Tarja Näkki, Marko Saapunki, and Emma Ylläsjärvi all participated in the same Executive HR program. They gained the newest knowledge in the field of HR, tools, and frameworks to support their work, and valuable peer support from other HR professionals.
“These days, brain fog caused by back-to-back Teams meetings is a common phenomenon in work life. The Executive HR program gave us room to stop and contemplate current HR issues, learn about the newest research results in HR, and reflect on our own ways of working. It was highly beneficial and rewarding,” says Tarja Näkki, Head of Unit in charge of personnel availability at the City of Helsinki.
“It was wonderful to take the time to think. The first-rate instructors facilitated our learning experience in a way that helped us understand things on a deeper level and mirror everything we learned to the needs of our own organizations,” remarks Agnico Eagle Finland’s HR Manager Emma Ylläsjärvi.
CFO and HR Director at Laattapiste, Marko Saapunki describes his study experience in the Executive HR program as eye-opening.
I was able to dive even deeper into current HR themes and refresh my thinking even further.
“Unlike Tarja and Emma, who are both experienced HR professionals, my background is solidly in finance, and I am fairly new to HR. A while ago, we made the decision in Laattapiste’s executive team to make HR one of our strategic development areas and I took on HR responsibilities on top of my work as CFO,” Marko Saapunki explains.
“For me, the program was a comprehensive learning experience. I now recognize how important a role HR plays in achieving our strategy. I gained frameworks and tools for structuring our HR function, and useful material that I have shared with Laattapiste managers. I have been actively advancing HR thinking in our organization ever since the training and today, we see HR in a completely different light than we did just a year ago,” Marko Saapunki emphasizes.
In the changing field of HR, training is more important than ever
Tarja Näkki, Marko Saapunki and Emma Ylläsjärvi all say that they got new perspective to the changing world of human resource management from the Executive HR program. The program also strengthened their ability to prepare for an unpredictable future.
“The challenges that HR deals with are becoming more acute each year and the pace of change is faster,” underlines Tarja Näkki, who has worked in HR since 2014.
“In our field, it is important to ensure that our skills are deeply rooted in a strong foundation, so we can function during changing circumstances. When COVID-19 hit, we had to create guidelines very quickly for remote work and operating in exceptional conditions. Now, uncertainty prevails due to the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis. The Executive HR program provided valuable support for managing change and preparing for the unexpected,” Tarja Näkki continues.
“We gained a broad-scale picture of current themes in HR from leading Finnish HR experts. We deliberated how to develop corporate culture and employee experiences so that they keep up with today's fast changing world. In addition, we delved into issues like taking diversity and inclusion into consideration in recruitments, and how to find and retain talent that fits our corporate culture,” says Marko Saapunki.
During the program, a plethora of new ideas came not only from the instructors but from other participants as well.
We gained a broad-scale picture of current themes in HR from leading Finnish HR experts.
“It was tremendously interesting to hear experience-based ideas from other participants about how they have arranged hybrid work and sought to ensure employee well-being in more and more digitalized work environments,” Emma Ylläsjärvi points out.
“For me, discussions with other participants during our project work were highlights of the program. I gained a lot of new ideas about how we can attract new employees from different generations to join our company and engage them into our work community,” Emma Ylläsjärvi adds.
The Executive HR program was delivered mainly in-class this time, to optimize the learning experience, peer networking, and impact. Remote participation was arranged for a couple of participants who were not able to attend all the modules, but Tarja Näkki, Marko Saapunki and Emma Ylläsjärvi all participated in person.
“The peer support, marvelous discussions both in class and during the breaks, and networking with other HR professionals were all so rewarding that it was worth the travel, even for us coming from a bit further,” says Emma Ylläsjärvi, who flew from Kittilä to Helsinki for each in-class day.
The Executive HR program renews your thinking
Tarja Näkki, Marko Saapunki and Emma Ylläsjärvi affirm that they are pleased to endorse the Executive HR program.
Tarja Näkki was already familiar with Aalto EE because she graduated from the Aalto EMBA program in 2016.
“Based on my EMBA studies, I knew to expect a high-quality program, with top notch facilities and excellent teaching. During the Executive HR program, I was able to dive even deeper into current HR themes and refresh my thinking even further. The Executive HR is an excellent program, and I am happy to recommend it,” Tarja Näkki says.
“Usually, it’s us HR people who take care of others, but in the Executive HR program you constantly feel like you are taken care of. All the instructors were very knowledgeable, and they used versatile teaching methods, which made the learning experience excellent,” Emma Ylläsjärvi notes.
Marko Saapunki says that the Executive HR program has a lot to give not only to HR professionals but others as well.
“The Executive HR program is an excellent choice for HR professionals, but I also recommend it to CFOs, CEOs, and all executive team members in general. The program helps you to genuinely understand the strategic importance of HR, and it gives you a common language for communicating with HR professionals,” Marko Saapunki concludes.