrastinators with other presenting issues (such as depression or anxiety) may require clinical intervention to achieve long-lasting behavioural change.

How can PSB Solutions help with procrastination?

PSB Solutions can offer a number of services that can help you or your organisation break out of the procrastination cycle. Using empirically validated psychometric assessments, PSB Solutions can provide personal coaching, development and workshops on time-management and team building. We can also help you to select employees that are less likely to procrastinate. So don’t put it off, give us a call on (08) 9489 3900 or email us at info@psbsolutions.com.au.

Reading List

Tice, D.M., & Baumeister, R.F. (1997) Longitudinal study of procrastination, performance, stress and health: The costs of dawdling. Psychological Science, 454-458.

van Eerde, W. (2003). A meta-analytically derived nomological network of procrastination, Personality and Individual Differences. 35, 1401-1418.

 

Selecting Safe Workers – Not As Easy As You Think

PSB Solutions - Monday, August 05, 2013

Have you ever thought safety on site wouldn’t be an issue if you could just avoid hiring those few ‘bad apples’? Can you use psychometric or selection assessments to hire safe workers?

There is a growing body of research examining the relationship between individual traits and incident involvement. The aim of this research is to determine whether some employees are simply “accident-prone” or more likely to take risks on the job and whether or not you can spot these people early in the recruitment process. While many will assure you that this is possible, empirical research suggests that there isn’t a ‘quick fix’.

You have safety signs around your workplace. Your employees are reminded that safety is a top priority and they go through a thorough induction process, and yet, you feel like the safety in your workplace could be improved. Or perhaps you’re sick of meeting with the same people to remind them of the organisation’s commitment to safety. Are there individuals who are just prone to being unsafe in the workplace? Is it to do with their personality?

Personality and safety behaviours

Personality is the relatively stable set of attitudes and behaviours that make up an individual’s character. The Big Five model of personality is the most common framework used to classify personality traits, so named because it groups all personality traits into five main dimensions. These dimensions are:

  • Openness to experience
    • A tendency to appreciate art and adventure and to be creative and curious.
  • Conscientiousness
    • A tendency to meet deadlines, be self-disciplined and goal-oriented.
  • Extroversion
    • A tendency to engage in the external world with energy and vitality.
  • Agreeableness
    • A tendency to be kind and cooperative with others.
  • Neuroticism (or emotionality)
    • A tendency to experience negative emotions such as anxiety, depression or anger.

In a large review of organisations, researchers found that individuals low in agreeableness (people who tend to be less concerned with others’ well-being) were more likely to be involved in occupational incidents. Similarly, those low in conscientiousness (people who tend to be laid-back and less goal-oriented) were also more likely to be involved in incidents in the workplace. There have not been consistent relationships between other personality traits and workplace accidents. 

Products on the market

Does this research mean that you can select employees with the right personality for high-risk workplaces? The answer is not really.

There are a number of products on the market advertising that they can detect unsafe workers. Some use weak links between the research into personality and accident involvement to determine whether employees will be unsafe in the workplace. The problem with this approach is that the research into personality traits and incident involvement is not particularly conclusive. A lot of research involves non-occupational accidents, such as traffic accidents, that are likely to be influenced by different factors. Research is also yet to identify why these people are more likely to be involved in incidents. Other products ask employees to self-report their own safety behaviours. This approach also has its issues, such as employees lying or answering the way they think they are supposed to answer.

In addition, the organisational culture of your workplace will affect how an individual behaves, so this is an important aspect to consider. For example, a generally rule-following employee is unlikely to don a hard-hat if no-one else in the organisation is modelling that behaviour. There is a dynamic interplay between individual’s behaviour and organisational culture.

If you are considering using a safety selection product, it is important to determine whether these products are based on empirical evidence, otherwise you may just be wasting your money. Some questions to ask are:

  • Is the product reliable? Are people likely to get a similar result under consistent situations?
  • Is the product valid? Does it predict unsafe workers or incident involvement?
  • Has the product been validated in your industry? Different industries are likely to have different safety requirements so it is important to check whether it has been endorsed for use in your industry.
  • Do they offer a consultation to assess your specific safety behaviour requirements? Every organisation is different, so assessing your specific needs is vital.

How PSB Solutions can help organisations with creating safe workplaces

PSB Solutions can help you to navigate the difficult process of deciding whether psychometric assessment is right for you. At PSB Solutions, evidence-based practice is our creed. We provide our clients with strategies that are scientifically proven to deliver positive outcomes in safety performance. We offer a consultative approach to organisational safety that incorporates selection and induction processes as well as safety climate assessment and development.

