or degrees aren’t considered, since people on the
autism spectrum are less likely to have been employed or to have completed secondary education.
“It’s not perfect, but at this point, we can take
someone who’s never done software testing before, may or may not have a college degree, may
or may not have had a skilled job, but at the end
of our process have an over 95 percent degree of
confdence that we’ve found someone that has
what it takes to be a world-class software tester,”
Anandan says. “Within a month, they’re doing
billable client work and within a year, they are
at the level of competence where they could go
up against any software tester in the world and
OPENING UP Myriad vendors provide out-of-the-box as- sessments designed to help companies achieve cognitive diversity. These tests
measure people’s cognitive abilities and behavioral
characteristics, then place them into categories
based on how they prefer to think and work.
“People behave based on how they think,” says
Anne Griswold, senior consultant at Herrmann
International, which is based in Spindale, N.C.
The company ofers an assessment called the
Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument, based
on the company’s Whole Brain Thinking methodology. “Our preference is where we get excited
and like to connect with people.” Knowing what
type of work energizes people instead of just what
they are capable of doing can increase productivity
Test results can show which employees prefer
to think through a problem by focusing frst on
the process and which ones would rather jump
right to potential solutions. One employee may be
data-driven, while another is motivated by relationships and the customer experience.
Knowing current employees’ strengths can
guide the hiring process. “We use assessments to
determine where we have gaps on certain teams
in order to bring in somebody who’s a little bit
diferent in certain areas,” says Cassandra Pratt,
vice president of people at Progyny, a fertility
benefts company in New York City with 130
Company leaders often opt to share the results
of assessments with the entire organization. They
may display color wheels highlighting an individual’s strengths at their workstations or more-de-tailed assessments on the company intranet.
Workers at Ultra Testing create their own “user
manual” called a biodex—an idea that was suggested by an employee. Before starting any new
project, team members are expected to read each
The biodex assessment has 28 data points that
highlight a person’s preferred way of communicating, average response time to other employees’
requests and feedback preferences. It also outlines
an individual’s triggers for stress, information that
could be helpful in the workplace. “Whether you’re
on the spectrum or not … most humans are not
good at being self-aware when stress or anxiety
is building up until it’s too late,” Anandan says.
“So if our colleagues all know what those triggers
happens in the left
hemisphere of the
brain and is essential to
also takes place in the
left brain and ensures
that you come up with
a plan that is doable.
It is the methodical,
sequential process that
helps maximize results
and minimize pitfalls.
is a right-brain tendency that allows a leader
to listen, build successful teams, relate to
people, and develop
and inspire others.
is right-brain, visionary
thinking that jump-starts innovation.
refers to how well you
ideas. It affects how
you relate to people
and sets the course for
the way you speak with
UNDERSTANDING THINKING STYLES