Brazilian public sector employees earn Executive Education Certificate in Human Resource Management

Hertie School and Repú join up for training and insights into the new demands in people management.

In an immersion into Strategic Human Resource Management, twenty-six Brazilian public sector managers took part in an online Executive Certificate programme at the end of May, aimed at transforming the public sector and improving the lives of citizens. The Certificate was offered by the Hertie School in conjunction with the Brazilian non-profit Repú, as part of their ongoing collaboration in higher education for public servants and those who work with government. 

The programme from 24-28 May gave participants insights into current challenges and trends in making governments fit for the future. A major focus was on attracting and managing top quality talent in the public sector. This included sessions on recruitment and hiring, the challenge of staff motivation and engagement, creating a culture of digital innovation, leading change in organisations, and scenario-building exercises. 

“In Brazil, the process of hiring in the public sector is very rigorous and established by law, but the government is currently considering administrative reforms that would possibly open up more flexibility in hiring,” said participant Isabela Blumm, a social policy analyst in the Brazilian Ministry of Economy, who works in an innovation lab focused on people management and performance. 

The course was taught jointly by Gerhard Hammerschmid, Professor of Public and Financial Management at the Hertie School and Director of the Centre for Digital Governance, Johanna Mair, Professor of Organization, Strategy and Leadership, and Oliver Gnad, co-founder and managing director of the Bureau für Zeitgeschehen (Bureau of Current Affairs), a think-and-do tank. 

“The idea was to share with and among participants new ideas, trends and experiences on HRM, leadership and strategic foresight in order to build up the capacities to tackle the key government challenges of the future,” said Hammerschmid.

In his segment of the course, Hammerschmid focused on core principles of a modern human resource management, recruitment, motivation and engagement, as well as emerging challenges from the digital transformation of work. Mair led a seminar on building sources of power to lead change projects. And Gnad introduced scenario-building and foresight techniques, including state-of-the-art methodologies, case studies and an individual scenario-building exercise.

Both Isabela Blumm and Thiago Noce, a public policy specialist for Planning and Management in the state of Minhas Gerais, were particularly excited about the scenario-building exercise. “A key highlight were the scenario-building tools,” said Blumm. “For me this was incredible. It’s a trend everyone is talking about to evaluate risk, so now I had a chance to actually see how foresight models like these work.”

Noce said he found the comparison of administrative structures of Germany and Brazil extremely interesting – and sometimes surprising. Such comparisons can open up “alternatives, possible paths, shortcuts and lessons learned,” he said. “There are many interesting successful – and failing – cases, and both countries can benefit from this exercise.”

Participants from a broad range of administrations attended, representing federal, state and municipal governments, and including experts in human resources, strategic partnerships, public policy, planning and management, auditing, personnel development, social policy and finance, to name a few.

“I really appreciated the fact that I could talk to Brazilians from various regions, different backgrounds, different types of agencies,” said Noce. “Curiously, our interaction in Brazil tends to be more homogeneous – within the same issue, professional circle, level of government. Being able to talk to different actors from different contexts was very informative and enriching.”

Noce also said his takeaways from the course went far beyond new tools: “I believe the course awakened in me the need to consider a much broader range of issues and nuances in people management and to recognize a deeper human connection even in technical issues. In this sense, I see it as a call to improve myself, but also to engage and transform people management in the public sector.”

The Hertie School and Repú plan to expand their collaboration in this area in the coming academic year.

Find out more about the Certificate here.