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'The psychology behind better business'

Workplace Research Associates has provided local, national and international organisational psychology consulting services since 1996. Our team of registered psychologists and consultants have extensive knowledge and expertise in the way individuals and groups operate in the workplace.  Workplace Research draws on an understanding of human behaviour to help businesses function more effectively at individual, team and organisational levels.  We access an extensive body of wider research findings on organisational performance so clients can be confident that the service they receive is based on up-to-date and proven knowledge and advice.

Workplace Research offers a range of services in the areas of:

Recruitment and Selection
Psychometric Testing and Assessment
Job and Organisational Analysis
Survey Design and Analysis
Other Organisational Services

 

Recruitment and Selection

Workplace Research specialises in the design of innovative recruitment processes that incorporate specific organisational requirements.  Rather than offering ‘off-the-shelf’ solutions, we base our design of any selection process on the specific job and person requirements for the role and tailor our approach to complement the organisation’s culture and values.  Our strong experience in translating research findings to applications in organisations allows us to offer customised selection systems, training in recruitment and assessment, selection for graduate and executive roles and expert advice on a range of recruitment and selection issues.  We also conduct applied research in the field of recruitment and selection.

Customised Selection Systems

Workplace Research combines a depth of practical understanding with a sound knowledge of the research literature to offer organisations expert advice on a range of assessment techniques.  We routinely use, and train others to use, assessment techniques that have a demonstrated capacity to predict the future job performance of applicants.  Our experience in using, developing and researching selection techniques allows us to explain how and why certain techniques work and how to maximise their effectiveness.

We work with organisations to develop customised selection systems that employ the most appropriate selection techniques. We have extensive experience in designing and facilitating selection systems for a range of positions from entry-level to senior executive roles.  Selection techniques may be used in isolation, combined in a series of selection phases or ‘hurdles’, or brought together in an Assessment Centre.  An indicative list of techniques that we may employ includes:

  • Shortlisting approaches
  • Cognitive tests
  • Structured Interviewing
    (particularly behavioural interviewing)
  • Integrity tests
  • Written exercises
  • Personality tests
  • Individual presentations
  • Reference checking
  • Group discussions
  • Peer assessment
  • Role plays and scenarios
  • Assessment of training and experience
  • Work sample tests
  • Biographical Information Blanks/Biodata
  • Situational judgement tests
  • Multiple mini-interview

 

As well as developing and advising on the most appropriate selection technique to use in a given context, we develop selection tools to support assessors in achieving maximum value from the selection technique they employ.  We have extensive experience in developing Behaviourally Anchored Rating Scales (BARS) which add a high degree of consistency, rigour and structure to the assessment process.

Training in Recruitment and Assessment

Workplace Research offers comprehensive, interactive workshops on all aspects of recruitment and assessment.  We operate on the principle that, by developing staff assessment skills through training, organisations can combine good assessment with business knowledge to most accurately assess ‘best fit’.  Training sessions are customised to suit the needs of the organisation and can be used to support a particular selection process or to inform staff on ‘best practice’ recruitment and assessment in general.  One strength of our training workshops is the mixture of ‘theory’ (combined with research findings) and ‘practice’ that we use.  We incorporate simulations of selection and testing processes for those being trained and provide feedback during training sessions.  We provide staff with workbooks for the sessions that are available to take away as reference material.

Selection for Graduate and Executive Roles

Two particular areas of specialisation for Workplace Research are recruitment and selection at the Graduate and at the Executive levels.  Graduate programs are unique because there is usually a large applicant pool, new recruits require significant investment by the organisation before they reach full potential and the organisation generally makes an important investment in the selection process.  We have assisted a number of clients with their graduate selection processes (in both the design and the conduct of the campaign) and have seen evidence of significant improvements in retention rates following the introduction of improved recruitment systems and post-recruitment training and support.

At the Executive and Senior Executive levels, organisations are typically focused on using robust and sound assessment techniques because staff at these levels have a significant impact on the strategic direction and outputs of the organisation.  Selecting the best applicants using the most effective techniques will result in significant benefits for the organisation over the longer term.

