"The program allowed me to take a birds-eye view of my work. I was able to contemplate how our individual operations and processes are aligned with our strategy.”

Maarit Kettunen, Francesco Tutino and Heidi Holopainen

A holistic outlook on strategic HR

In the ever-evolving world of HR, professionals need to continually update their competence. Maarit Kettunen, Francesco Tutino, and Heidi Holopainen are all skilled HR professionals. In 2021, they participated in Aalto EE’s Executive HR program. Kettunen, Tutino, and Holopainen describe the program as a rewarding experience. Taking the time to stop and reflect on ongoing changes was a welcome opportunity.

“The program allowed me to take a birds-eye view of my work. I was able to contemplate how our individual operations and processes are aligned with our strategy – and reflect on all this through relevant HR theory. I found this immensely valuable,” remarks Maarit Kettunen, Head of People and Culture at Siili Solutions.

The program enhances strategic HR leadership skills in a rapidly changing environment. Participants appreciated insight and peer support on how to navigate the heightened pressure placed on HR during the pandemic.

“When Covid-19 hit, everyone turned to HR for advice on what to do. The Executive HR program gave us all a chance to ask questions, brainstorm, and learn how other organizations are coping,” emphasizes Francesco Tutino, Head of HR at the Commercial & specialty vehicles segment at CNH Industrial.

Compelling teaching online and in-class

The Executive HR program was arranged as a hybrid model, with the first modules completely online, and later modules arranged both online and in-class.

“The program was highly interactive, and the instructors had a knack for creating an atmosphere of trust that fostered sharing both online and in person. We learned a lot from one another, sharing best practices and insights,” affirms Heidi Holopainen, Head of HR at the Football Association of Finland.

The program was highly interactive, and the instructors had a knack for creating an atmosphere of trust that fostered sharing both online and in person."

“The instructors captured our attention during online modules, which is not an easy task. They offered real value. For the last module, I flew in from Italy to attend classes in person. This too was highly gratifying. Our instructor shared such marvelous ideas that I plan on inviting him to speak to my team in Italy,” Tutino describes.

Heidi Holopainen says that Aalto EE is known for its academic excellence for good reason.

“The latest research was expertly interlinked with practice, and HR’s connection to strategy was an overarching theme throughout the program. I enjoyed refreshing my theoretical knowledge, learning about recent trends in HR, and discussing issues such as diversity, inclusion, talent development, and organizational culture,” she mentions.

Aalto EE’s staff also receives thanks from the participants.

“The program was highly professional. The communication, the program’s structure, all the practical arrangements – everything was top notch,” Kettunen says.

“Aalto EE’s staff was incredible. They could not have been more supportive. Whatever potential issue we might have had, the response time was nonexistent. The level of service was absolutely stunning,” Tutino concurs.

Concrete tools and insights

Maarit Kettunen points out that the program offered numerous concrete tools.

“Managing hybrid work is a good example. I gained many valuable ideas about how to create a safe and engaging working environment online, which I started implementing immediately,” she says.

Managing hybrid work is a good example. I gained many valuable ideas about how to create a safe and engaging working environment online, which I started implementing immediately."

“The key takeaway I got from the program was the comprehensive outlook it gave on HR, but I also gained concrete ideas that I could directly implement. For example, I started developing our remuneration system straight away,” Holopainen agrees. 

Many applicable ideas were also born during the program’s business project. In it, participants work in teams to solve real-life strategic HR challenges of chosen organizations. Francesco Tutino’s team explored onboarding in a hybrid workplace.

“Onboarding has become a major challenge during the past 18 months. We had an amazing team, and I am very proud of the plan we came up with. It’s called ‘Ready to Roll’ and it re-elaborates the traditional onboarding process to make it much more feasible in a hybrid work environment,” Tutino explains.

“In the beginning of 2022, my employer’s truck, bus, and engine division will be listed as a separate company called Iveco Group, and I will take charge of its HR. One of the first things I plan on doing in my new position is implementing this new onboarding process,” he says. 

Great takeaways in an inclusive environment

Kettunen, Tutino, and Holopainen are pleased to recommend the Executive HR program.

“The program definitely met my expectations and I recommend participating. I gained concrete tools on how HR can drive business success and organizational transformation. The peer support and viewpoints I learned from other participants provided great added value,” Kettunen says. I gained concrete tools on how HR can drive business success and organizational transformation."

“It’s an excellent opportunity for both you and your employer. You will enhance your strategic HR leadership skills, learn about recent developments in HR research – and gain a great network,” Holopainen adds.

“I warmly recommend this program to international participants as well. Aalto EE provides exceptional teaching in a highly inclusive environment,” Tutino concludes.

Executive HR