In contemporary society demographics are changing as older individuals are working beyond retirement and businesses are seeing more diversity among its workforce. These changes bring forth the importance of research studies for organizational psychologists in examining the current psychology of new employees along with current organizational systems, such as recruitment and selection and socialization.
Organizational success is contingent upon employee performance (skills and knowledge), relational dynamics among and between lower and upper-level (socialization), and retention of qualified staff (job satisfaction) (Jex & Britt, 2008). Organizations are more likely to provide quality services, increase performance, and gain sustainability when they are successful in recruiting and selection, provide engaging socialization methods, and continue to conduct research on the needs of new employees along with developing methods or strategies to meet those needs.
Recruitment process: An Organizational and Applicant Perspective The objective of recruiting, according to an organizational perspective, is to generate a high number of qualified applicants whereby administrators select applicants who will a) provide the best opportunity of success for the company and b) remain with the organization for a longer term. This process begins with attracting qualified applicants. The recruitment and selection process is bidirectional because as much as organizations are assessing applicants, so are applicants evaluating prospective employers.
Organizations that have evaluated organizational needs, including job tasks and future loss of employees because of retirement, are more likely to make better decisions during the hiring process. Recruitment can take place through online websites, on college compasses, advertisements, and within the organization. Public image and societal views of an organization is important because employees are evaluating companies and becoming more selective with whom they apply (Jex & Britt, 2008). Taylor (1993) contends that selecting new employees with high academic knowledge and experience is common among all organizations.
Selecting the best professionals within the field of nursing is more difficult given the diversity of educational backgrounds and clinical backgrounds. Taylor developed a selection model that a) has a formally developed list of questions, and b) interview questionnaires are conducted by a selected group of veteran employees. Interview questions are written in a manner in which answers will provide information on personal characteristics. Taylor’s hypothesis is that current members have foundational knowledge of personal characteristics needed to develop within the organization.
Conducting interviews by those who are part of the work force adds more probability in hiring the most successful people (Taylor, 1993). Applicants who are armed with information about an organization and are knowledgeable about career interests, personal, and professional values, and beliefs are more apt to make more productive choices when selecting and applying for employment opportunities. From the applicants perspective they too are gathering knowledge about organizations and evaluating their fit into an organization.
Jex and Britt (2008) contend applicants are evaluating prospective employers much like assessing and evaluating the purchase of expensive merchandise. Applicants attempt to gather data on organizations as a means of assessing personal and professional compatibility. Value congruency is one important factor for new employees. According to Schneider’s (1987) Attraction-Selection-Attribution approach, applicants and knowledgeable are attracted to and remain with companies with cultures congruent with their personality characteristics (as cited in Jex & Britt, 2008).
An example of this model occurs when applicants have knowledge of the company and introspectively evaluate similarities between self (values, beliefs, career goals) and the organization; thereby finding they “fit,” and want to attribute to the company’s mission (Jex & Britt, 2008). For instance, a prospective employee who does not believe in abortion would be less likely to work at an abortion clinic or participate in agencies that support abortion. Another example is that an applicant is less likely to apply for employment with a company that does not have the same value.
Judge and Cable (1997) contend that another concept in applicant attraction as a correlation between applicant personality and an organization’s culture. Studies conducted between the Big Five personality characteristics (extroversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, openness, and conscientiousness) and applicants’ personality and attraction to companies with different cultural profiles. Cultural profiles are organizational norms, values, and beliefs that guide employee behavior. Studies showed prospective employees were attracted to cultural aspects congruent with their personality (Jex & Britt, 2008).
Principles Organizations can use in the Recruitment Process Organizations can be more effective in recruiting practices when they do the following: 1) analyze and evaluate future organizational goals (strategic planning); 2) make projections of turnover rates within group-level job tasks (successive planning); 3) assess current members’ skill and knowledge levels (promotion or shifts between job tasks); 4) conduct research on the supply of candidates available. Methods of recruiting include internal (within agencies) and external sources (advertising, temporary agencies).
Advantages of internal methods are that it is less costly and hiring personnel have a working knowledge of skill, abilities, character, and personal commitment to the organization. External sources are more costly and bring about the need to provide training and socialization within the organization. The most common external recruiting method is Internet -based advertising (Jex & Britt, 2008). Organizational Socialization Organizational socialization is a process whereby new employees transition into organizational membership.
It involves learning the organization’s culture and becoming acculturated with other employees. Learning work related processes and becoming acculturated is multi-dimensional and multi-directional. Socialization or New Employee Development (NED) include, tasks-related learning (job description), knowledge of the social environment (low and upper-group level connections and interpersonal relationship building), and cultural transmission (learning the language, philosophy, and mission) (Jex & Britt, 2008). Organizational socialization has two perspectives; the new employee’s perspective and the organization’s perspective.
