Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace – Michelle Xiong

“I am the Director of Diversity & Inclusion at the Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS®. I have to thank Meredith’s I-O psychology graduate program manager, Claire Jefferies, who knew of my diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) passion and kept sending me roles to apply for. I am forever grateful we have people working in this program like Claire who don’t let their students settle for a job unless it’s “the” job.

The program has been thoughtfully designed by Dr. Joseph Mazzola to give exposure and knowledge to each facet of I-O psychology, which has helped me greatly in all aspects of the workplace. For example, I am more self-aware of what type of leader I need to succeed in my role and likewise for myself in terms of being a teammate and/or leader.

A huge part of what I-O psychologists do is go through the process of change management. In working with the REALTORS® community, it has been about examining processes and questioning why and how they came to be. It’s about recognizing systems that no longer serve everyone and coming up with a strategic plan to change them, putting those plans into action, and measuring the outcomes to ensure it’s working. Overall, as I-O psychologists, we just want to make an organization a better place for everyone. That is always the ultimate goal.

I believe this field will continue to grow and expand. I-O psychologists cannot be easily replaced by automation or outsourcing so that in itself makes us valuable professionals in an organization. We are the ultimate listeners and thinkers of an organization.

What makes I-O psychologists special is that we pay attention to the behaviors of individuals, groups, and/or leaders in organizations. We can assess problems and provide scientifically backed solutions with the help of data. If an organization is waning, hiring an I-O psychologist would prove to yield a high return on investment. We can help with motivation, coaching, human resources, organizational structure, psychological safety, and so much more.”

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