Expert Advice

Workplace Research is well-placed to provide organisations with expert advice on all aspects of recruitment and selection processes.  Through our public and private sector experience, we have developed a comprehensive understanding of the legislative requirements within which recruitment occurs, particularly in Government.  We have been engaged previously as an expert witness in the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.  We have also successfully defended the use of assessment centres in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission and the Merit Protection Commission.

We routinely offer an advisory service to our clients on equity and diversity issues and have dealt extensively with these issues in the context of recruitment and selection.  We have previously provided input to the drafting of Commonwealth policies on recruitment testing for applicants with a disability.  In our research, we have examined selection tests for possible adverse impact on or bias against women, applicants from a non-English speaking background and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants.  We have been engaged for three consecutive terms to conduct an assessment centre for positions on the National Disability and Carer Advisory Council where a number of applicants had disabilities.

Applied Research in Recruitment and Assessment

Workplace Research is committed to undertaking applied research on a range of recruitment issues. We have presented major recruitment research reports to Government clients, published in the International Journal of Selection and Assessment and presented at conferences on a range of recruitment topics.  Our most recent publication is:

West, J., White, P., & Thomas, H. (2007). Referee reports: Applying best practice principles.  In A. I. Glendon, B. Myors & B. M. Thompson (Eds).  Advances in organisational psychology: An Asia-Pacific perspective.  Brisbane: Australian Academic Press

 

Psychometric Testing and Assessment

Workplace Research is highly experienced in the use of psychological testing in organisational environments.  Psychometric tests and assessment instruments can be used for selection, team development and career/vocational development purposes.  Our training and knowledge in psychometrics allows us to assess the properties of available assessment instruments and to advise organisations on the most suitable types of testing for their purposes. 

All psychological assessments provided by Workplace Research are conducted by trained and qualified psychologists.   Mandatory affiliations and qualifications include:

  • Membership of the Australian Psychological Society;
  • Registration as a Psychologist with the Psychology Board of Australia;
  • Accreditation by a range of individual commercial psychological test suppliers.

As registered Psychologists, our consultants have access to a wide range of individual and team performance assessment instruments.  These include assessments of:

  • Occupational personality
  • Integrity
  • Cognitive ability
  • Team style
  • Management potential
  • Work motivation
  • Leadership style
  • Customer contact style
  • Work environment
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Team climate
  • Coping styles
  • Vocational interests
  • 360° Feedback

 

Job and Organisational Analysis

Workplace Research offers consultants who are highly experienced in all forms of job and organisational analysis.  We have tertiary training in quantitative and qualitative job analysis techniques which can be applied to determine the key requirements of individual positions, to the assessment of work value and as part of a skills assessment/training needs analysis.  At the organisational level, we can apply these skills to the development of Work Level Standards and Capability Frameworks  and to inform job design and organisational restructuring.

Job Analysis/Job Design

Job analysis and job design focus on methods and techniques for identifying the essential task and people requirements for a position.  Workplace Research has developed tailored tools to assess positions and we complement sophisticated statistical analysis with qualitative data collection methods.  Our methodology can be customised to suit different requirements of organisations and can be used to describe jobs, identify job clusters or families, inform job and team design, feed into the development of selection criteria and guide staff skill development.

Assessment of Work Value

A key area of specialisation for Workplace Research is job analysis aimed at identifying the work value of public sector positions.  Our analyses allow positions with different levels and types of responsibilities to be compared on a common metric.  For public sector roles, we have developed a tailored methodology that equates work value with appropriate classification levels.  These analyses can then inform future decisions relating to job and team design and/or pay and remuneration.

Skills Assessment/Training Needs Analysis

Our experience in analysing jobs extends to the assessment of skills needs and training needs analysis.  By combining information from a variety of analysis techniques, we are able to assess skills gaps within organisations and identify areas where further training and development are required.  We then work with organisations to identify the priority areas for skills development to enhance organisational capability.

