Odgers Berndtson Appoints Head of People Analytics and Talent Insights

Many big organizations are ­failing to see much return from investment in people analytics. But those that continue building people analytics capabilities discover how powerful the systematic harnessing of people data can be in the long run. Odgers Berndtson is banking on Jeongah Seo to drive the firm’s data, analytics, and intelligence business and strategy as it seeks to gain a leadership position in AI-driven recruiting.

September 22, 2021 – Historically, recruiting has been largely dependent upon the instincts of the employer. Whether he or she felt a particular candidate was fit for a given position was based primarily on the resume, indicating the candidate’s previous experience, qualifications, and job history. Today, it is widely accepted that organizations that base decisions on data consistently outperform organizations that don’t. Decisions that are based on data are usually more consistent, less risky, and often lead to more desirable outcomes, according to multiple reports.

To that end, Odgers Berndtson has just named Jeongah Seo as head of people analytics and talent insights. She will be responsible for driving the firm’s data, analytics and intelligence business and strategy. “Jeongah has spent most of her career focused on change management, process optimization, operations and commercial growth strategy, and she brings keen analytics and insights that will help deliver unique digital solutions to our clients,” said Steve Potter, U.S. CEO. “She is a resourceful data analytics leader who is passionate about shaping the future of talent, and able to push the status quo to deploy data and technology process in novel ways. Her background will be a real benefit to Odgers Berndtson U.S. as we help our clients identify and build teams of highly qualified, diverse and inclusive executives with the ability to lead their companies and organizations into the future.”

Ms. Seo joins Odgers Berndtson after more than four years with Korn Ferry where she was director of global analytics and commercial network operations, driving the firm’s global analytics strategy and vision. Prior to that, she served in various roles with Clark Construction, where she facilitated the client project management process optimization and Northern U.S. growth strategy.

When it comes to driving strategy through talent, leadership and organization, pressure is mounting for companies around the globe, according to Odgers Berndtson. “As organizations are being tasked with rebalancing board makeup, developing and executing diversity and inclusion strategies, and more – clients are looking for insights to translate, connect and synchronize their corporate and human capital strategies now more than ever,” he said. “Ms. Seo will further instate Odgers Berndtson as the firm that is innovating, reimagining and building integrated data, product and service capabilities – bringing to our clients’ unique value and insight-driven solutions.”

“All of our clients are riding the wave of change as they compete to lead their industries,” said Kennon Kincaid, chief operating officer of Odgers Berndtson U.S. “In order to accomplish their goals, they need new and fresh access to talent, which we provide our clients in the form of world class executive search and through our dynamic research and people analytics. With her strong focus on bringing commercial and business value through analytics, Jeongah is uniquely qualified to optimize and elevate our proprietary data analytics.”

OBDyanmics a Potential Game Changer

In May, Odgers Berndtson launched a proprietary intelligence platform called OBDynamics. The new offering uses big-data and machine learning to rapidly and accurately deliver data-informed talent intelligence and recruitment services. “OBDynamics allows us to separate meaning from the vast web of digital noise and enables our partners to find talent and analyze trends with heretofore unimaginable precision,” said Mr. Potter.

Built on a continually updated data lake of 1.1 billion personal and corporate records, all of which are gathered in accordance with stringent international privacy regulations, OBDynamics’ AI-powered platform augments Odgers Berndtson’s traditional offerings, allowing consultants to provide highly detailed talent mapping and analytic services alongside top-end executive and middle market search.

Using People Analytics to Acquire Top Talent, Predict Performance & Reduce Turnover
The value of combining Big Data with statistical predictive modeling has been highly touted in recent years. The idea is to apply advanced computing capabilities to talent-related data to better predict employee behavior. “This people analytics approach has been adopted with the aim of simultaneously doing a better job of improving performance, acquiring top talent and reducing turnover,” said Richard Stein, chief growth officer at Options Group, in a new report.

