2014 Annual Conference Presentations

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Keynote: Under the Hood of Big Data in Personnel Selection

Fred Oswald, Ph.D.

Professor, Rice University

What is new about Big Data and ‘workforce science’? And in what ways are we repackaging the issues that personnel researchers and practitioners have faced for decades? This talk will explore multiple aspects of these questions, specifically pointing out where future research and practices seems most promising — and also pointing out where hard-won lessons of the past can inform our future contributions to Big Data.



A Journey Through the Muddy Waters of Employee Engagement: Introducing Collective Attachment

Marcus Bolton, Ph.D.

Senior Personnel Assessment Analyst, Southern California Edison

Over the last decade, employee engagement has become the hot topic in business. This is for good reason, as engagement has been linked to a variety of positive employee and organizational outcomes. While promising, however, engagement is also plagued with definitional inconsistencies and construct confounding. This session will highlight the nature of engagement by reviewing the conceptual linkages and divergence between various engagement conceptualizations and its measures. Additionally, using the ABC Model as a theoretical framework, a new (or perhaps not-so-new) way of considering engagement will be presented aptly called collective attachment. Lastly, practical recommendations for increasing collective attachment will be highlighted.


Taking It to the Next Level-Training Supervisors in the City of Los Angeles

Michael Gold, Ph.D.

Personnel Department, City of Los Angeles

The recent economic downturn forced many public sector employers to cut spending and downsize. But, for the City of Los Angles, a municipality employing 50,000, the aftermath of the downturn resulted in historic organizational change including centralization of the HR functions of 23 departments. This bold action in turn, created a significant and unexpected need to train 12,000 supervisors from 42 departments with job titles ranging from accountants to zookeepers.

In addition to figuring out how best to train such a large population with varying skill levels and perspectives, our challenge was further layered by the fact that the training needed to cover information on numerous HR rules and laws, and on the customer service initiatives emphasized by the new Mayor.

This presentation will summarize the multi-pronged strategy adopted by the City. Our small training section developed an interactive website for supervisors, helped administer an ongoing six-week supervisory course, and provided a variety of easily accessible and engaging online training solutions. Future directions, including use of the online training system to test candidates, will also be discussed.


Utilizing Online Social Media for Personnel Screening

Christopher Warren, Ph.D.

Professor, California State University-Long Beach

In recent years, social media has been harnessed by industry for the recruitment and screening of employees, or oftentimes as rationale to terminate current employees. Job-relevant information such as personality or reports of counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs) might be found through screening social networking websites. However, many laws prohibit the use of information gained through this mechanism for job related decisions. What, and how, information might be obtained is discussed, along with empirical findings related to whether this information provides valid predictors of work performance (i.e., CWBs).


Driving Insights: Putting Big Data to Work (presentation not available)

Jeffrey Nabity, M.S. I/O

Hiring Innovation, Google

Big data continues to be an important trend in selection and assessment, making the translation of this data more and more crucial to businesses. As personnel experts, we have the tool belt needed to drive insights and help advise our organizations on where they should invest in improvement initiatives. This discussion will share examples of how big data can drive change, and engage the audience in sharing best practices on how to communicate the story behind the data.