Interviewing on of the Founder of HR predictive Analytics - Mark Ubelhart

20 August 2014, Comments 0

Mark Photo

I had the pleasure of working with Mark several years ago, and even then he was on the cutting edge of HR. To give you some idea, he had come to Hewitt having been the VP of Harris Bank with the focus on Corporate partnerships. He then worked with Hewitt to do an investment on figuring out a way to calculate Cash Flow Return on Investment (CFROI). This was then sold to Credit Suissee, and then it was sold to Boston Consulting Group. In other words, Mark innovates in ways that people want to invest in. When I was working with him, he had finished figuring out how to predict who was going to leave a company – by name! Realize this was over 10 years ago! So it is truly my pleasure to share my interview with him on this blog!

 1. Mark, while we have known each other for years, can you give the readers some idea of your background? 

 Primarily corporate finance/business valuation.  MBA in Finance from Univ of Chicago (now Booth School of Business) led to leading Harris Bank’s Corporate Financial Consulting Division, then to advising Hewitt Associates on its own Partnership Agreement, then to leading its Corporate Finance/Exec Comp Practice tying Shareholder Value to Management incentives.  Then on to Human Capital utilizing Hewitt’s data and linking that to business results and Investor interests.

2. What led you to HR? 

Unique culture of Hewitt led me to Hewitt, with the belief that I could find a role for finance/business valuation in Compensation, and eventually Human Capital.

3. Given you are one of the pioneers of HR Predictive Analytics, and connecting HR practices to Corporate Finances, can you share where you see the HR profession now versus 15 years ago? 

15 years ago HR was just beginning to realize that while most others believed HR was dealing with ‘half a deck’ in the card game of business results, it actually had an ‘Ace in the Hole”in all of the people data under its control. Like Accounting which evolved into Finance, and Sales which evolved into Marketing through the use of predictive analytics and decision science, HR is undergoing the same transition.

4. What are you working on now? 

The HRPS Keynote Address I am delivering in October is entitled “The Convergence of HR and Finance — Leveraging HR Most Powerful Advantage to Impact the Business”. The address will emphasize the need for human capital accountability through internal and external reporting.  It is also the subject of an HBR Blog being developed with DePaul Business Professor Mark Frigo and a joint article focusing on enterprise risk management in the area of human capital.  In addition, Global Analytics, having acquired WorkPaysMe is pursuing the development and implementation of an employee benefit program  fostering Employee Financial Health and using GA’s heritage in credit scoring, and WPM’s expertise in affordable merchandizing.

5. Lastly, what advice would you give to a VP of HR today? 

Take advantage of the “Ace in the Hole” you have in human capital data, pursue  ways of using it for decision making — and especially accountability.  Join with the myriad of organizations pursuing human capital reporting and set the standards.

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