“As the most extensive talent intelligence tool in the search industry, OBDynamics allows us to separate meaning from the vast web of digital noise and enables our partners to find talent and analyze trends with heretofore unimaginable precision,” noted Mr. Potter. “For our clients, OBDynamics breaks down into three primary utilities,” he added. “The first is our Talent Intelligence offeringin which we use OBDynamics to build custom analytical maps of things like skills and talent distributions, compensation variation, career progressions and pipeline analyses. The second is a product we call Talent Streams, which is often used in tandem with our Talent Intelligence service. Essentially, it is a highly customized name-generation product in which we provide tailored shortlists of ready-to-hire mid-level candidates to our clients. The third product is something we’re calling Augmented Search Intelligence, and it is baked into every search that we do nowEssentially, OBDynamics’ research capabilities help us execute traditional executive searches faster and more accurately than before, generate more diverse fields of candidates, and find the proverbial unicorn candidates that no one else can find.”

Finding a Needle in a Haystack

Odgers recently worked with an international electronics company to find a data scientist who had recent experience as a Silicon Valley-based streaming company, spoke Hindi, had professional and business connections in Western India, was willing to relocate to the company’s offices in Mumbai, and had the mixture of technical and leadership expertise to build and manage a new team from scratch. “Talk about a needle in a haystack,” Mr. Potter said. “Before OBDynamics, this search might have taken a year; we completed it in six weeks.”

Related: For Executive Search Firms, Analytics Can be a Game Changer

As cutting-edge tools often do, OBDynamics’ development was steered by necessity. “OBDynamics was in embryo when the pandemic hit, and we retooled the program to fight the virus,” said Mr. Kincaid. “In New York State, for example, we identified nearly 250,000 qualified healthcare professionals not currently employed in the healthcare space, reached out to all of them, and ended up connecting some 10,000 candidates with short-staffed critical care epicenters.” The firm subsequently worked in similar capacities with New Jersey, California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Texas, and Missouri.

Jensen Partners Launches New Platform to Address Diversity Hiring
Jensen Partners, a woman-owned executive search and corporate advisory firm for the alternative investment management industry, will launch DiversityMetrics, a software platform to combine self-reported diversity data and human capital management technology specifically designed for asset managers seeking to quantify, measure, report and improve workforce diversity and inclusion – both within their own organization and across their portfolios. The DiversityMetrics platform features a high-tech, high-touch approach that combines customizable data visualization tools with verified demographic data on more than 25,000 investment and distribution professionals, including 8,000 who identify as having a diverse background, working at more than 600 global, alternative investment firms.

“We know that the alternative investment industry has a diversity problem, and each new data point and anecdote provides added evidence that we can use to identify where the gaps are and make specific recommendations for progress on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI),” said founder and CEO Sasha Jensen. “The power of the DiversityMetrics platform is that it allows alternative asset managers to quantify and qualify the intersectionality of race, class and gender across their workforce, and then use that data to make data-driven decisions about best practices and ensures that the slate of candidates in any given human capital engagement are richly diverse.” It is a product long overdue for the financial sector, which has had its share of diversity hiring problems for years.

“I am looking forward to bringing my experience leading companies through uncertainty, transformation and revitalization to achieve business goals aligning and architecting cohesive paths forward, maximizing margin and impact,” said Ms. Seo. “Joining a team that is focused on collaboration, and experienced working through the changing needs of clients, is an exciting opportunity.”

As head of people analytics and talent insights, Ms. Seo will be responsible for accelerating commercialization of data and IP through creative solutions for Odgers Berndtson, which includes scaling of proprietary technology and data offerings such as OBDynamics and IdenX. “I look forward to bringing my experience operating at the intersection of operational excellence, technology and products, in order to bring creative and impactful solutions to Odgers Berndtson and the clients we serve,” Ms. Seo said.

Odgers Berndtson delivers executive search, leadership assessment and development strategies to organizations globally. The firm’s 250-plus partners cover more than 50 sectors and operate out of 59 offices in 29 countries. The U.S. wing of the firm launched in 2011 and has been one of the fastest growing search firms in the Americas. It now ranks No. 12 on the Hunt Scanlon Top 50 Recruiters ranking. Odgers Berndtson currently has U.S. offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Related: Odgers Berndtson Adds Latin America Offices, Starts Blockchain Practice in U.S.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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