Clinical Psychology is the best known and popular branch of psychology, even among those who decide to study this profession. But psychology does not stop here. This science has been enriched over the years to include almost all areas of human behavior.
Thus it was born the Psychology of Work and Organizations, a specialty of psychology direct to the analysis and intervention in the social and labor organizations, and in all the dimensions that make up the world of work.
If it is true that the APA did not recognize it as a discipline until 1970, its antecedents are older and date back to the one known as “Industrial Psychology”. In fact, one of the early work in this area has been that of F.W. Taylor, in 1911, he tried to find the cause of large losses that occurred in the US industry in inefficiency of the management and the workers.
What is a professional of Work Psychology?
The professional of Psychology of Work and Organizations analyzes and intervenes in labor practices to improve them and create the conditions necessary for the organizations to move on to more efficient workspaces and with better quality of life. In fact, one of its main objectives is to lay the foundation to create healthy organizations that promote the wellbeing of working people.
As for the analysis and intervention in the working world, the objectives of this professional are manifold, but can be summarized in: analysis, diagnosis and intervention in the workplace, in order to build momentum in its different dimensions (promoting employment, people looking for work, updating and improvement of organizations, improvement of profiles required by organizations and workers’ skills …).
In addition, since the intervention in the workplace it is an applied field, in its activities this professional will have certain priorities, such as the inclusion of people who work and the equal opportunities in the workplace.
Some of the functions of a professional of Psychology of Work in a company are:
– Recruitment. It is one of the best known aspects of Psychology of Work and also one of those that have changed in recent years because many companies have moved away from standardized tests and prefer to carry out the recruitment through personal interviews or situational tests because in this way they can better assess the capabilities and skills of the candidates, as well as their values and reactions. It is the responsibility of the Psychologist of Work to design and, in many cases, apply these tests to find the right person for each different job.
– Job Analysis. He is responsible for realizing a job profile, to determine what requirements, skills, abilities and needs does the worker need to have to occupy the position. This way it is possible to maximize the chances that the person will be able to successfully carry out the work and avoids the overlapping of functions, a common phenomenon in many companies which affects productivity. In addition, from these data it is possible to design training programs.
– Risk prevention. Risk prevention is critical for the physical and psychological health of employees. The professional of Psychology of Work should be able to analyze the responses of the employee and determine the factors that may produce a risk to propose safer work methods. For example, in a routine work, it is important to include short breaks or incentives to prevent an accident due to visual-attentional fatigue. Therefore, his job is to anticipate possible incidents and promote a safer work environment.
– Performance evaluation. It is responsible for evaluating the results obtained in relation to expected results, and of the analysis of the factors involved in the process. So it can propose changes that improve performance and create an appropriate organizational climate in which employees feel more at ease and enabled to express their full potential. Moreover, the job psychologist is very useful in companies that intend to implement a major restructuring at the organizational level, to ensure that the change is as fluid and smooth as possible for everyone. It also helps to improve teamwork and ensures that the organizational climate is the right one.
– Intervention in the workplace. He deals with the analysis and intervention in the world of work, from the point of view relative to the macroeconomic environment and labor, to simple workers. It may also manage, plan and promote proposals for the employment policies focused on the needs of individuals and organizations, and develop intervention strategies and the support of the working reality, usually through programs or initiatives in the field of labor, employment, access to employment and attention to groups of difficult access or stay in the labor market. It can also facilitate processes of change in the persons to help them achieve their goals at work and develop their full potential through a process of coaching.