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Summer party for newcomers and buddies was all about sharing onboarding experiences and solving escape rooms challenges

According to Ozias Hounkpatin, it was very cold outside when he arrived in Finland, but thanks to the onboarding activities, he was feeling very warm inside. Read other newcomer and buddy experiences.
Buddy Summer Party 2023, photo by Oona Hilli
‘It was very cold outside when I arrived, but I was feeling very warm inside’, Ozias Hounkpatin says. Photo: Oona Hilli.

An Aalto 'buddy' is a new employee’s colleague who supports them settling into Aalto. The first-ever summer party for newcomers and buddies took place on June 6 at the Trap Factory. All the newcomers of 2022 and their buddies were invited, and around 50 attended the event. They shared their experiences via informal talks and feedback stations.

According to the feedback, the buddy program can help a new employee make friends during the first months at Aalto. Among other things, the Finnish weather might be challenging for many newcomers. Ozias Hounkpatin, a postdoctoral researcherat the Department of Built Environment, was told that staff scientist Mika Jalava will show him around. 

‘It was very cold outside when I arrived, but I was feeling very warm inside’, Hounkpatin says.

Anya Siddigi, lecturer in the Language Centre, thinks that the buddy programme can make you feel like you are part of the organization. Sophia Hagolani-Albov, Coordinator of Sustainability Science Days working in leadership support services, found her buddy to be "maybe the best in the history of onboarding buddies", helping her to get to know the sometimes confusing but lovely organisational culture of Aalto. And Minna-Kaarina Forssén, a senior manager for Unite!, got the feeling that she really belongs to the team.

Buddy Party 2023, photo by Oona Hilli.
From left: Heidi Henrickson, Juhani Lehtinen, Anya Siddiqi, Sophia Hagolani-Albov, Pattanun Chanpiwat and Nicoletta Michieletto. Photo: Oona Hilli.

Pattanun Chanpiwat, doctoral researcher at the Department of Mathematics and Systems Analysis, came to Aalto from Thailand. His buddy was Muhammad Ardiyansyah, a doctoral researcher in the same department.

‘I had a Zoom call before coming to Aalto. Everything went smoothly. I even got help with organizing daycare for our children. In addition to my onboarding buddy, Johanna Glader, our HR, was very helpful.’

Sometimes a newcomer and a buddy will become friends. This maybe happened at the School of Science, where Nicoletta Michieletto took the role of a buddy, and welcomed a newcomer, Juhani Lehtinen to the school’s own event team.

‘We’re a perfect match, I’m the control freak and Giovanni – as I call Juhani – is the chill person’, Michioletto says. 

The event was organized by HRD specialist Mari Kaarni, who is responsible for the buddy program, Networking Platform Manager Heidi Henrickson, and Hanna-Mari Ylinen, a communications and events. The news article was coordinator for the platform, and the .Photos for the article were taken by a newcomer, Oona Hilli, a communications trainee in the School of Science, and the news article was written by a ‘buddy’, Tiina Aulanko-Jokirinne. All the feedback gathered will be considered in the development of the program.

See the photo gallery

    Onboarding buddy kesäjuhlat

    The event was held in Trap Factory.

    Onboarding buddy kesäjuhlat

    The participants had a chance to meet other new employees and buddies.

    Onboarding buddy kesäjuhlat

    Mari Kaarni, in charge of the onboarding buddy programme, welcomed everyone to the event.

    Onboarding buddy kesäjuhlat

    The escape room challenges are about to start!

    Onboarding buddy kesäjuhlat

    Hot dogs and refreshments were served after the escape rooms challenges.

    Contact information:

    Mari Kaarni

    Mari Kaarni

    HRD Specialist, Talent Acquisition

    An onboarding buddy helps with a smooth start

    The 'buddy' is a new employee’s colleague who supports her or him in settling into the workplace and working culture.

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