SIOPA held its final CPD event for the year hosted by board member and psychologist Jon Wilson (Blue Provident). Mr Wilson invited an experienced panel of executives to provide their views on some of the challenges faced by today’s leaders and how the profession of organisational psychology can contribute to building effective and engaged working teams.


Panel member, Jason Waters (Chief Executive Office, Synergy) spoke about the ongoing concerns faced by executives in health and safety and the behavioural mindset of risk takers despite being offered support and mandatory safety training. Mr Waters recommended spending as much time as possible with management and employees to understand the key fundamentals of how, what and why some strategies are successful over others that are not. Mr Waters reiterated that “involving people in decisions that impact them, and their clients enhances workforce engagement”.

Panel member, Jane O’Halloran (General Manager Strategy, Southern Cross Care WA) spoke to the audience about the strategic contributions organisational psychologists bring to business. Ms O’Halloran explained that organisational psychologists can also be “impactful by using a unique skillset to understand underlying organisational issues in areas such as leadership” and people development to create processes to enhance performance and team cohesion.  Further, Ms O’Halloran commented that “the world is changing so rapidly it’s about how we as organisational psychologists can help businesses through the change”.

Panel member, Barry Bloch (Executive General Manager, Project Support BGC Contracting) spoke to the audience about his professional experiences spanning 25 years and significant involvement with global Not-For-Profit organisations in executive leadership roles. When asked how he engages workforce decision making and planning, Mr Bloch replied that a “belonging relationship” promotes engagement.  Mr Bloch emphasised the value of transparency and having the ability to share 99.9% of all the data where possible as “employees are adults… start with adults, focus on belonging, and be real”, and when recruiting leaders “if in doubt, don’t recruit, keep looking”.

With reference to change innovation, the panel explained several methods they used to assist with individual change management projects, such as adopting an agile workspace, conducting extensive training, highlighting the benefits of change and encouraging change at the individual level.  “A corporate entity is just a box we put ourselves in to deliver a product, when really it’s a group of individuals” said Mr Bloch. Referring again to the model of a ‘belonging relationship’ and treating employees like adults he said “…to encourage change and innovation you need to start with the individual”.

Participant feedback showed a positive response to the panel session with 94% of participants rating the event five stars. SIOPA look forward to providing members and guests with an exciting and thought-provoking CPD calendar of events in 2018.