Banking on Diversity

A financial services firm increases diversity and improves productivity.

When a leading bank needed help testing a new app, it contracted with CAI to provide a small Autism2Work team. After seeing the results, it doubled the size of the team.

An American multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered in New York City was committed to increasing the diversity of its workforce and specifically wanted to boost the number of individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) on its teams. Understanding that a diverse workforce drives innovation, competitive advantage, and organizational effectiveness, the firm developed a disability employment program for those diagnosed with ASD, but it needed help recruiting, training and integrating these individuals into the wide variety of distinct cultures across the organization.

Building a Testing Team

With the help of CAI’s Autism2Work (A2W) practice, the firm identified a pilot project that would include an experienced quality assurance team testing lead and four individuals with ASD. The team would be assigned to test a web-based, client-facing application that processed mortgage originations. The testing included manual continuous execution of approximately 200 test cases in an agile environment with daily code updates.

A2W used its specially structured recruiting and interviewing process to find four qualified local candidates who then completed 100 hours of client compliance and application training to prepare for the technical aspects of the work. Once hired by CAI, the individuals received significant on-boarding support, on-the-job training, and cultural integration guidance.

A2W supported the firm by managing the project on an ongoing basis, directly supervising the A2W team members and ensuring deliverables were met. As a part of the engagement, the managers and employees of the relevant financial services teams received autism awareness training to help the new hires integrate smoothly into the work environment.

Exceeding Expectations

After just three months, the new A2W quality assurance testing team met or exceeded the metrics of their neurotypical peers with two or more years of experience. After six months, the financial services firm decided to add 18 A2W quality assurance and testing team members to the same mortgage group and more in other geographic locations later that year. The very next year, the firm continued to expand the program by adding A2W team members in access management, security, user acceptance testing, and software development.

number of a2w team members

The program was so successful that the firm extended job offers to 32 A2W team members who now work in full-time positions in a variety of roles, including business analyst and cybersecurity specialist.

In 3 years the client expanded A2W teams from 6 to 32 members
After 3 months metrics for the A2W team were equal to or exceeded neurotypical peers who had 2 or more years of experience

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