That feeling when diversity and fresh ideas are really appreciated – Summer in HR

Aug 31, 2020

That feeling when diversity and fresh ideas are really appreciated – Summer in HR

I worked as a summer HR-trainee in Espoo, Finland. I was provided the opportunity to complete a summer internship after completing a master's thesis in collaboration with Valmet. 


When completing an exchange year in Hong Kong, I was introduced to the fields of design and business anthropology, which at Valmet, I have been given an opportunity to utilize in human resource management. I have applied anthropology to study organizational culture, human and technology interaction, cultural differences, and end-user experience. I have been more than happy to see how my unique educational background, fresh ideas, and different perspectives have been listened to, appreciated, and thought through at Valmet. 


My job at Valmet has included various projects from all HR teams, such as reorganizing and designing Valmet's internal websites and rethinking the ways to promote recognition and rewarding culture. I have also taken part in Valmet’s HR system’s data maintenance tasks and creating training videos for the personnel. I was also able to conduct similar research to my master's thesis remotely in Shanghai and Wuxi, China, to compare the practices of two different cultures from a change management perspective. Throughout this project, I have learned a lot about ways to manage and lead change, cultural differences, and how we can transnationally share information and learn from each other.


In general, my internship at Valmet has supported the emergence of intercultural understanding and provided sociocultural capabilities. I feel that I have developed my cooperation and communication skills and the ability to adapt to different situations and changes. The internship has also strengthened my sense of responsibility and decision-making, as my work was very independent. 


I have been pleased to see that the values of Valmet are visible in everyday work. I have taken part in multiple brainstorming sessions, where together with colleagues from different HR teams and different locations, we have thought of ways to do things more efficiently and improve. I have gotten inspired by Valmet's way of taking steps to go forward, learn, and change for the better. My biggest realization over the summer has been that the value a new and unknowing employee brings to a company can be great, as he/she observes work habits and behavior from a new perspective. When getting to know the company's values, processes, and practices, it's good to bring out your views and ask lots of questions.


My most significant achievement during the summer has been putting the emerging development ideas open-mindedly and bravely into practice. I have also learned that if and when you come across a problem just ask. There are no stupid questions, and people are always ready to help you out. I would highly recommend internship at Valmet for anyone. I now feel much more aware of the organizational environment that I desire to work in, the work tasks that motivate me, and the areas I want to develop. I feel extensively more inspired to learn new things and take the next steps in my career.


Best regards,
Ira Paavola

HR-Trainee, Espoo