By using a holistic approach to selection and induction processes, leadership behaviours, policy reviews, training, performance management, and monitoring of organisational health via our Workforce Climate Indicator and Blue Pulse Safety Climate surveys, we can make your organisation safer and more productive.

If you would like to know more about our safety assessment services, give us a call on (08) 9489 3900 or email us at info@psbsolutions.com.au

Reading list

Clarke, S. & Robertson, I.T. (2005) A meta-analytic review of the Big Five personality factors and accident involvement in occupational and non-occupational settings, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 78, 355-376.

Psychosocial Risk Management

PSB Solutions - Thursday, July 18, 2013

Are there hazards in your work environment that may affect your employees’ psychological wellbeing? Do you need to do anything about them?

Workplace health and safety laws under the harmonised legislation are giving greater prominence to psychological risk factors at work. The primary duty contained in the Work Health and Safety Act requires employers to eliminate or minimise risks to psychological health so far as is reasonably practicable.

Psychological injury is an injury to mental wellbeing and/or a loss of cognitive function. Typical examples include depression and anxiety. Evidence from Comcare shows that claims resulting from psychological injury are considerably higher than other injuries. These costs are both direct – such as medical expenses and compensation claims, and indirect – costs arising from absenteeism and reduced productivity.

Managing psychological risk is clearly important from a legislative and financial perspective. So what are psychosocial hazards that may contribute to psychological injury and how do you manage them?

                                              

 

What are psychosocial hazards?

Psychosocial hazards are aspects of the work environment and the way that work is organised that are associated with psychological and/or physical injury or illness. Examples of psychosocial hazards may include job content, workload, and work schedule. For example, an employee with a high workload and pending deadlines may experience increased levels of stress, which can have various negative effects as outlined below.

What is the impact of psychosocial hazards?

When psychosocial risk factors are not effectively managed they can negatively impact at both the personal and organisational level.

At the personal level, psychosocial hazards may result in:

  • Loss of concentration
  • Poor decision making
  • At-risk behaviours
  • Depression / anxiety
  • Reduced productivity

At an organisational level, psychosocial hazards may result in:

  • Increased workers’ compensation
  • Absenteeism
  • Increased litigation
  • Decline of organisational and/or safety culture
  • Turnover
  • Morale

What are the benefits of managing psychosocial risk?

It follows logically that there are substantial benefits to both individuals and employers that arise from eliminating and preventing workplace stress. These include higher rates of productivity, reduced workers’ compensation claims and increased employee morale and job satisfaction.

How PSB Solutions helps organisations to identify and manage psychosocial risks

PSB Solutions promotes a consultative approach to psychosocial risk management that incorporates hazard identification and control measure frameworks with a focus on contributing organisational and personal wellbeing factors.

We extend our framework to include a focus on selection and induction processes, leadership behaviours, policy reviews, training, performance management, and monitoring of organisational health via our Workforce Climate Indicator and Safety Climate surveys.

If you would like to know more about our approach to Psychosocial Risk Management, give us a call on (08) 9489 3900 or email us at info@psbsolutions.com.au

Further reading

www.comcare.gov.au

 

 

 

Shift Worker Fatigue - Disturbing your Circadian Rhythm

PSB Solutions - Wednesday, March 20, 2013

                                              

Interest in the effects of shift work on employees has increased as it has become a common feature across many work fields including the health and resource sectors. Shift work affects health and performance by disrupting circadian rhythms and causing numerous alterations in human behaviour and physiology. Disturbing our natural circadian rhythms can have serious implications for both the brain and body. The levels of fatigue experienced by shift workers can be attributed to this disturbance.

The Circadian Rhythm

Our circadian rhythm is effectively an internal clock that drives our levels of alertness throughout the day, and interestingly, is wound by Earth’s rotation. The 24-hour cycle, tied to one turn of the planet on its axis, creates an internal biological clock mimicked by timepieces invented to measure the day (Cromie, 1999). These circadian rhythms are important in determining our sleep patterns. The body’s master clock that controls our circadian rhythms consists of a group of nerve cells in the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN. The master clock controls the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. Since it is located just above the optic nerves, which relay information from the eyes to the brain, the SCN receives information about incoming light. When there is less light—at night for example—the SCN tells the brain to make more melatonin to make you drowsy. As light is the main signal influencing our circadian rhythms, it contributes to a release of hormones that control our internal clocks.

