Russell Reynolds Associates Acquires Cultural Analytics Business

August 12, 2020 – 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.

Recently, Russell Reynolds Associates acquired the cultural analytics business of Workplace Analytics, a provider of data-driven insights and analysis about corporate culture. With this addition, the firm expands its culture assessment portfolio to assist CEOs, boards of directors and CHROs in more accurately identifying deep-rooted issues within a company’s culture and creating environments that drive performance, spur innovation and foster collaboration. As the firm sees it, more data / less risk, hence the acquisition.

“Most organizations recognize the importance of culture but struggle to understand the true contours of their cultures,” the search firm said. “As a result, they face uphill battles in shaping agile, inclusive cultures that propel growth. And, they are too often taken by surprise by toxic micro-cultures that tolerate or promote misbehavior.”

The cultural analytics methodology developed by Workplace Analytics focuses on the areas of business operations that have long been considered largely immune to accurate measurement. By utilizing proprietary analytic methods drawn from behavioral economics, social psychology and advanced survey research, this approach pinpoints where leadership and board action on culture is most needed.

The platform was developed by several of the country’s top academic researchers in the fields of behavioral economics and political science, including Daniel Diermeier, the current chancellor of Vanderbilt University, Randy Stevenson of Rice University and Lynn Vavreck of UCLA. The members of the Workplace Analytics team will join Russell Reynolds Associates as consultants, where they will continue to help develop and customize the platform, as well as serving as advisors on the firm’s newly-established leadership analytics advisory board.

Related: Five Ways HR Can Maximize Data and Analytics

“Most culture surveys lie to you – providing either murky or misleading pictures of the true risks embedded in organizational culture, and that matters,” said Clarke Murphy, CEO of Russell Reynolds Associates. “Without an accurate measure of current culture, leadership teams and boards will struggle to build the agile, inclusive cultures required to drive growth in a fast-changing world – and they will be caught off guard by behavioral and cultural risk that typical culture surveys fail to measure.”

Mitigating Unseen Risks

“The cultural analytics business is a perfect fit for Russell Reynolds Associates, as its platform offers an MRI-like scan into embedded cultural issues that can elude even the most engaged CEOs and board members,” he said. “This acquisition immediately enhances our ability to advise clients on how to find and mitigate these unseen risks.”

 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.

“Few would argue the importance of corporate culture in driving organizational success, but the techniques most businesses employ to change their cultures typically fail to uncover the hard truths that can help deliver that success,” said Mr. Diermeier. “Our analytical approach creates the conditions for candor, uncovering how a culture really works and revealing what leaders need to hear rather than what they want to hear. In concert with Russell Reynolds Associates, we offer an approach that brings together the best of both the art and the science of leadership and management.”

Anthony Abbatiello, leader of Russell Reynolds Associates’ global leadership and succession business, said that it has been well established that an effective approach to resolving culture issues requires changes from both corporate leadership as well as bottom-up behavioral shifts. “But this can’t be achieved unless we can pinpoint the issues that pose the greatest dangers to the culture,” he said. “Given this challenge, the Cultural Analytics methodology seamlessly complements our executive-level counsel. It’s a tremendous evolution in our ability to identify practices that negatively impact our clients’ performance and to deliver resolution strategies.”

Russell Reynolds Associates is a global leadership advisory and search firm. Its 425-plus consultants in 46 offices work with public, private and non-profit organizations across all industries and regions. Ranked by Hunt Scanlon Media as the third largest search firm in the Americas, Russell Reynolds Associates earns annual revenues of more than $436.6 million.

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

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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