Feldman’s model of organizational socialization is seen in a series of stages: 1) anticipation socialization, 2) encounter, 3) change and acquisition, 4) behavioral outcomes and 5) affect or mood outcomes. The anticipatory socialization process occurs prior to joining the company. This is a time of reflection and introspection for the applicant regarding goals and values in comparison to the values, mission, and culture of the organization. Once the applicant becomes an employee, the employee encounters the reality of the organization’s culture, job tasks, and expectations.
New employees begin this stage with formal and informal training. Some of these methods include reading policies and procedures, mission statements, program goals, and other related material provided by the organization. The stage of change and acquisition can be seen in attitude and behavior. During this stage, socialization with other members and training leads to a change in affect and work performance. Affect can be detached by attitudinal stances, motivation, teamwork activities, and job involvement.
Socialization is essential to job performance (behaviors) and feelings of acceptance (positive affect) and could predict an employee’s continued membership or lead to turnover (Jex & Britt, 2008). Organizations who provide a poor start for new employees incur high turnover; recent studies report up to 50% (Holton, 2001). Applying Principles of Organizational Psychology to Organizational Socialization Organizational Psychologists use scientific methods to understand and predict employee behaviors, as a means of enhancing organization effectiveness; data collected is used in developing interventions (application).
Two areas of interest arise after exploring research studies related to organizational socialization. First, research available exploring distinct perception and views of new employees in relationship to socialization is minimal compared to the amount of literature related to human resources development procedures afforded new employees (Korte, 2010); second, most organizations are not willing to allow researchers to conduct research within organizations because of the risk of disclosing confidential company data.
Given this finding, it would benefit companies to build rapport with organizational psychology and vice versa. Second, organizational psychologists should increase research studies, focusing on new employees’ view of organization socialization. Korte (2010) contends that the majority of literature conceptualizes viewing new employee development or socialization as a learning process whereby it is the employee’s responsibility to learn to fit in or make the grade or quit. What factors are not taken into account in most studies are the social influences (exchanges) of other members and supervisors, in a social context.
Korte (2010) conducted a qualitative study of 20 newly hired employees and six managers from an engineering company. Questions related to learning job related tasks and processes and cultural norms in conjunction with orientation methods used by the organization. Outcomes showed that for employees and managers, the quality of relationships (between and among work groups and upper and lower-level management) was a primary factor in learning the culture and task related processes and therefore increased job performance and job satisfaction.
An important finding was that when new employees were linked to employees who did not engage or embrace them (lack of trust, judgments), performance, and attitudes were negatively affected. Korte (2010) concluded by stating that examining relational dynamics of the veteran employees strongly influences the development of new employees. Traditional perspectives of socialization underrate the influence of the dynamic social and relational processes among members. Korte (2010) states, “The interpersonal domain in current socialization models tends to exist as an object of learning, rather than as a driver of the learning process” (p. 1). Holton (2001) conducted a study comparing new employee development tactics, availability, and outcomes (employee affect). The study focused on 20 college graduates with appropriate skill and knowledge base, one year after graduation. Findings showed that where previous research indicated availability of methods or tactics, Holton (2001) found resources available but in limited amounts. More important, tactics, including informal systems of the operations examined, showed low levels of availability. Some employees reported no tactics available.
Holton (2001) contended that the differences in findings in literature studies (high levels of availability) could be based in the type of research method and measurement used in the studies. The Likert scale was used in this study that provided more precise measurements (Holton, 2001). Conclusion Organizations that develop and use planned recruitment strategies and employ sound strategies for organizational socialization for new employee development find less turnover rates, increased performance, and more positive working attitudes.
Organizations have several external recruitment methods available to them and cost effective opportunities to promote from within. Researchers have different theories of measuring who among the pool of applicants will be most successful and compatible for an organization. Applicants are also measuring their compatibility within organizations. New employee success and retention are important to an organization because of the costs of production loss and rehiring measures. Organizations are community organisms with their own language, values, norms, roles, and beliefs.
New employees transitioning into these systems are benefited not from a “sink or swim” mentality but a well-developed plan of learning work related tasks, processes, and culture. Organizational psychologists are beneficial to organizations because they provide scientific methods of examining the needs of new employees upon entrance into an organization. It would benefit organizational psychologists to continue researching acculturation from the perspective of the new employee. As workplace demographics continue to change, so will organizational processes.