What are ways to assess employability of workers?

What are ways to assess employability of workers?

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Employability is typically defined as

the continuous fulfilling, acquiring or creating of work through the optimal use of competences. (Van der Heijde & Van der Heijden, 2006)

One's employability does not only depend on one's ability to work (both physically and mentally), but also one's motivation to work and learn and the opportunity to work (Brouwers, 2012; dutch citation).

Especially for elders, who are getting older and older, and have to work longer (i.e. until a higher age), employability is becoming incredibly relevant. They need to be able (and willing) to keep on working until their retirement, either in their current position or another less demanding job. This is a difficult job without clear insights. However, with such an incredibly broad term, it will even be difficult to gain those insights.

Are there tools available to asses the personal factors of individuals' employability?

Heijde, C. M., & Van Der Heijden, B. I. (2006). A competence‐based and multidimensional operationalization and measurement of employability. Human resource management, 45(3), 449-476.

Brouwer, S., de Lange, A., van der Mei, S., Wessels, M., Koolhaas, W., Bültmann, U.,… & van der Klink, J. (2012). Duurzame inzetbaarheid van de oudere werknemer: stand van zaken. Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen, Groningen: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

Measures of person-job fit and/or person-organization fit. The following rather randomly assembled references are intended as links to some questionnaires.


Chang, H.-T., Chi, N.-W., & Chuang, A. (2010). Exploring the moderating roles of perceived person-Job fit and person-organisation fit on the relationship between training investment and knowledge workers' turnover intentions. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 59(4), 566-593.

Kooij, D. T. A. M., van Woerkom, M., Wilkenloh, J., Dorenbosch, L., & Denissen, J. J. A. (2017). Job crafting towards strengths and interests: The effects of a job crafting intervention on person-job fit and the role of age. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102(6), 971-981.

Piasentin, K. A., & Chapman, D. S. (2007). Perceived similarity and complementarity as predictors of subjective person-organization fit. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 80(2), 341-354.

Saks, A. M., & Ashforth, B. E. (1997). A longitudinal investigation of the relationships between job information sources, applicant perceptions of fit, and work outcomes. Personnel Psychology, 50(2), 395-426.

Wheeler, A. R., Gallagher, V. C., Brouer, R. L., & Sablynski, C. J. (2007). When person-organization (mis)fit and (dis)satisfaction lead to turnover: The moderating role of perceived job mobility. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 22(2), 203-219.

One common tool to asses the personal factors of employability is the Work Ability Index (WAI; Tuomi, 1998). The WAI consists of 7 items, which contain one or multiple questions that have to be rated by the employee him-/herself. The items are:

  1. Current work ability compared with lifetime best.
  2. Work ability in relation to the demands of the job (both physically and mentally).
  3. Number of current diseases diagnoses by a physician.
  4. Estimated work impairment due to diseases.
  5. Sick leave during the year.
  6. Own prognosis of work ability two years from now.
  7. Mental resources (consists of "enjoy daily tasks", "active and alert", and "full of hope for the future")

Especially item 7 concerns the psychological aspects of the employee, whereas items 1, 2 and 6 do rely on the employee's own judgement. The WAI thus focuses on personal aspects of employability, which, in part, are grounded in psychological sciences.

The WAI has shown to be sufficiently reliable (De Zwart, 2002; Radkiewicz, 2005) and, rather interestingly, is accepted in both the scientific community and is being used in the field (Brouwer, 2012)

Tuomi, K., Ilmarinen, J., Jahkola, A., Katajarinne, L., & Tulkki, A. (1994). Work ability index. Helsinki: Institute of Occupational Health.

De Zwart, B. C. H., Frings‐Dresen, M. H. W., & Van Duivenbooden, J. C. (2002). Test-retest reliability of the Work Ability Index questionnaire. Occupational medicine, 52(4), 177-181.

Radkiewicz, P., Widerszal-Bazyl, M., & NEXT-Study Group. (2005, June). Psychometric properties of Work Ability Index in the light of comparative survey study. In International Congress Series (Vol. 1280, pp. 304-309). Elsevier.

