Finnair Wanted to Further Employment of Its Laid Off Staff and Selected Aalto PRO as Its Partner

In 2020, Finnair was faced with a pandemic environment and extensive co-operation negotiations. With the NEXT change security scheme, Finnair supported laid off employees’ future opportunities, also relying on external partners. Within the program, Aalto PRO offered Finnair employees a wide variety of career coaching and change training.

Antti Väisänen and Tiina Aavamaa. Photo: Otso Alasko

Annika Rautakoura, 18.03.2022

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic transformed the operating environment of airlines and Finnair had to make exceptionally large cutbacks. With co-operation negotiations taking place, Finnair wanted to offer terminated employees significant support for their well-being, furthering employment as well as career development. This resulted in a change security scheme called NEXT, involving a range of educational and coaching opportunities, such as entrepreneurial guidance.

“We started to plan a program for change security as soon as the co-operation negotiations started,” says Tiina Aavamaa, Head of Culture and Development at Finnair. “The change would affect a large number of employees across the organization, and we wanted to ensure our support would be timely,” Aavamaa notes.

We wanted to ensure our support would be timely."

Because laid off and furloughed employees had worked with a range of different tasks, Finnair sought to provide extensive support services that could be tailored to different needs. Aalto University Professional Development (Aalto PRO) was selected as a partner for career coaching and change training for experts and management. The collaboration began in October 2020 and covered a total of 140 Finnair employees.

Strong combination of coaching and training

Aalto PRO’s service suited Finnair’s needs in many ways. Aalto PRO could offer a unique package covering career coaching and change training. “They enabled a clear path for participants to advance on with their training,” Aavamaa notes. Aalto’s solid reputation also contributed to the decision.

Aalto PRO's workforce adjustment services offer tailored support to each employee to facilitate their rapid re-employment. It combines personal coaching that supports re-employment, job search training, and competence development.

On Aalto PRO’s Change Training programs, participants can expand their expertise or study entirely new subjects, thus pursuing new areas and tasks. In career coaching, laid off employees are offered personal support for job hunting and clarifying their career goals.

One participant in the program was Antti Väisänen, who left his role as IT Architect and Team Lead at Finnair during the co-operation negotiations in fall 2020. He has since been employed by CGI. He chose two of Aalto EE and Aalto PRO’s programs from an extensive training offering, as he felt that they would support his expertise the most.

He is very pleased with his choice. “Both programs were extremely well organized.”

Practical lessons and broad understanding

One of the programs was Diploma in Artificial Intelligence, the other was Strategic Sustainability for Business. According to Väisänen, the programs were very extensive and gave an excellent overall view of the subjects, along with practical viewpoints. “I gained a thorough understanding of what types of automated analytics are available, and how they can be used in many areas,” Väisänen describes.

After the training, I feel confident in pursuing directions, if the opportunity arises."

In the future, Väisänen would not hesitate to apply for new tasks, or even new jobs, around the subjects covered by the programs. “After the training, I feel confident in pursuing directions, if the opportunity arises. The programs were not just superficial overviews of the subjects, but deep-dives with plenty of work and exercises.”

The programs also featured distinguished guest lecturers, and one of the them was carried out in collaboration with the University of Berkeley, California. “We had world-class trainers, who were also extremely inspiring”, Väisänen continues.

Successful change security signifies employer responsibility

Finnair’s Aavamaa considers the change security program to be successful and finds it important that laid off employees are looked after.

From the employer’s perspective, the best aspect of NEXT was the good feedback from participants. “For example, Aalto PRO’s trainings stirred a very positive response, and attendants felt that they gave real value”, Aavamaa concludes.

Väisänen is thankful for the support Finnair offered to its employees. “I think Finnair did a great job in the situation and proved that it looks after its own, even during hard times.”

Aalto PRO’s comprehensive service solutions are focused on laid-off employees and providing the best possible support for their rapid re-employment. Together with the customer, we design a service solution that fits the specific situation. Read more

MuutosKoulutus (Change Training) supports laid-off employees in finding new employment and furloughed (temporarily laid-off) employees in transitioning to new positions. By offering MuutosKoulutus training, companies can take responsibility for their employees' future when they are forced to lay-off staff on financial or production-related grounds. Read more

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