Odgers Berndtson Launches Proprietary Intelligence Platform 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,” says CEO Steve Potter. Let’s take a closer look.

May 5, 2021 – Odgers Berndtson today launches a proprietary intelligence platform, OBDynamics, which uses big-data and machine learning to deliver data-informed talent intelligence and recruitment services rapidly and accurately. Built on a continually updated data lake of 1.1 billion personal and corporate records, all of which are gathered in accordance with the most 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.

“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,” said Steve Potter, CEO of Odgers Berndtson U.S. “For our clients, OBDynamics breaks down into three primary utilities,” Mr. Potter said. “The first is our Talent Intelligence offering, in 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,” Mr. Potter said, “is something we’re calling Augmented Search Intelligence, and it is baked into every search that we do now. Essentially, 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.”

“This is, by far, the very best talent intelligence mapping platform we have seen,” said Scott A. Scanlon, CEO of Hunt Scanlon Media. “Steve invited our team in for beta testing over the winter and our analysts were blown away by the capacity this new system has for finding candidates with accuracy and precision.” Mr. Scanlon said that while OBDyanmics will be an unequivocal game-changer for corporate clients, it is likely to gather a strong following with private equity talent leaders who have the added pressure point of speed when recruiting for their C-suites, mid-ranks, and teams.

“Getting talent decisions right is one of the stiffest challenges PE firms and their portfolios face today,” said Mr. Scanlon. “This new offering from Odgers is a highly disciplined, data-driven approach to recruiting talent and it moves the ball forward and raises the bar for the entire search industry,” he added. “OBDyanmics gives Odgers a substantial toe-hold in the talent AI space, and it speeds up an outmoded process.”

PE investors, he said, who have been heavily courting executive search firms of late, “will eat this up.”

Related: Odgers Berndtson Expands Aerospace, Defense & National Security Search Practice

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.”

New Service Offerings

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 Kennon Kincaid, chief operating officer of Odgers Berndtson U.S. “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.

Related: Odgers Interim Expands in the U.S.

In the past year, Odgers Berndtson U.S. has also added four other new service offerings: Odgers Interim, an interim search business; The Berwick Group, a platform for recruiting middle-market executives; Leadership Assessment Services, which assists organizations make informed, metrics-based decisions about executive selection, high-potential identification, and succession planning; and OrgShakers, a human capital solutions team that provides organizational and other HR consulting services to clients.

Private Equity Firms Invest in Raising Their Talent Game
Getting talent decisions right – especially at speed, across dozens of portfolio companies – is one of the stiffest challenges private equity firms face today. According to a new report by Bain & Company there are many reasons why talent decisions can go awry but those with the highest success rates have something in common: They are highly disciplined about linking talent decisions to the explicit requirements laid out in the value-creation plan. The Bain & Company report was supported by Hunt Scanlon Media research and authored by Bain’s David Waller, Courtney della Cava, Kristin Schroeder and Rolf-Magnus Weddigen. It first highlights the experience of one PE-owned company in the packaging industry and what can go wrong when the wrong talent is hired.

For a deal predicated on reigniting revenue growth, the new owners developed a detailed value-creation plan (VCP), laying out a strategy to aggressively expand national accounts. Because it required new sales leadership, the company quickly hired an accomplished industry veteran, with high hopes that he could jump-start the commercial organization. Instead, he stumbled badly. The new hire had a strong record within the packaging industry of increasing sales, which on the surface seemed exactly what the company needed. But beyond experience, the new owners and management hadn’t fully considered the nuanced set of capabilities and motivations a candidate would also need to accelerate performance in this particular situation.

The sales chief had succeeded in the past with a hard-driving, command-and-control style, which was like oil and water with the packaging company’s culture. He ended up alienating sales reps who had grown up in a highly decentralized, entrepreneurial organization. The mismatch ultimately threatened to derail the entire deal.

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.

Expansion Wave

Odgers Berndtson has experienced a wave of new growth. The firm just launched a new health and wellness recruiting practice led by partner Andrew Dmytryk and designed to provide senior-level talent, leadership and recruitment project solutions for growing Canadian companies. Specifically catering to the cannabis, pharmaceutical, biotech and medtech industries, the new practice will work with Canadian health and wellness organizations. “The industry has really grown up and is attracting top executives from consumer packaged goods, manufacturing and pharma companies,” said Mr. Dmytryk. Professional management is key, as is finding specific skills sets such as finance, regulatory, quality and control, operational systems, and mergers and acquisitions. I look forward to continuing to support our health and wellness clients with best-in-class talent and leadership solutions.”

The firm also recently appointed Brad Beveridge as president of its Canadian business, responsible for leading the firm’s continued expansion and the growth of its executive search, executive interim and leadership advisory services. “Brad’s extensive experience as a search professional and business leader will be key to helping us continue to anticipate and support our client’s emerging leadership and talent needs,” said Canadian chairman and CEO Carl Lovas. “He brings a deep understanding of all aspects of our business and a strong track record of developing innovative solutions to the challenges facing organizations across the human capital spectrum. This is a very important step in our firm’s evolution.”

The firm also recently expanded with the addition of Tonya Muse as partner in the U.S. corporate and government affairs practice based in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office. “We are delighted to welcome Tonya Muse to the firm,” said Mr. Potter. “As a seasoned corporate and government affairs executive, Tonya brings a deep background in industry and trade association leadership initiatives as well as non-profit experience to Odgers Berndtson. Tonya will work closely with Conrad Woody to continue to grow our search work in this area, helping advise clients on government affairs, corporate communications and public affairs, and trade association CEO and leadership roles.”

Related: Odgers Berndtson Opens Office in Bogotá, Colombia

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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