What Is Employee Psychology?

June 20, 2016 – 06:02 am
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Employee psychology is the study of the mind and behavior of jobholders. It deals with why an employee behaves in a particular way on the job. Employee psychology is very beneficial to the organization since it gives employers insights into dealing with different employee personalities. Today's psychologists acknowledge a conflict between an individual's needs and those of the organization. Through employee psychology, they classify employee behavior into predicable patterns from which organizations can identify the best ways of dealing with individual employees.


Employee psychology dates as far back as 1913 when Hugo Munsterberg, a Harvard University professor, published "Psychology and Industrial Efficiency." The book was based on feedback from executives as to which personal characteristics they desired most in their employees. He used the results to develop screening techniques and character assessment systems for employees. In 1919 Henry C. Link published "Employment Psychology, " in which he stated: "The ideal employment method is undoubtedly an immense machine which would receive applicants of all kinds at one end, automatically sort, interview, and record them, and finally turn them out at the other end nicely labeled with the job which they are to do."


Psychologists who study employee behavior often gather data by conducting surveys. This involves creating a confidential process to collect data from the employees about their work and the organization. This gives them a chance to divulge their honest feedback about their attitudes and perceptions. Ray Williams, co-founder of Success IQ University, advises employers to focus on feedback from employees on the things that work well for them. Allowing employees to generate solutions and develop new positive behaviors is critical for the organization's success.

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Related Reading: The Difference Between Employee Participation & Employee Involvement


Psychologists of the workplace recommend that employers understand what motivates their employees. They make a distinction between intrinsically and extrinsically motivated employees. The former are driven by pride and recognition while the latter are driven by money, promotions and rewards. By knowing what motivates its employees, the organization can use this information to help them perform their roles effectively.


Psychologists also suggest that productivity can be enhanced if employers try to understand their employees' personal behavior. David Rock, the author of "Quiet Leadership, " writes that "change is pain and organizational change provokes physiological pain in employees." Therefore, learning the behaviors of employees is very important. In this way, the organization is able to know which adaptation measures to apply to each employee when dealing with changes. This prevents employee resistance toward changes in an organization.


Another insight of employee psychology is the role that nurturing plays in an organization. Psychologists recommend that organizations should encourage growth and development by training that helps employees develop careers and talents..This gives workers a chance to thrive and excel in their professional field and in the organization, which benefits from their improved productivity.

Source: smallbusiness.chron.com

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