Brouwer, S., de Lange, A., van der Mei, S., Wessels, M., Koolhaas, W., Bültmann, U.,… & van der Klink, J. (2012). Duurzame inzetbaarheid van de oudere werknemer: stand van zaken. Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen, Groningen: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

Communication Skills

Clinical psychologists interact with clients and use interview techniques to gather information used to diagnose mental illness and disorders. They also counsel clients, engage in interactive therapies and produce detailed written reports or notes after each session. As a result, the clinical psychologist must understand sociocultural norms and communicate effectively with a diverse population, while protecting the client's privacy and adhering to ethical principles.

What are employability skills?

Employability skills are transferrable skills that are useful in nearly every job. They involve the development of an expertise, knowledge base or mindset that makes you more attractive to employers. Employability skills are also often referred to as employment skills, soft skills, work-readiness skills or foundational skills. They often improve your performance, minimize errors and promote collaboration with your coworkers, enabling you to perform your role more effectively. 

Employability skills may not be listed in a job description, but they are important skills that can make you more attractive to prospective employers. The main benefit of having these traits is that it can help you stand out among other job candidates who are vying for the same position. While other candidates may have the same qualifications and experience, you may have a better chance of getting hired if you have employability skills that are particularly useful for the role.

Certain employability skills are more sought after in specific industries. You can prepare yourself for an interview or write your resume for a particular position by researching which employment skills are essential in your industry.

Employability Skills Essay Example

Employability skills are the basic necessary skills that an employee requires to obtain employment, keep it as well as perform their duties well. The greatest concern for all employers today is skilled workers. Employers are also looking for the most effective ways to train the workers they already have to improve their productivity. In the work place, the employer’s concern is the skills-gap which is the difference between the skills that the employees possess and the ones that are required for the job. Employers always look for employees who bridge the skills-gap because competent workers do the job more effectively. Employers are always ready to hire the workers who are trained. However, they are ready to provide the job-specific and specialized training for those who need further training so as to enable organizational growth.

I have worked part-time in a car-dealership company during my studies. In this organization, I have gained sufficient experience with training in organizational development. In this organisation, I have learnt important employability skills that I can apply in the marketing industry. I have enough experience on how to deal with customers as well as received the knowledge on how I can improve my skills in the future. The first step in developing my responsibilities based on previous work experience is to create an action plan. An action plan will assist me in focusing on my ideas and plan on what steps I need to take to achieve my goals in employment. Upon graduation I plan to become a management consultant or a manager. By this time, I will have a strong educational background to support my career. An action plan will help me to map out my career from the first day of work. (Balla & Fontaine 1997).

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The first step of the plan is to develop my responsibilities. As a manager, I will be supervising junior employees and assist them with different tasks. Another important step of the action plan is to set measurable objectives which I can achieve. In due course I plan to become a top executive in the organization. My education background will allow me to obtain the management position with the experience playing a crucial role in effective performance of tasks. I will prioritize my tasks as set in organizational structure and work effectively despite the pressure. I would also create a list of my tasks with deadlines and contingency plans to ensure that I perform my responsibilities effectively. I will also create a timetable to ensure that I am up to date with my responsibilities. I will perform every task with the best effort and to the best quality possible. This will assist in career development. This way, it will be possible to develop my performance targets and responsibilities in the organization.

In my experience in car dealership, I have faced many challenges. These challenges have helped me in career development and provided me with experience to deal with such situations in the future. An example of such situation is when I had given a customer a trial drive without supervision. It was my first week at work. A customer came to buy a fairly expensive car. After filling the forms and leaving a credit card, the customer requested for a test drive. I allowed the customer to take out the car without supervising him. The manager realized this after the customer had already left. We were able to locate the car using the emergency tracking system available. Had the tracking system malfunctioned, I could have lost a car in my first week on the job. I reread employee rules and regulations. I also consulted experienced dealers in the organization for advice regarding customer treatment and communication. After employment in the organization, I would have communicated with the supervisors to know the rules and regulations. I would have also read the employee requirements other than making simple assumptions about my tasks in the organization. In the future, I will make sure that I communicate to the right people in the work place. This way, I will be able to avoid simple mistakes and at the same time perform my tasks efficiently. This will improve my performance as an employee making me eligible for promotions and career development. (Fallows 2000)

