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Before we can answer this question, let’s first define I-O Psychology. According to the American Psychological Association, Industrial-Organizational Psychology is the scientific research of human behavior and the application of research findings within the workplace to support individuals, groups, and organizations. I-O Psychologists are sought-after professionals that aim to address issues regarding humans in the workplace such as “recruitment, selection and placement, training and development, performance measurement, workplace motivation and reward systems, quality of life, structure of work and human factors, organizational development and consumer behavior” (APA, 2022, para. 3). The field of I-O Psychology looks both at the industrial side (assessing differences between individual job roles and workers) and the organizational side (exploring how workers function inside the business and how the business functions within the larger society) offering a more comprehensive approach to study work-related phenomenon in a scientifically methodological manner. So, it’s no surprise that large organizations, such as AT&T, have I-O Psychologists on their teams to help navigate these different aspects of human resources challenges, human behavior, and the experiences their employees create for their customers.

In a recent episode of “Language is Your Superpower” podcast, Host Lisa March speaks to Vinay Patel, PhD, a Senior I-O Psychologist working on the HR Research Team for AT&T. Currently, he works as an internal consultant focused on employee selection, assessment development, and validation space. This means that he is intimately involved in the development and maintenance of assessments that are used across the business, from the time a team member is selected, onboarded, and trained to learn the job, to when the team member experiences professional development and conducts the work, all the while ensuring a fair process for both the organization and the employee. From the business side, this offers a scientifically based, objective way of measuring employee performance and AT&T customers’ experiences. From the employee’s side, it ensures a reliable, validated, and fair process to assess an employees’ job performance, while minimizing subjective opinions or personalities that often get in the way. Essentially, it offers a more just and equitable way for the employer, employees, and team to work together to better serve their customer base and community.

Now that we have an idea of what I-O Psychology is, what does it have to do with language proficiency and how does it affect you? The reality is you can study and get a degree in a language, then not use it, resulting in losing your ability to be proficient in that language. Or you can be a native conversational speaker in another language but may or may not know the industry-related terminology or have the necessary occupational language skills to perform at your fullest potential. To accurately measure what you can do with your second language, particularly within your work-related role and responsibilities and within the organization, you need to have a fair and reliable assessment and process of evaluation. That’s how an I-O Psychologist helps to ensure a scientifically based, valid, and reliable means of measuring your language competency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. AT&T is committed to offering professional development through language proficiency assessments for their employees, especially those that interface directly with customers, such in retail stores and call centers. For bilingual and multilingual employees at AT&T, language proficiency testing provides a great opportunity to validate their language skills and advance in their careers.

If you are a bilingual or multilingual professional interested in validating and certifying your language skills, you can depend on LTI to offer scientifically based, valid, and reliable assessments to determine your language proficiency in over 120+ languages. Visit LTI today and get certified anytime, anywhere!


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