Charting the Next Frontier

From the Navy to the HR department at a telecommunications company, Karlian Brown Hildevert seeks solutions.
By: | June 4, 2019 • 5 min read
Topics: HR Leadership

This article accompanies Innovating for the Future.

When Karlian Brown Hildevert sees something—she says something.

That go-getter attitude evinced itself when she was serving in the Navy, stationed aboard the USS George Washington, on the aircraft carrier’s flight-deck crew.

“It was a very dangerous job at that time, but our training for personnel coming in wasn’t standardized—so I spoke to our senior chief about the training program because we just weren’t doing well on it,” she says. She was ultimately tasked with reviewing and updating training manuals, coordinating training for the 155 members of the division, conducting classroom trainings and recruiting trainers.

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Brown Hildevert spent five years in the Navy, leaving in 2011 for civilian life with a renewed career focus: “I knew I wanted to work with people,” she says, “and [my Navy experience] sparked that operations piece—looking at how things work, how to get people to work more efficiently and effectively and making sure people know what they need to know.”

The Jamaica native and longtime Connecticut resident went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business data analytics in 2014 from the University of Connecticut School of Business. While in school, she was accepted into the recruiting internship program at telecommunications company Frontier Communications and was offered a recruiting coordinator position upon completion.

“I went through the program and thought, ‘OK, we could have done this and that better,’ so I brought that up to my supervisor and said, ‘Next year, I’ll help you build out the program since I’ve been through it,’ ” recalls Brown Hildevert, who went on to lead the summer-internship program.

After one year as a coordinator, she was promoted to recruiting specialist—and later talent data analyst, talent operations specialist and manager of Frontier’s Talent Operations and Analytics. Last year, she took the helm of that department as director.

Experience and Efficiency

As she rose through the ranks, Brown Hildevert continued to proactively address problems she noticed.

One of the most significant shortcomings, she says, was Frontier’s applicant-tracking system.

“It wasn’t working as efficiently as we would have liked,” she says. “It’s the basis of our entire recruiting process but it wasn’t up to date on the technology so we weren’t providing the best services we could for our applicants.”

Working closely with recruiters, Brown Hildevert made an exhaustive list of what worked and what didn’t with the ATS and took the lead as the subject-matter expert for the RFP and vendor-selection processes. The company ultimately selected Jobvite as its ATS, rolling it out in February 2018. Brown Hildevert was the point of contact for the launch, ensuring everything from scripts to communication to training was properly implemented.

“Our users now have a better candidate experience,” she says of the new system, which enables paperless offers and quicker processes for applicants. “We’re now able to have different workflows for different candidates, which are needed because they all have different needs,” she adds.

Now, HR and recruiters can see an applicant’s history with the company—each position they’ve applied to, which recruiters they’ve worked with, where their applications stand—data that had been segmented before.

“It makes for a better experience for the candidate to not have multiple lines of communications open, which can lead to confusion,” she says. The system also enables better reporting, which has enhanced HR’s analytics capabilities, and it integrates with other talent features, such as assessment and development.

A Numbers Game

The new ATS also integrates with Frontier’s background-check system; previously, the company operated two standalone systems and had to manually copy information across them.

“Now, it’s all one fluid movement,” says Brown Hildevart, who worked with Jobvite and background-screening vendor Sterling to develop new workflows to support the integration. Now, once an offer has been extended, the candidate signs a release and his or her information transfers to Sterling, with the screening process reflected in a newly developed recruiter dashboard.

Working with Frontier’s legal counsel, Brown Hildevert also standardized the process for reviewing background checks. Serving as the adjudication administrator, she monitors all flagged reports and funnels them through the chain of command if needed.

“Even though we have a standardized process, they’re reviewed on a case-by-case basis as well, which takes into account the line of business the person would be working in and how what’s on the check could affect that line of business,” she notes.

Brown Hildevert also standardized other workflow processes, such as those regarding job posting and outreach, with an eye toward compliance as a federal contractor—embedding consistent selection criteria and, ultimately, she says, improving quality of hire. Last year, she took the lead on collecting, reviewing and remediating all I-9 information across the company, an ongoing project.

“We had to pull all the information for all employees in our system and match it to payroll,” she says. She developed a data-collection method, as well as a process to review and remediate issues—a project that meshed well with her degree in data analytics.

Brown Hildevert says she’s eager to continue to make data-driven decisions for Frontier’s HR operations.

“I love mapping, dashboarding and telling a story with the data,” she says. “When you look at data trends, you can really see where things are headed.”

She would like to see her own career headed toward developing more business acumen.

“So far, I’ve been on the talent and HR side, and I’d like to develop more in-depth knowledge of areas like sales or field operations to learn more about the different business functions,” she says.

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That learning is already happening with Brown Hildevert’s current project: redeveloping Frontier’s employee-value proposition, a talent-attraction project that is steeped in marketing and communication. “I’m an analytics person—I’m comfortable with numbers and spreadsheets,” she says, “so working on the creative side is a new challenge for me.”

Elisa Bannon-Jones, executive vice president and CHRO at Frontier, says Brown Hildevert’s already well-rounded experiences—both at the company and beyond—illuminate her future potential.

“The changing business landscape requires a different skill set in human resources,” she says. “Karlian brings a unique perspective. Her data-driven approach, when blended with her technology acumen, ensures Frontier is continuously innovating for value-added HR solutions. Her experience outside of HR enhances her ability to solve not only HR-related issues, but also business challenges.”

Regardless of the challenges that may present themselves, Brown Hildevert says, she’ll approach them with the same strategy she always employs: “My mindset is always to focus on the solution, not the problem.”

Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at [email protected]