Career Profile: Worker Productivity Psychologist
What They Do
A psychologist who works in the field of industrial and organizational psychology may focus on one aspect of a work environment or employee organization. Worker productivity, for example, emphasizes the theory that employees’ productive behavior contributes to the goals of their organization. Full-fledged staff receive training into the business or organization for which they work. Productivity can be defined as an employee achieving the literal return on their company’s investment or when they have assimilated into the culture of the organization.
Productivity differs from job performance because it is not the simple act of completing a task. Psychologists in worker productivity focus on not only the technical abilities of employees, but their effectiveness when it comes to extra-role performance like communication and teamwork. Additionally, worker productivity relates to the amount of creativity and innovation that an employee is able to foster. A psychologist in this role assesses not only workers’ ability to get something done, but also their methods and organizational skills that lead to efficiency and evolution. How workers “fit in” at the organization and specifically in their department also contributes to their ability to be productive. This “citizenship” involves an employee’s social skills: courtesy, conscientiousness, sportsmanship and civic virtue.
The main goal of a psychologist who works in the field of industrial and organizational psychology and focuses on worker productivity is to understand not only how the behavior of humans in the workplace leads to productivity and efficiency, but also how to help an organization and its workers develop more efficient and effective policies and methods of working.
Industrial and organizational psychology is one of the fastest growing professional fields of psychology. There are many career opportunities to choose from for psychologists who have earned their master’s degree in I/O psychology. Some worker productivity psychologists choose to practice in the private sector, as a freelancer, for a consulting firm or for a government agency.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have specific data for psychologists in the worker productivity field. However, worker productivity is a sub-concentration of industrial and organizational psychology. Industrial and organizational psychologists make a median annual salary of $90,070. Those who work for scientific research or development services make the highest salaries, $110,550, while those who work for state governments make around $74,900 a year.
A master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology requires 36 credit hours of courses, which are broken up between core courses and concentration courses. An individual who wishes to study worker productivity could consider a concentration in human resource management, for example. This concentration includes courses like Training and Development and Developing a Competency Culture. Core courses may cover subjects relating to organizational theory and behavior, leadership and management, and performance assessment and evaluation.
Like most fields of psychology, industrial and organizational psychology requires constant vigilance concerning trends and changes in theory and practice. Joining professional organizations that relate to the study of worker productivity may prove helpful for these purposes.