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Executive HR

People come first. 

In the midst of continuous evolution in the technological, social, political and economic environments, people are the most valuable asset in determining the success of your organization.

The Executive HR program focuses on enhancing your strategic HR leadership skills and competencies in a rapidly changing and evolving environment. It is tailored to HR leaders, business partners, learning and development specialists across all sectors in Finland and abroad.

During the program, you will develop your strategic thinking ability and deepen your HR leadership skills and capabilities holistically. You will build your confidence and skills as a credible and valuable partner for senior management, ready to drive organizational transformation.

You will gain relevant, evidence-based knowledge, a theoretical framework, practical tools, resources and technical skills based on the latest research, industry innovations and inspiring case-studies. Our methods are interactive, designed to support your individual learning journey. We encourage you to apply your learning within your organization. A dialogue between theory and practice characterizes our approach. 

Digitalization and globalization have had a wide impact on individuals, careers, professions and entire sectors of industry. The challenge facing many organizations is how to adapt and prepare for the unknown. Individuals, businesses and wider society are being battered by the forces of continuous change.

In future, organizational success will rely on continuous strategic investment in identifying and developing people’s capabilities and motivation, caring for their wellbeing, supporting effective collaboration and harnessing technological innovation – combined with the ability to drive and adapt to change.

Strategic HR is one of the core organizational capabilities of a successful organization. HR is expected to lead the formulation of a people strategy, aligning and linking it effectively with the overall aims of the business, enhancing the optimal implementation and maximizing the impact. This isn’t easy or straightforward.

The Executive HR program offers you a safe platform to experiment and to develop new innovative ideas and solutions for your business. You will have a chance to work on a solution for a real-life business case with your peer group during the program. Proposals will be presented to the group and to the visiting members(s) of the case organization’s senior management team. Your own organization can also put forward a case request. The groups will choose which case they will work on. 

The program is led by internationally distinguished professors and researchers from Aalto University, complemented by experts from our professional networks. A valuable aspect throughout the program will be learning from and sharing knowledge with your fellow peers.

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“The relevance of the topics, dialogue with the facilitators with real-life examples and peer insights added value and depth to the program. The level of knowledge and professionalism of the faculty was of the highest standard!” – 2018 program participant

The Executive HR program has set the standard for executive level HR training amongst HR professionals in Finland since 2009. The program offers an inspiring, relevant and valuable learning experience.

Successful completion of the Executive HR program will earn you 4.5 European Credits towards our Aalto Executive MBA or Aalto MBA programs.

Designing the Future for HR webinar 

Executive HR instructor Juha Äkräs talked about the future for HR and employee experience in Aalto EE's evening event "Designing the Future of HR" in February 2019.

You can see the whole recording here by submitting you contact info.


Participants in the program will be better equipped to drive organizational transformation and strengthen their organization’s capability to be fit for the future. They will understand how HR should take an active role in ensuring continuous business success and how they as HR leaders and influencers can support their organization in achieving this. Participants will have an opportunity to propose real-life cases from their own organization for the group to work on and to develop an innovative solution.

Develop your strategic thinking ability and deepen your HR leadership skills and capabilities holistically
Explore, develop and test solutions for your organization, and share your learning in practice
Deepen your understanding of how HR can support and empower your people and organization to drive organizational transformation and prepare your organization to be fit for the future
Build your confidence and skills as a credible people leader, business partner and strategic influencer


The program is tailored to HR leaders, business partners, learning and development specialists, general managers and other professionals working closely with senior and mid-management across all sectors in Finland and abroad. They are likely to have a key role in organizational strategy formulation and implementation. They may be leading or managing an HR function or be in a senior advisory role, influencing decision making and focusing on driving business success and organizational development via their people.

The program is ideal for you if you see yourself in the following. You are committed to developing yourself as a credible HR leader and professional and are willing to drive strategic organizational transformation. You realize that to stay ahead of the game, you and your business will need to make a continuous investment in the skills, capabilities and wellbeing of your people.

Contents and Schedule

The Executive HR program is built around three topics:

  1. HR driving strategic organizational transformation in the digital age
  2. People case – your business case
  3. Influencing with an impact and building trust

The first module is held over three consecutive days, the other two modules consist of two days each. Some pre-program and between module work will be required in addition to the face-to-face training. You will work on a case-study as part of a group, and you will be expected to complete some independent written work.

You will be awarded 4.5 European credits towards Aalto EMBA and Aalto MBA programs, after successful completion of the program. In addition, you will receive feedback based on your participation.

Program structure

Pre-program Work

A pre-assignment will be given 3–4 weeks prior to the first training module for orientation and individual preparation. The pre-assignment should be completed before the beginning of the program.

2–3 Day Training Modules

Intensive and inspiring face-to-face sessions with peers, supported by the Program Director and led by Aalto faculty and our professional partners.

Between Modules Work (4–11 weeks)

Assignments, self- and group study periods, reflection, applying and sharing learning in practice.



Ingmar Björkman

Ingmar Björkman’s key areas of expertise are international management, with a particular focus on people management issues in multinational corporations. He has been the Dean of the Aalto University School of Business since January 1, 2012. In addition to his role as Dean, he teaches the 'Strategic Human Resource Management' course in the Executive MBA program and co-teaches the MSc course 'People Management in Multinational Organizations'.

