People in Lighting: Inês Vieira Nascimento

Inês Vieira Nascimento: Schréder CHRO
Inês Vieira Nascimento
Chief Human Resources Officer - Schréder

Companies are defined by the people who work for them: for over a century, Schréder has been at the forefront of lighting thanks to its employees worldwide. Throughout 2022 we are focusing on the people who make Schréder what it is, including their career path, landmark projects and their thoughts on where lighting is headed next.
 

Schréder has been a truly global company for decades. From our first expansion in France in the 1950s to inventing a whole new lighting system for the Channel Tunnel, to being active in over 70 countries, we help create spaces people love to live in worldwide. Our people are at the heart of this, as the Life@Schréder series has shown. 

But what about the talent behind the talent? Human Resources used to be overlooked, but bringing together and retaining the right people is a crucial part of running a business and companies are increasingly aware of it. Corporate values, a sense of identity and creating shared goals are all part of HR as well - and of vital importance for family-owned companies such as Schréder.

Inês Vieira Nascimento joined Schréder in March 2019 after a decade working for international companies navigating the waters of transition, and is now Chief Human Resources Officer. She's currently based in Portugal, but spends most of her time on a plane, understanding what makes Schréder work worldwide, and working with the management team in Brussels.
 

I grew up in a very small town in Portugal close to the Spanish border…

After studying in Lisbon, I went to work for Deloitte, as a consultant in tax and finance, before moving to one of the biggest banks in Portugal, where I moved back and forward between HR, managing their expat and talent management programs, and finance. I finally realised I wanted to pursue a career in HR, and invested in relevant training.
 

Before realising I wanted to see the world…

In the meantime, I moved to the US for four years, living in Tennessee and working for a combined utilities/telecoms company. I was responsible for organisational development, although I also did some projects related to job and compensation structures. Then I moved to China, to Tianjin, where Schréder has a factory (although I didn’t know it at the time!) and worked as an independent consultant on intercultural challenges and global competency coaching. I wanted to move while my son was still a toddler and get the experience of living and working in a country that was growing and transforming rapidly with a very different culture from the “western world”.


Still, Europe was calling…

I started doing an MBA in Spain, and came back to Portugal to work for a company in the food and beverage sector that was undergoing a big transition. It was a good experience, but when I heard about Schréder Hyperion, and the chance to build a team from scratch, I seized it. At the same time, I was offered the possibility of managing HR at Schréder Portugal that was and still is a consolidated leader in the market, which made my job very challenging yet extremely interesting.
 

Schréder is great at realising potential…

Throughout my years at Schréder, I went from running HR for Portugal and Schréder Hyperion, to Western Europe, to Group Talent Director and then Chief Human Resources Officer. My job involves lots and lots and lots of travel. I need to understand the challenges faced by our teams around the globe, to get to know them from both a business and an HR standpoint. I need to make sure that when we’re thinking about a certain HR initiative, it’s applicable to all the realities, and if not, what we need to do to adjust to that reality.


We need to take a global perspective…

We’re also putting together a group HR strategy. HR at Schréder was traditionally very decentralised, and done at a local level. We need to think how to align our strategies around the world, while still respecting the unique culture of each country, which is what makes us so successful. Additionally, we need to update our systems to become more data-driven and, at the same time, ensure we put together a series of initiatives to support the development and growth of all our people.
 

We are also in a period of transformation… 

As a company, we need to go from a business strategy that focuses on one sector, to a multi-sector approach, from a product-based strategy to a solution-based one. To support this, we changed the structure of the HR team, so now we have centres of expertise and then we have HR business partners in the regions. We have to strengthen several areas including talent acquisition, employer branding, career development, talent management and internal communication while, at the same time, working on our salary structure to ensure equity and competitiveness.


We’re looking at a different talent pool than a decade ago…

On one hand, most Schréder Hyperion employees come from tech companies: Microsoft, Nokia, Apple, Siemens. They’ve never worked for a lighting company before. It’s the same for IT employees across the company or sales people focused on Smart Cities. On the other hand, for most of our sales teams, there’s a whole shift from selling products, to selling solutions. We are moving from a pure outdoor lighting company, to a more tech-based company, which means ensuring we have the competencies in-house to go through this transition, while offering our employees autonomy, exciting opportunities to grow, and a fun environment.


We have a great deal to offer employees…

The new generation of employees want to grow outside of the country they’re from, and we need to do more to leverage the fact that we’re so international. We have a great opportunity for people to work outside of their country and we should do more of that. We also need to help people continue to grow. Although professional development is ultimately up to each individual, we, as a company have the responsibility to support and encourage our employees and, for that, we are working on a range of development initiatives that can meet the diverse needs and interests of our people.


Being family-owned is different...

I’ve worked at a lot of companies and Schréder is truly unique. Our people are resilient, innovative and very committed to serving the customer in a way I’ve never seen before. We’ve been around for a century, we’ve survived two world wars, we went to Colombia in the 1950s, and Eastern Europe before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Our history is rich, and we need to make sure everyone knows they’re a part of that.
 

An achievement I’m proud of…

Is the Board and CEO realising the strategic importance of HR for the company. Talent is one of our top three strategic challenges, and it’s critically important that we have the right competencies to manage our on-going transition. The multi-segment approach as well as the Internet of Things is transforming our business and really putting us in the spotlight, and we all need to be a part of this.

Connect with Inês on LinkedIn or drop her an e-mail.