Executive HR

Aalto University School of Business

Aalto University School of Business


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Who should attend

The program is tailored to experienced HR leaders, business partners, learning and development specialists. The participants 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.

About the course

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.


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

Contents and Schedule

The Executive HR program is built around three themes:

  • HR driving strategic organizational transformation in the digital age
  • Organizational capabilities, talent of tomorrow & high performance
  • Leading others and managing self – impactful me
  • 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.


HR Driving Strategic Organizational Transformation in the Digital Age

The first module lays the foundation for the program by establishing a systematic view on what strategic HR means in theory and in practice.

We will discover how organizational capabilities, workforce planning, talent management and employee engagement are interlinked with successful implementation of the overall business strategy. The focus will be on people, teams and collaboration.

We will explore how the global megatrends of digitalization, artificial intelligence and globalization that are impacting all industries and companies affect the organizational people strategy and the role of HR.

We will then take a closer look at the changing nature of work and HR’s role in supporting and driving organizational development.

  • Day 1: Evolving context: future of work, strategic HR leadership and organizational capabilities of tomorrow
  • Day 2: Building bridges & applying theoretical lenses: focus on people, employee experience and organizational culture
  • Day 3: Acting now, whilst strategizing and visioning future scenarios - the never ending story

Organizational capabilities, talent of tomorrow & high performance

The second module focuses on organizational capabilities, talent and performance. We will also familiarize ourselves with interesting case-companies.

  • Day 1: Let's talk about talent and performance!
  • Day 2: Harnessing new technology and turning the people data into meaningful analytics and insights

Influencing with an Impact and Building Trust

In the final module, we will focus on interactions, empowering and motivating people and influencing others. We will explore the framework of leadership as a service and HR’s role in enabling this. Finally, we will link up and reflect on the learnings and plan ahead. The groups will present their case-work projects. The participants will receive their program diplomas.

  • Day 1: Leading others and managing self: employee well-being and engagement, self awareness and empowering others
  • Day 2: Influencing with an impact, pitching of strategy projects, reflections and planning ahead


Olli Pekka Kauppila

Research interests Organizational behavior and leadership Creativity, innovation, proactiveness, and ambidextrous behavior at the individual level Strategy-making, knowledge sharing, social exchange relationships, brokerage behavior Education Ph.D. (organization and management), Aalto Universit...

Ben Nothnagel

Ben Nothnagel is an expert in self-development and applied neuro-science and has been a member of Aalto EE’s faculty for many years. His concepts of applied neuro-science have also been incorporated into the leadership development programs of many global corporations. He is an Attorney at Law, a...

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 ...

Hertta Vuorenmaa

Post-doctoral Researcher, Aalto University School of Business Hertta Vuorenmaa is a Post-doctoral Researcher at the Department of Management at Aalto University School of Business. Vuorenmaa is an experienced researcher and trainer. She has been working as a researcher in several large Academy ...

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 & Or...

Jari Hakanen

Research Professor, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health Jari obtained his PhD in social psychology from the University of Helsinki in 2005 with a thesis on burnout, engagement, and a life-course life-event perspective on employee well-being. In the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health,...

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Executive HR at Aalto University School of Business

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