In my organization, I once noticed that the systems we were using to record customers’ information were slow and ineffective. The management stored information about previous customers in manual print-outs which made it harder for retrieval. This was a challenge for dealers. A customer once approached me and requested if a brand of cars and spare parts for the cars he had bought earlier were still available. After going to the information department, we realized that the customer’s information was not available in the hard-copy storage stores. The customer also understood we had lost his information and was no longer interested in the purchase. My supervisor blamed me for incompetence. I identified this problem and proposed a solution to the Information Technology department through my manager. I proposed the use of a different system for information storage and update of the current recording system. This enhanced faster sales as well as effective information storage. It was also possible to give discounts or benefits to previous customers since the system gave a notification for a previous customer during sale. The management recognized my contribution and promoted me to supervisor position.

From this experience, I can now communicate work problems effectively to both my peers as well as supervisors in the workplace. I have learnt that communication involves not only speaking or sending messages. Rather, it involves effective listening and reading to understand the message as well as use of appropriate speaking and writing skills to pass the message. For effective communication about a problem, I require effective communication skills. This involves summarizing the information about the problem. This is to ensure that I do not communicate details which should not be revealed to my peers as well as my supervisors. This ensures we apply the right approach to solve the problem. Further, I would take part in any discussions with my peers about the problem so as to ensure that I find all the relevant information that I might have left out in my discussion. The following step involves determining how and when to present the problem to the relevant people. Some problems involve verbal presentation while for some, one may require audio-visual tools. During presentation, I would make sure that I give all the relevant data without leaving any crucial point. Communication in an organization involves presentation of information in the most appropriate ways to the relevant authority. (Bloom & Kitagawa 1999).

There are different time management strategies that individuals and organizations can apply to assist in time management. Time management is important since it allows one to manage performance of tasks to meet the timeline. Time management strategies include creating a rigid timetable or a flexible timeline. I would apply the use of a rigid timetable. A rigid timetable sets specific deadlines for a certain task without any alterations.. A flexible timetable does not give a person specific shifts, but one can appear when a task is available. A rigid timetable will give me a chance to perform all my tasks with the set deadlines and, at the same time, create free time for other activities. It discourages idleness. I will prioritize all my tasks with the most important ones appearing first on the timetable. The least important will appear last. The timetable will also provide time for relaxation (Gravells 2010).

During my work in a car dealership company, we were asked to perform several tasks as a team. In these tasks, the organization wanted to come up with new and effective ways to market second-hand cars as well as sell the current stock. The organization divided the employees into teams. Each team was required to market the cars in the dealership and, at the same time, deal people who wanted to sell their cars to use the services of the dealership. The team that would have most sales as well as recruit most clients would win. The team that would win would be promoted to run a regional office that the company was opening in the neighboring city. This was a chance for the employees to prove that they possessed their personal as well as interpersonal skills to enable effective teamwork. In our group, we divided into two distinct groups with each group taking independent tasks. My group would take the task to recruit new customers while the other group would take the task to sell new cars. The two groups would undertake marketing collectively since the dealership needed clients to buy and sell cars. I was the assistant leader for my group.

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In the task, we decided to come up with the most effective ways to enable teamwork. One of the requirements was that each group member had to make a contribution to the task at hand. This was important to discourage insubordination and make the all the group members feel accepted and appreciated. Each member was to pick any task at random and decide how to do it throughout the exercise. Every member would supervise each other without one definite supervisor. In the group, all members were equal with equal right to voice their concerns and propositions at the group meetings. The team leader’s activity was to coordinate actions of the two groups to enable them run as one. In the task to sell cars, the group performed well it ran adverts on the local radio stations on car sales offers as well as posters in the city. Our group also ran adverts and posters. However, our main challenge was to talk with clients directly and convince them to apply the services of our dealership company. We had challenges in talking with customers to leave their cars in the dealership at a fee before we would find buyers (Trought 2012). At the end of the task, our team finished second of the overall six teams. We were promoted to be supervisors in the dealership.

