We live in the age of information. Technological and scientific advancements mean that we’re increasingly bombarded with suggestions about how to make improvements to our lives. Yet these suggestions often seem to differ or conflict. With an abundance of information, how do we know which suggestions to give credence to, and which to act upon?
Organisations face the same challenges. Their decision-makers understand the need to make sound and effective choices about how to allocate limited resources. And the decisions they make have profound implications for employees and society. But those decisions are undoubtedly complex, and often, the people making them don’t have a clear view of all the factors in play.
This is understandable. Decision-makers often have to navigate challenging and pressurised organisational contexts, and act quickly to deliver results. While no one sets out to make a bad decision, a large amount of research has shown that even the best decision-makers often make hasty and inaccurate ones – because they haven’t taken the time to consider and evaluate a wide-range of evidence. What’s more, the factors and outcomes of organisational decisions – such as leadership, engagement and culture – may be intangible and difficult to measure. As a result, decisions and actions are often guided by what’s been done in the past, or what others in the industry are doing, rather than by evidence that’s grounded in the immediate organisational context.
At the Future Work Centre, we want to help organisations to make better, more effective decisions about their people by taking an evidence-based approach. This means asking the right questions, and balancing different types of evidence (such as existing organisational data, people’s experiences, published research and insights into the psychology of people at work) before reaching conclusions.
To do this, we apply our skill and expertise as occupational psychologists and researchers in organisations to design robust programmes of research. We go beyond measurement, helping organisations to understand the meaning of the evidence and how it speaks to them as an organisation and as individuals.
In other words, we find out what works, in what way, and for whom. And that results in decisions that work, too.
To find out more, visit ‘What is an evidence-based approach?’