Prior to joining Aalto University, Ingmar Björkman was Professor of Management and Organization at the Hanken School of Economics, where he served as Dean of Research and Internationalization during 2005-2007 and Head of the Department of Management and Organization from 1998 to 2011. Having taught at a number of business schools in Europe and Asia, he has received teaching awards from Hanken School of Economics, Fudan University (Shanghai), and INSEAD (Singapore).

He holds a PhD and M.Sc. from Hanken School of Economics.

Riina Gröhn

Dr. Riina Gröhn specializes in developing leaders to increase their self-awareness and self-leadership skills, to understand what in their own leadership style can work for and against them, and to build emotional intelligence in leading others, especially during transformation and change.

She holds a Master’s of Science and Doctorate in the field of health and biosciences at the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Helsinki, Institute of Biomedicine. In addition, she studied human resources management, leadership, mindfulness & positive psychology at Cornell University ILR School, Darden School of Business and the University of California, Berkeley.

She does leadership and career coaching, and she thrives by coaching individuals in self-discovery, navigating through change, career transformations, and to exceeding themselves.

She is also ICF certified coach (ACC), and Certified Profiler for Hogan and Kets De Vries Institute Personality and Leadership Assessments.

Olli-Pekka Kauppila

Olli-Pekka Kauppila is an Assistant Professor in Organization and Management within the Department of Management Studies at Aalto University School of Business. His key areas of expertise and research are leadership, organizational behavior and commitment, strategy implementation, strategy process, innovations and innovative behaviors.

He has studied the impacts of leaders, analyzing effective leadership styles and how authentic leaders behave. Transformational leadership and creativity are also areas which he is interested in, as a teacher and researcher. Kauppila focuses on proactiveness & ambidextrous behavior at the individual’s level; and, strategy-making, knowledge-sharing, social exchange-relationships, and brokerage-behavior.

He holds a Ph.D. in Organization and Management from Aalto University School of Business and a M.Sc. in Business Administration and Management from Turku School of Economics.

Dr. Riitta Lumme-Tuomala

Riitta Lumme-Tuomala’s key qualifications are in the areas of leadership, especially from the point of view of different generations at the same workplace, young potential development, talent management and individual diversity (MBTI Step I and Step II Certification) and self-leadership.

She is an experienced and frequent lecturer on the mentioned topics. Lumme-Tuomala holds a Master of Sciences degree in Economics with a major in International Marketing from the Helsinki School of Economics and EMBA degree from HSE Executive Education. She defended her DBA dissertation on Talent Management in June 2017.

Timo Seppälä

Timo Seppälä works as Professor of Practice, Digital Operations at the Aalto University and as Research Associate at The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy, ETLA. His research interest lie in contemporary global phenomena like digitalization, platform economy and global value chains as well as strategic management and internationalization of firms.

Seppälä's areas of expertise include Business Intelligence and Analyses, Global Business Unit and Account Management, Strategic and Operative Business Development, Supplier and Customer Relationship Management and Contract Negotiations.

Dr. Seppälä has over 15 years of business experience in several Finnish and international companies for example Metso, OMG Kokkola Chemicals, Oracle, Elcoteq and SAP.

Simo Routarinne

Simo Routarinne was originally trained as an actor at the Finnish Theatre Academy. He is now the creative director at IMPROVment Ltd. He is a professional improviser and an interacting designer with great presentation skills. He is one of the World’s Leaders in status training.

In the last 20 years, Routarinne has worked with a large variety of people, from police officers to priests, from scientists to CEOs, and from actors to doctors. He has given inspirational keynotes, training and facilitating sessions in corporate settings. He has lectured at several universities in Finland and abroad.

Routarinne has studied improvisation under the guidance of Keith Johnstone and has translated his book Impro in 1996. He has written his own two books: “Improvise!” (2004), and “Power in Interaction” (2007). In 2011, he launched the Status Games card deck, a powerful learning-tool of body-language.

He can come up with a playful exercise within any content, context or goal. Learning by doing works best, learning by playing, with lots of laughter, works even better!

He has a B.A. in Acting from The Loose Moose International Summer School.

Hertta Vuorenmaa

Hertta Vuorenmaa is a Post-doctoral Researcher at the Department of Management at Aalto University School of Business. Her current research focuses on changing nature of work and changing people management, HRM in public and private organizations, digitalization, gender and qualitative research methods including ethnography.

Vuorenmaa is an experienced researcher and trainer. She has been working as a researcher in several large Academy of Finland funded research projects focusing on for example well being at work, people management and its various roles and gender inequalities.

Juha Äkräs

Juha Äkräs is Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Hintsa Performance. Additionally, he works as Executive in Residence in Aalto University, School of Business, Department of Management. He is co-leading a research program called “The Exponential Work Project: Cascading Wellbeing Climate & Organizational Performance” - a joint research project by Aalto University, Hintsa Performance and Ilmarinen.

Äkräs has worked as Executive Vice President, Human Resources at Nokia Oyj, member of Nokia Executive Board and Nokia Siemens Networks Board of Directors. Before these, he worked in multiple business manager roles, e.g., Senior Vice President of Core Networks, Nokia Networks. Moreover, he has had multiple positions of trust in business and non-profit organizations.

Juha Äkräs holds a Master of Science in Engineering from Helsinki University of Technology. He also have studied Industrial Management, Work Psychology and Telecommunications.

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