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Another Conference Success!


by Stephany Below, SIOP Communications Manager

SIOP’s 31st Annual Conference in Anaheim Surpasses Philadelphia for Third Highest Attendance!

By Stephany Below, Communications Manager

More than 4,300 industrial-organizational psychologists from around the country and the world descended upon sunny California April 14-16 to take part in the culminating event of the year for SIOP.

The 31st Annual Conference in Anaheim was the third most attended conference in SIOP history, boasting 4,338 registrants. The event narrowly beat out last year’s attendance of 4,325 in Philadelphia and stands right behind SIOP’s two most widely attended conferences, Chicago (4,637 in 2011) and New York City (4,509 in 2007).


Want to see more photos? Check out the 2016 Annual
Conference album on
SIOP’s Facebook page!


This year’s conference, with sessions and events held in both the Hilton Anaheim and Anaheim Convention Center, was once again buzzing with the latest research and practice in I-O psychology. As always, the conference was preceded by a variety of workshops in which attendees could gain in-depth insight on specialized topics. This year’s workshops showcased 10 engaging topics, including the popular “Show Me the Data: Techniques and Tools for Visualization-Based Data Discovery” and “Preparing Leaders for the Future: Dealing With Complexity, Ambiguity, and Rapid Change."

The SIOP Visibility Committee once again organized a Top Minds and Bottom Lines event Wednesday night to reach out to local business leaders, students, and HR practitioners about the science and practice of I-O psychology. This year’s event, titled “Making Sense of Big Data: How I-O Psychologists Use Big Data to Drive Smarter Business Decisions” was held at the University of California, Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business and led by Jolene Skinner. Presenters included Alexis Fink, Rick Guzzo, and Sara Roberts. The event attracted around 30 local students and professionals. Jone Pearce, Dean’s Professor of Organization and Management at UC Irvine, also coordinated arrangements for the event.

The SIOP Foundation also held its annual dessert reception Wednesday evening, which included the presentation of Foundation awards, fellowships, scholarships, and grants. 

The opening plenary commenced Thursday morning with a special note about the recent passing of SIOP’s President-Elect James Outtz. Janice Hamilton Outtz was present on stage as outgoing President Kozlowski announced that her husband would be named an honorary SIOP president. Kozlowski also announced that SIOP would work to enact a bylaws amendment that would include as president in the official SIOP record any president-elect who passed away or could not serve as president due to medical reasons. (Read a full article about Dr. Outtz’s life and career here.)

Conference Chair Eden King then welcomed attendees to Anaheim and introduced Awards Chair Kristl Davison, who presented this year’s recipients. (See the awards story here for a complete list of winners!)

Following the awards presentation, Fellowship Chair Ron Landis presented the 27 newest Fellows, elected to the honor for their outstanding contributions of performance in I-O psychology through research, practice, teaching, administration and professional service. (The SIOP Fellows are listed in a full article here.) Foundation President Milt Hakel also brought members up to date on the Foundation’s work to build I-O’s applied science and gave an overview of the HRM Impact Award. (The deadline for the HRM Impact Award is April 30, 2016. Apply today!) He also highlighted specific Foundation awards, such as the 2018 Graen Grants for Student Research and the James L. Outtz Grants for Student Research on Diversity.

SIOP Financial Officer Scott Tannenbaum announced the presidential address of outgoing president Steve Kozlowski. He discussed the topic of impact and his initiatives over the past year to enhance the impact of SIOP and I-O psychology. He explained that there is very little in SIOP’s governance structure to foster a consistent line of strategic development other than our goals. However, there has been a consistent effort over the last decade across presidents that has helped to build our capacity to have external impact. Kozlowski then continued to provide an historic overview of work in this arena spearheaded by various SIOP leaders. “I’m standing on the shoulders of giants” to help extend that collective effort and to push it in new directions, he said.  Read Kozlowski’s entire address here! (Watch the entire video of the Opening Plenary address in the coming weeks on SIOP’s YouTube channel.)

Following the plenary, the conference continued with more than 900 symposia, panels, posters, special events, and presentations on a wide variety of topics ranging from “Generational Shifts in the Workplace and the Impending Retirement Tsunami” to “Big Data Science Needs: Theory, Training, and Beyond.” Other topics included employee health and wellness, women in leadership, workplace deviance, bullying, incivility, an aging workforce, talent management strategies, workplace teams, the impact of cultural differences in the workplace, employee turnover, mergers and acquisitions, workplace surveys, employment testing, hiring, social media in the workplace, and work and family issues.


Thursday offered several Theme Track sessions focusing on “Enhancing Impact: A Multilevel Approach.” Attendees could choose from five sessions of inspiration and instruction to help I-O psychologists make a positive impact. Inspired by outgoing SIOP President Steve Kozlowski’s multilevel approach to enhancing impact, the sessions investigated the role of I-O in several arenas, from local to global. Creating impact within SIOP itself was even under consideration. Zack Horn, chair of the SIOP 2016 Theme Track Committee, explained the intent of the Theme Track was “not simply to tell stories about how others have made an impact, but to open the door for each of us to make a meaningful difference in the world around us." The theme track resulted in 79 unique impact ideas. (Check out the SIOP website in the coming weeks for a full story!)

