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or… Banging the drum for Business Psychology

by Ross McIntosh, HR Consultant and CoachABP Social Media Manager

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I thoroughly enjoyed the ABP Workforce Experience Awards Conference and Gala Dinner on Tuesday 12th May at The Oval Cricket Ground in London.

As the Social Media Manager for the ABP, I naturally kept an eye on our Twitter account (@ABPsychologists) and our hashtag #ABPawards throughout the day and was very pleased with the – at times – frenzied activity.  It’s such a great way to celebrate business psychology, make new connections and spread our message.

As a finalist at the 2014 Awards, I was also delighted to be able to experience several of the roundtables from the audience’s perspective, which several people told me how much they enjoyed. The speakers brought their submissions to life by sharing their experience and learning, and the discussions bring a sense of collaboration and connection that can spark new ideas and relationships.

Session highlights

I’ve selected four highlights from the conference, which reflect the impact that business psychology can have both in the workplace and society.

Thomas Rhys Evans, Lecturer in Occupational Psychology at Coventry University: Assessing and Changing Operational Preparedness in the Fire Service

Thomas described how the University had worked with the West Midlands Fire Service following two high profile incidents that had resulted in the loss of life.  Their aim was to assess operational readiness, particularly in relation to unique or unusual situations where life-saving decisions needed to be made. The team developed a Situational Judgement Test to assess operational readiness for Bronze Commanders. The example question shared by Thomas was complex and chilling in its realism, and the example feedback report made fascinating reading.

Danica Apolline from the Strengths Partnership: Building a Strengths-based Coaching Culture at Cafcass

During this session Danica encapsulated the strengths approach in her account of the transformational cultural and organisational impact of their work at Cafcass. It provided a new vocabulary, including the brilliant distinction between the ‘path of possibility’ and the ‘path of limitation’. A new coaching culture enabled staff to provide feedback and build stronger, more collaborative teams. This application of psychology has, in turn, benefitted the thousands of children and families that Cafcass support every year.

Kate Oliver and Jo Hennessy: Engaging Staff to Deliver High Quality Care

During this round table session Kate and Jo outlined their work with Kitnocks House, a care home for residents with dementia.  The way they took a risk to really engage with staff at all levels through the use of focus groups has had a significant impact in embedding a vision and core behaviours. The feedback from residents and their families has been profound and positive.

Aliane Umuhoza and Phil Wilson: Developing and Delivering a Social Mobility Strategy

My overall highlight was hearing from Aliane Umuhoza, who is on the Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship Scheme and took part in the workshop led by Phil Wilson. Phil described the development and delivery of a Social Mobility Strategy for the Civil Service Fast Stream.


Aliane was a natural and impressive ambassador for the scheme. In her confident and professional presentation, she explained the reasons why she wanted to get practical workplace experience within government rather than going to University.  A truly powerful manifestation of business psychology in action.

These are just some of my highlights, I haven’t got space to share my excitement at hearing from the legend of twitter that is the @HRCurator (aka Dave Milner).

If you’d like to share your reflections, blogs or articles about the Awards please send them to me via @ABPsychologists and let’s keep ‘banging the drum’ (and tweeting) about our amazing profession.



About the author

RossmcintoshthumbRoss McIntosh is a HR Consultant, Coach & Business Psychologist. A Chartered Fellow of the CIPD, he has previoused worked for a number of Central Government Departments.

A 2014 Finalist in the ABP Workforce Experience Awards for Excellence in Leadership Assessment, he is currently studying for an MSc in Organisational Psychology at City University. Ross is also the Social Medial Manager for the ABP and curates its Twitter account: @ABPsychologists

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