Work Level Standards and Capability Frameworks

Workplace Research has considerable experience in developing Work Level Standards and Capability Frameworks for different organisations.  We are able to draw on our skills in analysing jobs across organisations to develop customised Work Level Standards that describe the key characteristics of jobs at different work levels within an organisation.  Similarly, we can develop customised Capability Frameworks that detail the core skills, abilities and other characteristics required for positions across the organisation.  We provide specialist advice on how to map different selection techniques to the framework, how to align performance management systems with the framework and how to use the framework to inform learning and development strategies.

Organisational Restructuring

Workplace Research has provided specialist advice on organisational restructuring.  We have designed structures that best meet business needs and ensure that quality and efficiency are maximised. Specifically, we have (a) assisted organisations to determine those structures that will allow for the optimal integration of work teams; (b) investigated team and organisational structures in organisations undergoing significant change; and (c) investigated and advised on optimal supervisory structures.  Our advice is based on sophisticated analyses and modelling techniques and on qualitative data collection. These techniques allow us to identify areas of commonality and difference in work functions as well as key issues that must be considered for effective organisational structures.  As with all our work, Workplace Research complements organisation-specific research with a sound knowledge of the research literature in this area.

 

Survey Design and Analysis

Workplace Research has extensive experience in designing and analysing surveys in organisations.  We apply design and statistical analysis principles to organisational surveys that cover a number of topics.  These include:

  • Surveys of staff attitudes and morale;
  • Customer satisfaction surveys;
  • Surveys of employers’ attitudes (as opposed to employees' views);
  • Balanced scorecards;
  • Market research surveys.

Workplace Research routinely designs surveys to provide insight into specific aspects of the work environment as identified by management and staff.  The analysis can be used to identify specific issues that are topical to staff and assist management in organisational planning.  Our surveys are tailored to key organisational issues. We are able to provide extensive benchmarking comparisons with like organisations and industries. We strongly encourage organisations to establish their own internal benchmarks to monitor changes in staff views over time.

We have also incorporated survey techniques into projects cited elsewhere on this website:

Job analysis and work value reviews;
Skills assessment/Training needs analysis;
Assessment of organisational culture;
Development of capability frameworks;
Organisational restructuring reviews;
Program evaluations.

 

Other Organisational Services

As well as the areas of specialisation listed above, Workplace Research is able to provide a range of other organisational services.  These include (but are not limited to) training on a range of organisational issues, coaching and mentoring, team development workshops, performance management and feedback systems, program evaluation and research projects.

Training

Workplace Research has developed and provided training on a range of organisational issues, including: Exit Interview Training; Writing to Capabilities; Assessor Training; Test Administration Training; Performance Management Training; Job Applicant Training and Interviewer Training.  We adopt an interactive approach to all types of training and have a depth of experience in a range of organisational issues that can be incorporated into training sessions.

Coaching and Mentoring

Workplace Research is able to conduct one-on-one sessions to address specific areas of concern, including outplacement and career-transition management.  We use structured assessment tools to facilitate individual coaching sessions.

Team Development Workshops

Workplace Research has worked with a number of organisations to profile team styles and to build an understanding amongst team members of the impact of different working styles on overall team effectiveness.  Often, our team development workshops are conducted in conjunction with work and business planning sessions.

Performance Management and Feedback Systems

Workplace Research has considerable experience in the performance management and feedback field.  Our experience includes conducting literature reviews and applied research into the effectiveness of performance management schemes, designing and reviewing systems, development of performance management policies, development of assessment tools to be used as part of a performance management system and training on assessment techniques and effective approaches to giving and receiving feedback.

Program Evaluation

We can provide the full range of program evaluation services from qualitative analyses to quantitative studies such as cost-benefit analyses (CBA), return-on-investment studies (ROI) and utility and validation studies.  Our experienced researchers use a broad suite of evaluation tools and methodologies tailored to each evaluation project.

Research Projects

Our consultants have significant academic and applied experience and high-level training in a number of research methods.  In line with our ‘evidence-based’ philosophy, we maintain an in-depth knowledge of current trends in published literature and are able to conduct literature reviews and more detailed research projects to address specific organisational issues.