The rest of the conference continued with hundreds of sessions, including invited speakers, panel discussions, master tutorials, Communities of Interest, Friday Seminars, and poster sessions. The program also included the second annual HR Track, which was created because to highlight programming attractive to practitioners and HR generalists more broadly. The programs in this Friday track were just a percentage of the total HR sessions offered at the conference, but they touched a variety of topics that have broad appeal

A highlight of any conference is the opportunity to network, greet colleagues, and meet new friends.  SIOP offered plenty of venues for those exchanges, including several lovely receptions for everyone as well as special receptions for international members, new attendees, and LGBT and alumni groups.


The Exhibit Hall was bustling with visitors Thursday and Friday, with attendees engaging with representatives at nearly 60 booths. In the exhibit hall, attendees were able to ask questions, gather literature, test samples, and chat with representatives from some of the leading organizations in the I-O field. Of particular interest this year was the Local I-O Groups booth. More than 40 countries were represented in the list of SIOP 2016 conference attendees this year. Visitors to the booth had a chance to interact with SIOP members from around the world while playing SIOPBingo.

Just outside of the exhibit hall, attendees could check out the SIOP membership table to gather literature about member benefits and ask questions. Attendees also got the chance to answer some questions of their own through post-it notes!

Other popular spots were the Wi-Fi lounge and the Electronic Communications Committee (ECC) social media booth in the exhibit hall. New this year were two SIOPchat sessions on Twitter that involved SIOP conference lessons and questions with Evan Sinar and Alex Alonzo. At the Electronic Communications Committee’s booth, SIOP’s ECC members handed out fun conference and SIOPchat swag—t-shirts, sunglasses, and more—to attendees who participated in SIOP’s social media coverage of the event. Visitors could stop by and learn about SIOP’s social media platforms or hang out and take a photo in front of the #SIOP16/#SIOPchat photo background. SIOP’s Twitter presence was once again robust this year, with many attendees posting about their favorite sessions and SIOP conference experiences.

The conference also included several professional development opportunities, such as CE sessions, the always-busy Placement Center, and the seventh annual Practitioner Speed Mentoring event, where attendees discussed various pertinent I-O topics with seasoned professionals. For the third year, attendees could participate in the popular Science Funding Speed Mentoring event as well. As a part of SIOP’s efforts to strengthen the science foundation of I-O psychology, this event aims at assisting participants interested in pursuing scientific funding opportunities.

Bright and early Saturday morning, SIOP greeted runners taking part in the 24th annual Frank Landy 5k Run, coordinated by Paul Sackett. Participants ran two loops through the neighborhood surrounding the Anaheim Convention Center, the right next to conference hotel. (Read more about this year’s run here.)

An exceptional closing keynote address was given by Laszlo Bock, SVP, People Operations at Google and author of WORK RULES! Bock presented “Hello HR, Meet Science.” During his address, Bock explained that all people decisions at Google are based on data and analytics, noting that people analytics is entering a new era. He explained that 80% of internal training content is given by Googlers for other Googlers, but those trainers are not rewarded extra for that because Google recognizes that intrinsic motivation is stronger and more rewarding than extrinsic. (A Google employee is called a Googler. A new Google employee? That's a Noogler.)

“Imagine how different the world could be if the knowledge in your heads and your organizations was known by the whole world,” he said.

Bock advised academics to “publish your failure.” “Or, if you can’t publish it, at least post it,” he said. “So that you can help keep others from going down that same path.”

He advised practitioners to “tell your stories,” noting that they could help make work better for everyone by sharing what their companies are doing well and how they are doing it. (Check out http://g.co/rework and #makeworkbetter to learn more!)

Outgoing SIOP President Steve Kozlowski then passed the ceremonial gavel to incoming President S. Morton McPhail, who outlined his goals for the coming year, including celebrating what the society has done, supporting work that is ongoing and needs to be continued, thinking deeply and carefully about the future to identify what lies ahead, and identifying roadblocks in our preparation.

"Our professional society must accept and adapt to both rate of change and change itself,” he said. He also encouraged all members to read SIOP’s Top 10 Workplace Trends. (Read more about President McPhail’s presidential goals on SIOP.org in the coming weeks and check out SIOP’s YouTube page in the coming months for a video of the closing plenary session!)

The conference concluded with a special California Closing Reception that featured Ride the Tide band and a beach theme.

The 2017 SIOP Annual Conference will take place April 27-29 in Orlando, Florida at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, so begin making your plans now!

We hope to see you next year in sunny Orlando!




Photo credit:  Clif Boutelle, Bob Muschewske, Tracy Vanneman, Dave Nershi, and Erica Pentz.