Teamwork is an important skill in any organization. For teamwork to be successful, every member of the team must have effective personal as well as interpersonal skills so as to enable the relationship with other members of the team. The team members must be willing to work in the team dynamics to enable effective running of the group. There are different ways that a team might utilize in performance of different tasks. The first way is to choose group leaders as the supervisors and decide to work on the tasks collectively. This is similar to organizational structure with the group leaders acting as the managers. This method is effective since it translates structure of an organization to the group. The members feel as if they are in the organization. The other alternative is to allow team members to work as groups with each group tackling a single task. This is a more effective method since all the members perform on specialized tasks with the group leaders being the coordinators. The third alternative is to work without leaders with each member performing a specific task at random. All members are equal with equal suffrage in the team. This ensures that the members are comfortable without insubordination or supervision. However, this method is not always effective since it may cause chaos in the workplace. Teamwork requires proper relationship between the members to ensure that they work effectively (Overtoom 2000).

The main problem of dealership is the competition among its clients for employees. There are usually about ten employees and two supervisors in the showroom. The dealership pays its employees on the basis of commissions on sold cars, hence, when a customer comes in, one can see the employees rushing to meet him. The employees attempt to sell as many cars as possible. At times, the employees literary fight for the customers. Two or three employees meet a customer at the door and start talking at once. This is the main problem which discourages potential clients. It promotes negative organizational culture and portrays the employees as lacking efficient employability skills. Management in the organization must come up with the right interventions to change the customers’ attitudes towards the dealership. The organization needs to come up with interventions to increase employability skills of the employees. These skills should ensure that the employees perform their tasks effectively, and at the same time, are able to promote positive organizational culture (Gregory & Bazen 2000).

First, the organization can divide the warehouse into parts with each part having at least two employees. This will ensure that they employees are able to handle the customers effectively and without stiff competition. The dealership should also change the terms of remuneration for their employees. They should pay the employees a standard fee regardless of the number of cars they sell. Any additional sales should come with benefits such as bonuses or promotions. The organization should ensure that it promotes teamwork amongst its employees. This is by ensuring that it gives the benefits promotions from sales in teams rather than as individuals. This will motivate the employees to sell more and at the same time ensure that they stick to norms of etiquette in the workplace. The organization must also train its employees on specific requirements during sales. The employees might have skills in sales and marketing, but lack experience in car dealership. This will enable them to know how to approach the customer as well as how to talk to the customer without creating negative image of organizational (Hind & Moss 2005).

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The new interventions will have effects in the organization after their deployment. These strategies will enhance the employees’ skills to make them effective salespeople in car dealership. Dividing the employees into teams of three or four will also give them a chance to promote organizational development. The employees will be able to sell in teams and enjoy the benefits as a team. This approach makes the employees have a perception that every colleague is a teammate rather than a competitor. It also promotes positive competition whereby performance appraisal is by the basis of merit for a team. The approach will also eliminate the negative picture they portray by rushing for customers at the door.

Employees in an organization play a vital role in influencing the attitude of the customers and clients, since they come in direct contact with the clients. Therefore, efficient employability skills will lead to more sales and, thus, organizational growth. Enhanced employability skills make it easier for an individual to get promotion. In an organization, the management can train workers to become more skilful and at the same time employ workers with the skills. The methods that the organization will use to solve the problems will also enable the employees to set their goals to ensure that they improve their skills and become more employable (Bennett & Dunne 2000).

Employability and Career Success: Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Reality

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Robert Hogan.

Address: Hogan Assessment Systems, 2622 E 21st Street, Tulsa, OK 74114-1738.

University College London

New York University at London

Kaiser Leadership Solutions

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Robert Hogan.

Address: Hogan Assessment Systems, 2622 E 21st Street, Tulsa, OK 74114-1738.

University College London

New York University at London

Kaiser Leadership Solutions


Employability is defined as the capacity to gain and retain formal employment, or find new employment if necessary. Reasons for unemployment are often attributed to economic factors, but psychological factors associated with employability also contribute to the problem. Consequently, industrial-organizational psychologists should be uniquely suited to contribute to policy solutions for enhancing employability. This review begins by surveying the most common research approach to employability—the study of career success—which psychologists believe is determined by cognitive abilities, personality, and educational achievement. Next, we review the literature concerning what employers actually want. This section highlights the importance of social skills (being rewarding to deal with) as a key determinant of employability. We conclude by proposing a model for understanding the psychological determinants of employability and for bridging the gap between what psychologists prescribe and what employers want.

