Established in 2021, the Young Professional (YP) Program is a community established especially for Baswareans in their 1st or 2nd full-time job. Young professionals looking for growth, challenge and have the desire to progress both professionally and personally early in their careers. The program offers young professionals the opportunity to connect with other colleagues also in the early stages of their careers, provide support for each other, and expand their network within the organization. We caught up with Linda Hentzepeter, the driving force behind the program at Basware, to explain how this program got off the ground.
Tell us about the Basware Young Professionals (YP) Program?
It's for young professionals that are looking for growth, challenge, and have the desire to develop both professionally and personally. We felt it was important to provide a place where people interested to connect with other YPs, that is people that are in the same early stages of their career, can support each other at different levels and expand their network within the organization.
What inspired you to set the program up within Basware?
I am the only full-time employee under 30 in the Dutch office. I missed interacting and connecting with other colleagues in the same career and life stage. Before Basware, I attended a business school and lived in a facility with 200+ international students. We constantly talked about our personal and professional development, challenged each other, and learned a lot by sharing experiences. To name a few: how to prepare for a presentation, how to build your network, push your boundaries and become the best version of yourself.
We tend to experience different questions and topics than our colleagues in a further life stage, so having a group to discuss these topics with is very helpful. According to psychologist Carol Dweck, an organization with a growth mindset has a leadership philosophy and young talent management in place. To cite Nelson Mandela, ‘the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow’.
What kind of topics have been discussed and raised within the program? Are there certain topics that the YPs are especially keen on learning more/developing/changing?
We’ve asked for input from the community and topics around career path and development were the most popular answers. Especially to the YPs, the organisational structure is often unclear and what departments/functions exist, so understanding the next steps in their career path is a topic of interest.
The inspirational sessions are organized on a monthly cadence with various topics. We’ve launched an interview on the topic of career path, a Q&A session around career development with our CPO Perttu Nihti, and financial training on the foundation of finance. We’ve had a session around cultural differences, how to effectively work with different cultures in a global organization like Basware. The latest session was around preparing for your performance review – how to get the most out of it and what is your manager expecting?
What kind of results have you seen so far? Any feedback from other colleagues about the program?
So far, the feedback has been great. Like setting up every new program or organization, it is trial and error. Some sessions were more effective and successful compared to others, some had over 40 people joining and others only 10. We are still in the learning phase, so are adjusting as we go to ensure that we continue to grow and mature the program.
Some great things I’ve already seen is YPs reaching out to each other to have a cup of coffee to discuss what’s on their mind and help each other with certain issues. That makes me extremely happy, especially during this pandemic where everyone was/is isolated a lot more than in pre-pandemic times. Isolation has a significant impact on career development, especially for YPs just getting started in the workforce. I recently read in Bloomberg research that younger staff feel anxious about the lack of training and that there are growing concerns that they’ll miss out on career opportunities. We hope this community can help close that gap and give confidence to our valued employees.
What do you envision for the future of the program?
I envision support from across the organization, where everyone understands the importance of having such a program. By support, I mean colleagues that initiate topics themselves, as we have so many experts within Basware that have inspiring stories, that our YPs could benefit from each hosted session. I envision the program becoming part of the onboarding plan for new employees. Then, eventually budgeting for external speakers and participating in training outside of Basware.