Our History

When did personality assessments start?


History of Assessments

Identifying personality dates back to 2000 B.C., but it was not until the early 20th century that assessments became scientifically based. Modern personality testing traces its roots back to World War I when instruments were developed to assess army recruits susceptibility to shell shock and mental illness.

Throughout the 20th century, assessments focused on specific aspects of personality, like behavioral style. Behavioral style became known as “the universal language of behavior” because researchers could observe specific behaviors present in every person and place them into one of four categories. Each category represented an individual’s preference for a specific type of role within the workplace.

One of the most significant achievements of early research is that they describe behavioral preferences as a series of “blends.” No individual’s behavioral preferences are completely black and white. There are shades of gray, or blends of certain traits that influence other traits. Thus, every individual’s behavior is a result of the mix of all four traits.

Early Challenges

Since the early research in behavioral style, the challenge for researchers has been finding an efficient method for explaining the importance of behavioral style for individuals in the workplace. For this reason, in 2003, two professors set out to create what became known as WorkTraits.

Development of WorkTraits

WorkTraits was born from a need to find an easy solution for making behavioral style accessible, actionable, and affordable to everyone in the workplace. WorkTraits launched in 2007 and quickly proved to be a system where employees and managers could easily interpret their own behavioral style. This allowed them to take actions to increase their productivity, improve communication, and be more successful.

Today, WorkTraits 2.0 has added additional insights into how employees succeed by assessing core convictions (like values). Assessing core convictions within an organization is important because it is a measure of the degree of satisfaction an employee will have at work, the commitment that individual will have for the organization, and the degree to which he/she is likely to leave.

Our newest research and validation is headed by one of the nation’s leading professors in the study of workplace convictions, Dr. Bart Weathington of the University of Tennessee. Along with co-founder, Dr. Mark Vickers, the WorkTraits team is committed to providing the most user-friendly tool for improving communication, reducing interpersonal conflict and increasing employee satisfaction.