Personality The relatively stable feelings, thoughts, and behavioral patterns a person has. encompasses a person’s relatively stable feelings, thoughts, and behavioral patterns. Each of us has a unique personality that differentiates us from other people, and understanding someone’s personality gives us clues about how that person is likely to act and feel in a variety of situations. To manage effectively, it is helpful to understand the personalities of different employees. Having this knowledge is also useful for placing people into jobs and organizations.

© The New Yorker Collection 2007 Mick Stevens from All Rights Reserved.

If personality is stable, does this mean that it does not change? You probably remember how you have changed and evolved as a result of your own life experiences, parenting style and attention you have received in early childhood, successes and failures you experienced over the course of your life, and other life events. In fact, personality does change over long periods of time. For example, we tend to become more socially dominant, more conscientious (organized and dependable), and more emotionally stable between the ages of 20 and 40, whereas openness to new experiences tends to decline as we age. Roberts, B. W., Walton, K. E., & Viechtbauer, W. (2006). Patterns of mean-level change in personality traits across the life course: A meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 1–25. In other words, even though we treat personality as relatively stable, change occurs. Moreover, even in childhood, our personality matters, and it has lasting consequences for us. For example, studies show that part of our career success and job satisfaction later in life can be explained by our childhood personality. Judge, T. A., & Higgins, C. A. (1999). The big five personality traits, general mental ability, and career success across the life span. Personnel Psychology, 52, 621–652 Staw, B. M., Bell, N. E., & Clausen, J. A. (1986). The dispositional approach to job attitudes: A lifetime longitudinal test. Administrative Science Quarterly, 31, 56–77.

Is our behavior in organizations dependent on our personality? To some extent, yes, and to some extent, no. While we will discuss the effects of personality for employee behavior, you must remember that the relationships we describe are modest correlations. For example, having a sociable and outgoing personality may encourage people to seek friends and prefer social situations. This does not mean that their personality will immediately affect their work behavior. At work, we have a job to do and a role to perform. Therefore, our behavior may be more strongly affected by what is expected of us, as opposed to how we want to behave. Especially in jobs that involve a lot of autonomy, or freedom, personality tends to exert a strong influence on work behavior, Barrick, M. R., & Mount, M. K. (1993). Autonomy as a moderator of the relationships between the big five personality dimensions and job performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78, 111–118. something to consider when engaging in Organizing activities such as job design or enrichment.

Implementing I/O psychology into your business

If you own a small business and have five to 10 employees, it might not be worth the investment to hire an I/O psychologist. However, for midsize and large businesses, these professionals are a valuable asset if you want to increase the satisfaction and productivity of your employees.

Depending on the scale of your company and the work that you feel needs to be done, a consultant might be a better fit for you.

  • In-house psychologists are the better choice if you have a large, global organization, want to develop ongoing training programs, or need to do long-lasting studies of workplace culture in multiple locations.
  • I/O consultants are the better choice if you have a smaller organization, only want to study one particular area or department, or need only limited information.

You don't need an on-staff professional to implement I/O psychology into your organization. By conducting personality assessments, you can learn how to work best with your team based on individual preferences, work styles and behaviors.

Hakim said personality assessments can be used to help screen applicants as a "multiple-hurdle approach" to hiring, or to help develop employees.

Here are six common personality tests you can utilize:

    DiSC Assessment: This test identifies communication styles in the workplace, and helps employees understand how to more effectively work together and communicate. Learn more about using the DiSC model in this Business News Daily article.

These tests aren't suited for every organization, and attempting to analyze the results of any personality tests on your own, without the help of a professional, can lead to controversy and misunderstandings.

Consult a professional psychologist before you administer or share the results of any personality tests in your workforce.

You can learn more about I/O psychology and find qualified professionals by visiting the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Sammi Caramela contributed to the reporting and writing in this article. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Authentic Assessment

When considering how to assess student learning in a course, most instructors would agree that the ideal assessment would be one that not only assesses students’ learning it also teaches students and improves their skills and understanding of course content. One fundamental aspect of such assessments is that they are authentic.