Disturbing Your Circadian Rhythm

When it comes to sleeping, our circadian rhythm determines that most of us tend to be asleep by midnight, wake near dawn, and stay awake throughout the day, which means that not all times of the day are favourable for sleeping. There are “forbidden zones” for sleep between 8am-12noon and 5pm-9pm where it can be more difficult to get to sleep (Wood, 2012). Furthermore, alertness and capability vary with the time of day, with two low points occurring between the zones of 3am and 5am, and again between 3pm and 5pm.

Given our natural tendencies to sleep at particular times and stay awake at other times, it is no surprise that shift work has a significant impact on workers circadian rhythms. Shift work causes the de-synchronisation of our work and sleep patterns with these different “zones”. Such de-synchrony leads to reduced alertness, increased experiences of fatigue, mood changes, gastric problems and disturbances in eating habits which can contribute to weight gain (M.Gibbs, 2005). Research indicates that the degree of fatigue that shift-workers encounter depends on the schedule that is being worked, but is generally most severe on night shifts and during shifts that start early in the morning (Turek, 2004). Research has also found that, compared with day shifts, evening and night shifts are associated with higher health and safety risks and reduced productivity. These findings are all during times when our circadian rhythms are telling our bodies to be asleep. When we are not doing this, we are not giving our body appropriate time to rest and restore itself – thus increasing our chances of experiencing high levels of fatigue.

Tips for Managing Fatigue in Shift Workers

The following are some tips for optimising roster or shift schedules to help manage the fatigue of workers:

  • Direct the rotation of shifts forward (morning/afternoon/night) as the body can adapt to going to bed later as opposed to earlier and there is more rest between shifts.
  • For shift changes, a faster rotation of 2-3 days may minimise sleep debt accrued from working long stretches of night shift and causes the least amount of body clock adjustment.
  • Roster design should take into account that individuals require at least 7-8 hours sleep per 24 hour period.
  • The finishing time of night shifts should be planned to avoid heavy traffic periods in order to minimise the likelihood of accidents (Minesafe, 2006).
  • Shift starts should be avoided between midnight and 6am to ensure adequate rest.
  • Determine shift length based on the mental and physical load of the job. For example, where work pressure is high, shorter shifts may be preferable over the standard eight our shift.

PSB Solutions’ Fatigue Management Programs

PSB Solutions provides Fatigue Management training that is informed by the latest research in psychology. PSB Solutions have Fatigue Management programs aimed at non-supervisory employee levels, as well as at supervisors and above.

If you would like to know more about how your employees’ fatigue can be better managed, or about PSB Solutions’ Fatigue Management services please call us on (08) 9489 3900 – we’re here to help.

References:

Cromie, W. J. (1999, July 15). Human Biological Clock Set Back an Hour. The Harvard Gazette.

M.Gibbs, S. H. (2005). Effect of shift schedule on offshore shiftworkers' circadian rhythm and health. Guildford: The University of Surrey.

Minesafe. (2006). Hours of Work and Fatigue.

Turek, F. W. (2004). Melatonin, sleep, and circadian rhythms: rationale for development of specific melatonin agents. Sleep Medicine, 523-532.

Wood, H. (2012). Fatigue and its Relationship to Roster Cycle Length. Australian Pipeline Industry Association. TMS Consulting.

The Impact of Stress on your Health and the Workplace

PSB Solutions - Wednesday, February 13, 2013

                               

Given that most individuals spend a significant amount of their time at work, it is important to consider the impact of work on their health and wellbeing. Individuals who experience high levels of job satisfaction typically tend to report higher perceptions of their health and wellbeing. Conversely, for those who perceive lower levels of job satisfaction; work can be considered a major source of stress.

Stress associated with work typically arises from misalignment between an individual’s skill-set or knowledge with their work tasks and demands. Other contributing factors are generally a result of the interaction between people and/or systems in the work environment. Indeed, a recent survey found that 30 per cent of the Australian population are stressed due to work1. Besides the effect on our physical and mental health, stress also has a detrimental financial impact on organisations. Estimates suggest that workplace stress costs Australian employers $10.1 billion a year due to lost productivity and absenteeism2.  It is important to consider how the impact of stress to both individual wellbeing and organisational productivity can be minimised.

What is Stress?

