HR Analytics At TransUnion

Interview with Jade L Peters-Votava, Senior Lead of Workforce Analytics at TransUnion


Data is at the heart of what credit bureaus like Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion do. They have access to some of the most important consumer data. TransUnion, in particular, is using data to great effect. In Q1, TransUnion announced total revenue of $455 million - a 12% increase year-on-year. Its success is thanks, in no small part, to a range of new data initiatives such as Prama Benchmarking, which provides advanced data analytics and visualization capabilities specific to the auto loan, credit card, mortgage and personal loan markets—to deliver relevant insights for each line of business.

According to Steve Chaouki, executive vice president and head of TransUnion's financial services business unit, ‘Advanced analytics and tools are readily available to help all lenders make smarter decisions. The latest Prama modules give our customers a significant advantage - the ability to gain deeper insights into their own portfolios while comparing their books of business to peers at speeds that were unfathomable as recently as last year.’

And TransUnion is not just using data to help its customers, it is also using it to improve its own internal operations, particularly in how it manages its human capital. At the heart of this effort is Jade L Peters-Votava, a Senior Leader of Workforce Analytics at TransUnion in Chicago. She joined TransUnion in 2014 and leads the Global HR Analytics and Reporting Center of Excellence. Prior to joining TransUnion, Jade was an internal consultant at Sears Holdings where she worked within the HR Analytics space as well as Talent Selection and Assessment, Talent Management, HR Operations, and Compensation. 

We sat down with her ahead of her presentation at the HR & Workforce Analytics Innovation Summit, which will take place this June 19-20 in San Francisco.

How did you get started in your career and what first sparked your interest in analytics?

I began my career after falling deeply in love with Selection and Assessment work. I was eager to dive further into the details and wanted to start answering the questions we were asking the vendor myself.

Do you feel HR is behind other departments when it comes to implementing data initiatives?If so, why do you feel this is the case and what can HR leaders do to rectify the situation? 

I do. We naturally resort back to what we are comfortable with. We have become almost fearful to actually use the insights we have gathered from data, and I still see leaders rely on gut more than anything else. This makes it much harder to implement data initiatives.

How important is it to introduce a data-driven culture across the organization? How is it best achieved? 

While it is important, a well-oiled data governance team needs to be in place. Somewhere that teams embedded in the data can level set with each other and make sure they are using the same definitions. So many times I have seen groups set out on an initiative with good intentions. They are driving towards the same goal, but have slightly different views and end up discrediting each other as the data doesn't match up. It is more important to have the data buy in.

What do you see as the most important metrics to look at to gauge employee satisfaction?

This is hard to say. I would rely on some culture data to determine that. As much as I would like to say there is one magic answer, there are a lot of grey areas in HR analytics.

What technologies do you see as having an impact in the analytics space in the near future?

I am always a fan of using more interesting types of data to analyze and think about. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to prove itself very soon as more professionals are understanding the benefits. I also would love to see more pulse surveys going on. Less traditional than getting an email and taking the survey... but having pop-ups on your computer that assess your mood and well-being. 

You can hear more from Jade, along with other leading experts in the field from the likes of Facebook, Airbnb, and Chevron, at the HR & Workforce Analytics Innovation Summit. View the full agenda here.

BONUS CONTENT: Brandy Parker, Manager of Workforce Analytics at Johnson & Johnson, discusses how the growth of Johnson & Johnson’s Workforce Analytics team has led to deeper insights about talent, enabling us to make more evidence-based decisions


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