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Charting a Path to Visible I-O

Stephanie R. Klein

SIOP’s visibility mission continues to grow in scope and importance. Visibility—for SIOP and for the field of I-O psychology—is embedded in our mission statement, our vision, and our strategic goals.


Many SIOP members are equally passionate about SIOP and I-O psychology visibility. The annual conference program is just one example: each year, sessions offer new insights on how to be visible, articulate our value, communicate with business leaders, and/or operate effectively among non-I-Os.


This article presents some options for those among you who would also like to make SIOP and I-O more visible. Options range from informal to formal and from simple to complex, and this list is by no means comprehensive.


Option 1: Join APA

Although no longer mandatory for SIOP membership, we are APA’s Division 14.  Our formal representation within APA is dependent on the number of Division 14 members.


Option 2: Read TIP

No, the editors did not make me include this one! Rather, TIP can provide you with insights into what SIOP is doing, recent trends, and individual and group I-O activities. You may find ideas for your own visibility efforts, find people with whom to collaborate, or identify others’ ongoing initiatives that you might join.


Option 3: Volunteer with an organization that may benefit from your skills

If your favorite local nonprofit struggles to retain volunteers, perhaps you could help them design an interview process that assesses key competencies and provides candidates with a realistic preview of what volunteering might entail.


Offer your services to a job search networking group or new college graduates. I had an opportunity to sit down with a college senior earlier this year. We looked at his resumé and mapped his work and school experiences to likely job competencies and identified with some critical incidents for use in interviews to demonstrate his job readiness.


For additional ideas, please explore the Pro-social I-O website, which lists a variety of programs, projects, and activities.


Option 4: Give a presentation about I-O psychology

Did you know? The SIOP Administrative Office will provide a range of “What is I-O” materials free of charge to schools, people planning to educate others about I-O, or other visibility events.


Look to schools in your community. Consider a guest lecture in a college psychology or business class, or present to high school about this area of psychology they’ve probably never heard of. You may wish to use SIOP’s “What is I-O?” video or a recent webinar as a starting point, followed by stories from your professional life and some Q&A.


Present to community groups about our value to organizations. If it turns out that your audience includes representatives from nonprofit organizations, see Option 1.


Option 5: Volunteer for a SIOP committee.

The Visibility Committee is an obvious choice, and I will describe our structure and work in more detail next. However, virtually every committee has a visibility component. Interested in the Awards Committee? An award can demonstrate to a wider range of stakeholders that the award winner’s work is meaningful and relevant. How about Institutional Research? The more research there is, the more visible we can be. On the practitioner side, the Professional Practice Committee’s goals include practice resources and practitioner career support. The better we are at our jobs, the more we can demonstrate the value of I-O.


Note: Student Affiliates have fewer volunteer opportunities; most committees are limited to only one student member. If there is a committee whose work you are especially passionate about, contact the chair and let them know how you might contribute. Even if you are not a formal member, there may be a committee project with which you can assist.


The Visibility Committee itself has a multitude of members and goals. Our overall purpose is to increase the visibility of SIOP, SIOP members, and I-O psychology as a whole to business leaders and decision makers, HR professionals, and the general public. Our efforts can also help spotlight SIOP and I-O activities to other I-O psychologists who may be inspired to engage in their own visibility activities.


Visibility pursues its goals through the work of six subcommittees, as well as close collaboration with SIOP’s Administrative Office and other committees. The descriptions below include a partial list of activities and accomplishments, and new ideas continue to emerge.

  • The Branding Subcommittee builds and manages the SIOP and I-O brands. Recent accomplishments include creating and publicizing the 2016 “What is I-O?” video, and creating and compiling a suite of graduate student resources to promote our brand.
  • The HR/Business Subcommittee enhances visibility among HR professionals and business leaders. Their recurring projects include the Hot Topics White Papers and the Top Minds, Bottom Lines preconference events.
  • The Media Subcommittee enhances visibility through media channels. Recurring projects include the annual Top Ten Workplace Trends and Smarter Workplace Awareness Month.  Social media visibility is in collaboration with the Electronic Communications Committee.
  • The Metrics Subcommittee measures the effectiveness of visibility initiatives. They work with a media intelligence company to track SIOP and I-O media mentions, and manage the SIOP Brand Awareness Survey. The survey was first conducted in 2012 and 2013, and an updated survey will be administered this year to business leaders and HR professionals.
  • The Prosocial Subcommittee enhances visibility of I-O professionals’ prosocial endeavors and ways in which I-O knowledge and skills can apply to prosocial work. They designed the Prosocial SIOP website and are responsible for content updates, including resources for volunteering, and spotlights on individual I-O psychologists’ prosocial activities.
  • The Students/Academia Subcommittee enhances I-O visibility among students and academics, especially those in psychology and business programs. They have developed toolkits for instructors who would like to introduce students to I-O and publish a bimonthly blog through APA.
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