An authentic assignment is one that requires application of what students have learned to a new situation, and that demands judgment to determine what information and skills are relevant and how they should be used. Authentic assignments often focus on messy, complex real-world situations and their accompanying constraints they can involve a real-world audience of stakeholders or “clients” as well. According to Grant Wiggins (1998), an assignment is authentic if it

  • is realistic.
  • requires judgment and innovation.
  • asks the student to “do” the subject.
  • replicates or simulates the contexts in which adults are “tested” in the workplace or in civic or personal life.
  • assesses the student’s ability to efficiently and effectively use a repertoire of knowledge and skills to negotiate a complex task.
  • allows appropriate opportunities to rehearse, practice, consult resources, and get feedback on and refine performances and products.

Authentic assessments can be contrasted with conventional test questions, which are often indirect measures of a student’s ability to apply the knowledge and skills gained in a course. Conventional tests have an important place in college courses, but cannot take the place of authentic assessments. The table below, drawn from Wiggins, illustrates the differences between typical tests and authentic assessments.

Typical tests

Authentic tasks

Indicators of authenticity

Require correct responses

Require a high-quality product or performance, and a justification of the solutions to problems encountered

Correctness is not the only criterion students must be able to justify their answers.

Must be unknown to the student in advance to be valid

Should be known in advance to students as much as possible

The tasks and standards for judgment should be known or predictable.

Are disconnected from real-world contexts and constraints

Are tied to real-world contexts and constraints require the student to “do” the subject.

The context and constraints of the task are like those encountered by practitioners in the discipline.

Contain items that isolate particular skills or facts

Are integrated challenges in which a range of skills and knowledge must be used in coordination

The task is multifaceted and complex, even if there is a right answer.

Include easily scored items

Involve complex tasks that for which there may be no right answer, and that may not be easily scored

The validity of the assessment is not sacrificed in favor of reliable scoring.

Are “one shot” students get one chance to show their learning

Are iterative contain recurring tasks

Students may use particular knowledge or skills in several different ways or contexts.

Provide usable diagnostic information about students’ skills and knowledge

The assessment is designed to improve future performance, and students are important “consumers” of such information.

Authentic assessments have several advantages over conventional tests. They are likely to be more valid than conventional tests, particularly for learning outcomes that require higher-order thinking skills. Because they involve real-world tasks, they are also likely to be more interesting for students, and thus more motivating. And finally, they can provide more specific and usable information about what students have succeeded in learning as well as what they have not learned.

However, authentic assessments may require more time and effort on an instructor’s part to develop, and may be more difficult to grade. To address the difficulty of grading authentic assessments, it is often useful to create a grading rubric that specifies the traits that will be evaluated and the criteria by which they will be judged. (For more information, see the CITL resource on rubrics.)

Examples of Authentic Assessments

Provide a case study of a patient and ask students to assess and create a plan of care

Develop a business/marketing/sales plan for an imaginary (or real) company in a student's area of interest.

Troubleshoot a problemmatic piece of code Develop a website/app to solve a particular problem and/or meet a set of criteria

Examine/critique a case study from multiple theoretical positions

Public Affairs or Service Learning Courses

Consider how a community agency might be impacted by a particular challenge (budget cuts, infrastructure outage, public health crisis, etc.)

Draw a diagram of how a process works, indicating what happens if X occurs

Engage in a role play of a particular event in history Describe what might have happened if one element of a historical event had changed.

Who Is Doing This at IUB:

Professor Joshua Danish, in the School of Education, asks his students to apply the cognitive theories they have learned in class to help them interpret children’s behaviors in the classrooms they are observing, in this faculty spotlight.

Professor Alwiya Omar, Clinical Professor of Linguistics and director of IUB’s Swahili Flagship Program, has her students learn Swahili by engaging in an activity with strong roots in African languages and cultures: storytelling. She describes her approach in this faculty spotlight.


Wiggins, Grant. (1998). Ensuring authentic performance. Chapter 2 in Educative Assessment: Designing Assessments to Inform and Improve Student Performance. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, pp. 21 – 42.

For More Help or Information

To get help in designing authentic assessments, contact CITL to meet with a consultant.


