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Our SIOP 2016 Round-Up: Sessions, Spirit, and Sun

April 26, 2016

The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) recently held its 31st annual conference in sunny Anaheim, California.  The four-day conference has become an exemplary environmentSIOP_small_logo for academic and applied I-O psychologists alike to share their current work, gain a refresher on best practices from experts, and catch up on the latest industry trends.

Following my planning success at last year’s conference, I tallied up the number of sessions to determine the biggest overall trends for each topic.  Using the same strategy this year to highlight the most talked about topics, I found that the topics with the most coverage were Occupational Health/Safety/Stress and Strain/Aging.  This leading topic area was jam-packed with focal issues such as workplace civility, safety, and burnout.

Leadership was the second content area that was prevalent throughout the conference.  These sessions ranged from virtual leadership behaviors to leadership specifications in specialized areas such as healthcare and the military.  The classic dialogue surrounding selection methods, validation, and predictors filled the session topics for the third most submitted content area of Testing/Assessment.

Another widely discussed topic was that of mobile assessment.  Similar to last year’s SIOP conference, the I-O community is still bracing for the impact created by technical transitions.  It was emphasized that our field must stay abreast of the technological trends, and carefully pay attention to the ways that these advancements directly, or indirectly, shape our industry.

Coinciding with a key takeaway from the closing plenary talk, led by Google’s Laszlo Bock, there was a reoccurring hint of an aspiration to take the expertise of the field into a new sector:  into the pro-social space.  Find out more about Pro-social I-O work here.  The desire to benefit others was evident from a fully scheduled day of talks and sessions aimed to brainstorm the ways in which I-O psychologists can expand their expertise into the community.  Similarly, Bock urged the Society to become more public about their research and methods in order to tackle some of the nation’s greatest obstacles, such as the gender wage gap and racism.  As Bock discussed the ways in which our industry could help to mold a more just tomorrow, there was certainly some “spirit” in the room (cheerleading pun intended)!

Kelsey Stephens is a member of PAN’s consulting services team. Learn more about our I-O services here, and connect with Kelsey on LinkedIn here.