A Better Way of Working – Arielle Smith

“I interned with Lowe’s Companies, Inc. on the Assessment Team and was offered a full-time position on the team a few months after my internship ended. Without Meredith’s program, I would have never landed my internship or my current job as an HR Assessment Analyst. 

When I was interviewing for my internship, I had only completed one full semester at Meredith but the information I gained during that semester was invaluable. Dr. Mazzola did a fantastic job of teaching us the foundations of I-O psychology, the practical applications in the workplace, and ensured we put our knowledge into practice with hands-on projects and presentations. Graduate Program Manager Claire Jeffries was also a wonderful resource in terms of professional development, such as resume writing, interview practice, and so much more.

The pandemic brought about the rise of remote work, and now organizations are realizing it is here to stay. With many organizations heading towards a hybrid workforce, I-O psychologists are essential in helping to re-design what work looks like and addressing challenges such as how can in-person and remote teams collaborate effectively? Or, how can we ensure that culture cascades down to remote employees and not just those in the office?

During the pandemic, I-O psychologists were also championing employee health and well-being to help combat burnout. Since we have a better understanding of the world of work, it is our job to help promote a better way of working, one that involves organizations shifting away from the ‘live-to-work’ mindset and, instead, embracing work-life integration. For example, in my broader team, I worked to institute a “no meeting Friday” policy that would give us all a break from the back-to-back meetings and enable us to spend time working on our creative project-based work.

I-O psychologists occupy a unique space between human resources and management as science practitioners. We understand the science behind the nature of work, and it is our job to apply that scientific knowledge and best practices in our workplaces. We can help improve selection processes that can translate into equitable and fair hiring as well as improve retention rates. We can boost employee engagement by developing programs that are designed with associates in mind, such as level-specific career management programs, leadership programs that incorporate hands-on learning, and effective role development initiatives. We can help teams adapt to hybrid and remote work solutions through team development and team effectiveness solutions that are aimed to increase collaboration and psychological safety within groups. 

With many organizations finally putting diversity and inclusion at the forefront, it is also essential to have I-O psychologists working in this space to hold organizations accountable to design strategies and measure the success of those strategies to ensure their implemented programs are creating a positive impact.”