Many people juggle the demands of work life with the demands of their home life, whether it be caring for children or taking care of an elderly parent this is known as work-family balance. We might commonly think about work interfering with family, but it is also the case that family responsibilities may conflict with work obligations (Carlson, Kacmar, & Williams, 2000). Greenhaus and Beutell (1985) first identified three sources of work–family conflicts: time devoted to work makes it difficult to fulfill requirements of family, or vice versa, strain from participation in work makes it difficult to fulfill requirements of family, or vice versa, and specific behaviors required by work make it difficult to fulfill the requirements of family, or vice versa.

Women often have greater responsibility for family demands, including home care, child care, and caring for aging parents, yet men in the United States are increasingly assuming a greater share of domestic responsibilities. However, research has documented that women report greater levels of stress from work–family conflict (Gyllensten & Palmer, 2005).

There are many ways to decrease work–family conflict and improve people’s job satisfaction (Posig & Kickul, 2004). These include support in the home, which can take various forms: emotional (listening), practical (help with chores). Workplace support can include understanding supervisors, flextime, leave with pay, and telecommuting. Flextime usually involves a requirement of core hours spent in the workplace around which the employee may schedule his arrival and departure from work to meet family demands. Telecommuting involves employees working at home and setting their own hours, which allows them to work during different parts of the day, and to spend part of the day with their family. Recall that Yahoo! had a policy of allowing employees to telecommute and then rescinded the policy. There are also organizations that have onsite daycare centers, and some companies even have onsite fitness centers and health clinics. In a study of the effectiveness of different coping methods, Lapierre & Allen (2006) found practical support from home more important than emotional support. They also found that immediate-supervisor support for a worker significantly reduced work–family conflict through such mechanisms as allowing an employee the flexibility needed to fulfill family obligations. In contrast, flextime did not help with coping and telecommuting actually made things worse, perhaps reflecting the fact that being at home intensifies the conflict between work and family because with the employee in the home, the demands of family are more evident.

Posig & Kickul (2004) identify exemplar corporations with policies designed to reduce work–family conflict. Examples include IBM’s policy of three years of job-guaranteed leave after the birth of a child, Lucent Technologies offer of one year’s childbirth leave at half pay, and SC Johnson’s program of concierge services for daytime errands.

Link to Learning

Glassdoor is a website that posts job satisfaction reviews for different careers and organizations. Use this site to research possible careers and/or organizations that interest you.

The Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

  • Usually requiring a minimum of a Master’s degree in Social Work.
  • In most cases, refers only to those licensed by a state board to provide Social Work based mental therapy.
  • Must adhere to high standards regarding ethics and confidentiality as provided by the state board. Usually involves signing an ethics pledge or oath.
  • Can be involved in direct therapy with patients in private practice.
  • Might be a leader or part of a team conducting research for a university or private enterprise.
  • Uses researched based strengths based social work approach to treating clients.
  • Can assess and make clinical evaluations of client’s mental health and diagnose mental illness.
  • Make judgments on the best course of treatments based upon current clinical research in the social work field.

The Licensed Clinical Social Worker is the mental health counseling branch of social worker and requires a significant degree of training after graduating with a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. To become an LCSW, you will need to fulfill your state’s requirements to gain licensure. This usually requires an extensive period of post-graduate supervised work experience along with passing of an ASWB approved national test.

The LCSW practices a type of mental health therapy that is strength based, meaning that they work with the client to find out what strong natural skills and talents they possess that can be used as a launching point to tackle issues causing hardship in the individual’s life. The social work framework for mental health therapy is very holistic, it will take into account not only the individual client’s emotional and psychological makeup, but also societal and environmental factors that can impact the well-being of the client.

This process begins with an assessment phase that takes into account not only a client inventory of strengths and perceived weaknesses or challenges, but also the client’s environment in their personal and professional lives.

Once this inventory has been taken the LCSW works with the client to create a series of steps that can yield immediate tangible results in their life by building upon strengths they have and changing relationships or views on perceived weaknesses and challenges. If you want to learn more about the LCSW you can do so by reading our article on it here.

Watch the video: This is what makes employees happy at work. The Way We Work, a TED series (June 2022).


  1. Meleagant

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  2. Lud

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  3. Mugore

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