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Applying Psychology In Today’s HR Management

by Staff Reporter

Over decades, Human Resource Management (HRM) has transformed from a largely administrative function into a dynamic, multi-faceted and rich role in the business, which today, is at play throughout the organisation.  Business needs have made a seismic shift from labour to talent, and never before have workplaces across the world been so human-centric.  Ever-increasing diversity is raising the bar for organisational ethics, equality and fairness.

The Millennial generation, with its demand for individualised work experiences, is now the majority of the workforce and they are igniting the trend for companies to provide an ‘employee journey’ blending inspiring engagement, high performance and a culture employees can feel proud of.  The demand for the organisation to consider the whole person is underpinned by the drive for work-life balance and corporate health and wellness programmes.

For quite some time the outsourcing of an Industrial Psychologist by HR practitioners has focused on applying traditional psychological models to improve efficiencies in some areas of the organisation over short-term periods.  However, does this go far enough in 21st Century workplaces that require integrated people management solutions to be driven by HR practitioners; and where employees want to be recognised by their leaders and organisations as human beings rather than ‘human doings’?

According to Ashley Motene, an Industrial Psychologist and also the Management & Leadership Programme Developer at SACAP (the South African College of Applied Psychology), their BAppSocSci degree with majors in both Psychology and Human Resource Management is aimed at meeting today’s need for HR practitioners to have a richer, deeper and more integrated understanding of human behaviour, motivation and people management.  “HRM has shifted out of simply administering the traditional, straightforward transactional relationship between employer and employee,” Motene says.  “The workplace as the bleak setting for merely ‘making a living’ is over.  Today’s workplaces are also not just the competitive grounds to gain higher remuneration or loftier job titles.  To attract employees with the potential to perform well, meaningfully develop them and retain top talent, the workplace needs to be a vibrant, fertile ecosystem where personal aspirations and fulfilment can also flourish.”

In this corporate ecosystem, the HR practitioners find themselves playing many roles.  Apart from the traditional recruitment, policy-making and administrative functions, HR practitioners today are the curators of corporate culture, the change agents facilitating diversity and the coaches of high performance individuals and teams.  As Motene points out, today’s HR practitioner needs a diverse skills-set to fulfil multiple roles in the workplace and function effectively in an environment that is tumultuous, highly varied and ever changing. “Having a qualification that incorporates both HRM and Applied Psychology ensures that the HR practitioner has the ability to understand the behaviours of individual contributors, and of teams, and can blend their knowledge of all facets of HRM with their capacities to understand both cognitive capability, value-driven goals and emotional intelligences.”

A deeper grasp of psychology is also useful in workplaces where mental health issues are on the rise, and are more openly revealed. “There is widespread recognition that employee health and wellness makes a direct impact on the triple bottom line, and it is up to the HR practitioners to lead these programmes and initiatives in the workplace,” says Motene.  “It stands to reason that having a deep understanding of psychology and mental health gives HR practitioners a solid foundation to foster a positive culture of openness in regard to mental health in particular, and to employee health and wellness in general. Considering that skills development remains a need as the fourth industrial revolution unfolds, it is only fitting that HR practitioners who are yet to graduate step into the future world of work ready to equip employees and organisations as we build nations.”

SACAP’s three-year, BAppSocSci degree with majors in both Psychology and Human Resource Management is a unique opportunity for aspiring HR practitioners to be specifically educated for the 21st Century workplace.  The fully accredited degree is offered at SACAP’s Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria campuses, as well as online.   

In line with SACAP’s educational philosophy, places for the BAppSocSci are limited to ensure an intimate learning environment for students with close contact with passionate  educators who are also industry experts.  The educational experience includes a 3-month work-based learning component and mentoring so that graduates are well-prepared to enter the workforce and may wish to register with SABPP (The South African Board of People Practices) if they so desire. Applications for SACAP’s BAppSocSci are now open

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SACAP (The South Africa College of Applied Psychology) has over 20 years of experience as the leading private higher education provider of training in Applied Psychology.

SACAP offers a wide range of accredited postgraduate, degree, diploma and certificate qualifications in its specialised areas of expertise.

SACAP is mobilised by a vision of an empowered society of healthy individuals and integrated families and communities.  SACAP believes that in order to address the harsh realities that exist within South Africa it needs to train a knowledgeable, skilled, ethical and inspired workforce to service those people who would otherwise fall by the wayside of accessible mental health services.  

SACAP is acknowledged for its distinctive educational blend of theory and skills with a strong emphasis on practical application in a variety of communal and professional contexts.  This is achieved through SACAP’s:

  • Person-centered teaching and learning approach;
  • Academically robust and praxis-oriented curricula;
  • Small, interactive classes; 
  • Expert practitioner educators;
  • Unique work-integrated learning component; and
  • Well-resourced learning environments.

SACAP’s mission is to create opportunities for its students to develop to their full potential, increasing their ability to activate resources at a broader community level in order to effect positive change and ensure the transformation of society. 

SACAP is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training as an accredited private higher educational institution.  

SACAP’s qualifications enjoy accreditation by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and are all registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) by SAQA. The Bachelor of Psychology (BPsych) degree and the BAppSocSciHons (Psychology) [BPsych Equivalent Programme] degree are accredited by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).

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