Stress refers to the way we evaluate and cope with threats and challenges in our environment. Interestingly, stress is caused more by the way we evaluate or perceive threats than the threats themselves. For example, a promotion at work may be seen by some individuals as an exciting opportunity; whilst others may be overwhelmed by a fear of failure in their new role (see Figure 1 below). When we perceive stressful events as a challenge, these stressors can motivate us to work a little harder and are largely positive. However, when we see threat as a negative, a variety of adverse consequences can occur (e.g. panic, anxiety etc.).

 

 

       

 Figure 1. Evaluating Stressful Events

 
What is the Impact of Stress on our Health?

When experiencing stress, the human body goes into overdrive. A flood of chemicals and hormones are released that boost energy, tense our muscles and dull our sensitivity to pain to help us cope with the perceived challenge at hand. In the short term, these reactions can be beneficial because they help us to cope with challenges in our environment. Extended periods of stress, however, can lead to a host of adverse health outcomes such as anxiety, heart disease, hypertension, migraines, peptic ulcers and broader mental health concerns3. Thus, the impact of stress, from a minor headache or illness to more long term health problems, can significantly impact our quality of life, including our work performance.

Managing Stress

Given that stress can have a significant impact on our performance, satisfaction and productivity in the workplace, it is important to ensure that it is appropriately managed. Fortunately, stress can be controlled and reduced. Typically, stress management involves consideration of individual’s personal attributes and natural capacity to handle pressure and stress as well as consideration of the work conditions and factors contributing towards stress.

At PSB Solutions we offer stress management strategies, based on best practice psychological research, which can help your employees understand, manage and work with stress. Our strategies can be provided as a tailor-made or packaged course, covering a variety of topics such as:

  • causes of stress at work;
  • psychological and physiological  reactions to stress;
  • practical tools to reduce stress;
  • how communication styles influences stress;
  • assertive communication training;
  • managing systems to minimise stress; and
  • dealing with rapid change.

If you would like to know more about how your employees’ stress can be better managed, or about PSB Solutions’ Psychology of Stress Workshop, please contact us at +61 8 9489 3900 or info@psbsolutions.com.au

References and Further Reading

  1. The Australian Psychological Society (APS; 2011). Stress and wellbeing in Australia in 2011: A state of the nation survey. APS: Melbourne.
  2. Medibank Private (2008). The cost of workplace stress in Australia. Medibank Private: Melbourne.
  3. Seaward, B. L. (2005). Managing stress: Principles and strategies for health and well-being. Jones and Bartlett: Boston.

Why Psychometric Assessments Are Vital For Your Business

PSB Solutions - Wednesday, January 09, 2013

For many people, hiring staff can be a hit and miss affair. Maybe you interview your candidate, speak to their old managers and - more than you’d like to admit - you listen to your gut feelings. This approach can lead to good hiring decisions; on the flip side, it can also lead to the employee from hell. To assist in making more objective hiring decisions, psychometric assessments offer an objective tool that allows you to assess potential candidates on a range of relevant abilities and personal characteristics, and compare them against a large pool of similar individuals.

What are Psychometric Assessments?

Although HR professionals use a number of innovative techniques to identify potential high-performers, some of these techniques can introduce unintended bias into the recruitment process. To eliminate the potential for bias, psychologists developed personality and ability assessments that assess candidates on a standard set of questions that are statistically refined and validated. These assessments are effective because they standardise the way a candidate’s abilities and personality are evaluated, allowing for a more objective and meaningful comparison of their results to a similar reference population (e.g. graduate engineers).

Why use Psychometric Assessments?

In a fast-changing and increasingly competitive market place, selecting, developing and retaining the best talent is vital for long-term success. Likewise, avoiding the costs associated with hiring the wrong candidate is also important. To ensure the best available talent is being hired, more and more businesses are using psychometric assessments to guide their recruitment process. The reason for this is simple: psychology research consistently shows that abilities assessments are a strong predictor of future job success1, when used in combination with interviews, reference checks, bio data and assessment centres.

The Assessments

To assess candidates’ potential performance, and to identify the most talented individuals already working for you, PSB Solutions offer a series of assessments that can be utilised and customised to the specific job type and organisational culture. PSB Solutions' assessment suite includes:

  • Personality assessments.
  • Aptitude and ability assessment (graduate level).
  • Aptitude and ability assessment (manager level).
  • Career preferences.
  • Values and motives.

At PSB Solutions, we’re looking forward to what 2013 will bring. If you’d like to make 2013 the year you maximise your recruitment and development processes, we are here to help. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss how psychometric assessments can assist your business.

References and Further Reading

  1. Schmidt, F. L. & Hunter, J.E. (1998). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological Bulletin, 142, 262-274.