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Bernardo Bastos Lopes

  • Programme: Human Resources Strategy for Transforming Organisations
  • Nationality: Portuguese

Bernardo completed the HRST programme in May 2014, having previously obtained an advanced executive qualification in Marketing and a degree in Business Management. He has considerable sales experience,having worked previously for Informa D&B (a businessinformation supplier) and ONI (a telecoms company). Hestarted in a sales management role at Vortal in 2001 and is now Head of People Management.

Managing expansion

I recently moved into Human Resources from a background in sales, business development and client management. This move complimented my personal skills and my many years of experience with Vortal, an expanding IT company. I now oversee a young team of around 140 people. We are expanding abroad and rapidly becoming one of the largest eSourcing and eCommerce providers in the world. Dealing with people and managing teams overseas definitely brings its own challenges! I was looking for an executive programme that would give me a strong grounding in best HR practice globally, and to update myself on current HR theory and trends around the world. I researched many people management programmes and I found London Business School’s HR Strategy in Transforming Organisations programme to be the most comprehensive. It offers a great blend of dynamic and pragmatic approaches, with a strong multicultural element coming from the diversity of the participant group. 

Action plan 

The week was intense but structured and organised allowing each session to flow seamlessly to the next. We started with an examination of the impact and challenges of transformation, then went deeper, tightened the focus and ended with each one of us developing a committed action plan. Moving forward, I’ve already used this action plan to present new ideas to the board at Vortal. I have raised important issues around our social networks and proposed improvements to our website to make it more interactive. I’m redesigning our welcome and integration programmes to make them more extensive, and I want to provide mentors and coaches for new staff members. I’m also looking into job swaps between teams so staff can understand exactly how other people work and how we all fit together. All this is in the planning stages, but it’s very exciting and a real boost for the company as it goes to the next level. 

Participative learning 

Professor Lynda Gratton is a world leader in HR strategy, and she was a fantastic mentor and teacher. We weren’t just sitting there and listening to lecture after lecture – it was very participative. She challenged the group, encouraged debate and argument, and drew everyone in. Similarly, the guest speakers, who spoke to us about policies in their own organisations, were not only fascinating but genuinely useful. We were able to relate to some of the real-life practices and apply them to our own workplace situations. Working in small groups, in such a multicultural environment, was very inspiring. There were approximately ten of us in each group, from different companies around the world, offering support and discussion. I’ve kept in contact with my group, swapped emails and connected on LinkedIn. The network is social and supportive and also provides a forum for exchanging ideas on a global level. 

Inspiration and confidence 

Because of my background in sales, this was my first formal opportunity to examine and analyse HR practice in a focused, considered way, and it left me with a lot of confidence. The whole week was very inspiring – and proved to be an excellent return on investment. The programme honed my skills, gave me clear tools to move forward and confirmed that we are already applying the best HR practice at Vortal.