The Humans Behind D-TECK (part one)
The Human Behind the Data: An Interview with Dr. Annie Foucreault, Organizational Psychologist
The science of psychometric data may seem cold and inhuman, despite the source of information from which the data comes: humans. However, behind every assessment and analysis are professionals and specialists in the field. They are people like you, who have chosen a career in an industry that meets a need for today's businesses.
This week, we are meeting one of D-TECK’s psychologists. As an expert in content development, Annie Foucreault contributes to the development of online assessment solutions and their implementation for our clients.
As an organizational psychologist at D-TECK for almost three years, she has been involved in the democratization of psychometrics to enable small, medium and large businesses to make assessment decisions based on empirical data. Her goal is to increase her clients’ organizational performance by supporting them in the selection and management of their talent.
We spoke with Annie to get to know her better and explore what led her to become an organizational psychologist.
D-TECK — Hi, Annie! Could you tell our readers about your academic and professional background?
Annie Foucreault (AF) — Of course! I did a bachelor's degree in psychology followed by a doctorate in industrial and organizational psychology (research and intervention profile) at UQAM. My thesis focused on the effects of the parent’s guilt with regards to the work-family struggle. I have also been a lecturer on occupational psychology at UQAM, a research consultant (I still am!) and author of several articles and book chapters on the work-life interface.
D-TECK — Did you apply at D-TECK right after graduation?
AF — In fact, I first applied for a position with our parent company, SPB, since I didn’t know about D-TECK at the time. I had decided to apply at this consulting firm after discussions I had had with SPB experts during my doctoral studies. I was impressed by their professional rigour and by the team’s energy. I was later recruited by D-TECK, SPB’s subsidiary.
D-TECK — What convinced you to join the team?
AF — I was inspired by the idea of delving into an emerging field in occupational psychology to which I had never expected to contribute so actively. After a few months on the job, I quickly realized that this field allowed me to align each of my interests: content development, training and consulting.
D-TECK — What does your typical day look like at D-TECK?
AF — I take part in the development of tools to facilitate employee selection and development and I support our clients in the implementation of the chosen solutions. I also offer training, webinars and feedback related to talent selection and acquisition.
A large part of my work consists in answering spontaneous client requests to guide them in the interpretation of automated reports sold by D-TECK. I also develop content for articles, training and webinars, or for psychometric tools related to talent acquisition, organizational development and HR data analysis.
D-TECK — Do you like it?
AF — Yes! I enjoy my work at D-TECK because it allows me to combine my passions: writing, training and consulting. I like to explore the understanding of psychological phenomena in the workplace, and then be able to share my findings through writing or training. I also like to analyze and understand our clients' needs to personalize my interventions and the products we offer accordingly. At D-TECK, we’re not isolated in an ivory tower; rather, we work in close collaboration with our clients. This allows me to know more about the added value and the meaning of my work.
D-TECK — Where does your interest in organizational psychology come from?
AF — I've always been interested in psychology and the helping relationship. I used to work with children who were victims of abuse or had significant behavioural problems. I found it to be work that was very close to my deepest values. I liked to support these children in their development. We worked hard to provide them with a caring environment where they could settle down for a few moments despite their very hectic lives.
D-TECK — It couldn't have been an easy job...
AF — No, it wasn't easy. That job made me realize that I need to work in an environment that is less emotionally demanding. It was hard for me to separate myself from these children’s experiences. I was bringing their problems and anxieties home with me. So, I decided to work in an environment that focused more on positive psychology, that is, the study of the conditions and processes that contribute to the development or optimal functioning of people, groups and institutions.
As such, employee selection and development were avenues that met my professional aspirations. I developed an interest for organizational psychology because of its focus on the bright side of the individual. We try to help people make the most of their strengths in the workplace and improve in their various areas of development.
D-TECK — Since you started working in this field, has anything surprised you?
AF — I am pleasantly surprised by all the initiatives that are being put in place in different organizations to support employee development and help them reach their full potential. I am also amazed by all the contributions of technological advances and the ways in which they can help us make occupational psychology knowledge increasingly accessible to small and medium-sized businesses that would not be able to afford the services of occupational psychologists.
D-TECK — What impact do you think you have on your clients?
AF — I believe that I am helping to democratize occupational psychology through our self-interpretable assessment solutions that can be used by any HR manager or consultant, and through articles, training, books or webinars I take part in. By having the opportunity to promote advances in occupational psychology, it opens a door for people who would like to take advantage of the solutions it provides, but who didn't feel ready yet because of the complexity of this industry.
I also help HR managers and consultants simplify their work by automating some of the redundant selection and development processes (which are costly in terms of time and energy). As a result, they can focus on the aspects of their work that they enjoy the most. I also share with them recent advances in occupational psychology to keep them informed about what is happening in our field and to provide them with ways to improve their organizations.
D-TECK — What would you like to accomplish professionally over the next decade?
AF — Publish a book! In fact, between my work at D-TECK and my work as a research consultant at UQAM, I would like to start working on putting together a book related to I/O psychology.
D-TECK — Do you have any advice for people who would like to pursue a career in organizational psychology?
AF — In my case, what really helped me focus my interests and determine how I could use my strengths was completing various personality inventories. I think it helped me to really know what my greatest strengths are, but also what my areas of vigilance are. I realized that I was very interested in developing new solutions and sharing knowledge. Knowing this, I was better able to target which area of organizational psychology I wanted to work in. I therefore strongly suggest that people interested in our field take the time to self-reflect and to look for various opportunities to put their skills to good use!