Ülemiste City, home to many ICT companies, hosted the first human resource management hackathon in Estonia with the goal to develop novel solutions in HR management.
The event was organised by Estonian Human Resource Management Association PARE and Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences.
Margus Nõlvak, chairman of the board at Mainor Ülemiste and member of the hackathon jury, said the idea was exciting. “Hackathons are usually associated with IT and tech companies and technical solutions. It’s the first time in Estonia that we are solving the challenges of leadership and work happiness,” he noted.
Talent management has not yet been the focus of such innovative problem-solving methods, so Ülemiste City decided to accept the challenge. “I believe that the companies whose problems were analysed got a lot out of it. Possible solutions presented at the hackathon are only the tip of the iceberg. The companies that participated in the hackathon got a lot of new ideas on which issues to address first and where the company’s real root problems lie,” Nõlvak explained at the end of the hackathon.
The list of companies whose HR issues were addressed at the hackathon included ABB, Tallinn City Government, Aktors, G4S, Nortal, Admiral Markets and the Emergency Response Center. New ideas in recruitment, employee retention and motivation were generated by students in HR and Business Administration, but also in the fields of marketing, design and IT.
How to link a business campus and a university?
One task for the hackathon was assigned by Ülemiste City itself: how to effectively match higher education students with the companies located at Ülemiste City. Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences, located at Ülemiste City, teaches 1,500 students and more than 400 companies operate at Ülemiste City.
“We are actually dealing with this issue on a day to day basis. We are always looking for good people. Students are looking for a good employer and at the same time employers are looking for talents,” explained Nõlvak.
As a solution to this challenge BridgeU application concept was developed, matching students with employers. „I really hope that the application will be further developed and implemented,“ Nõlvak said. „This service could be made available on the campus so that employers could easily access young talent who could join the campus for internship and even work,“ he noted.
Another jury member Kai Realo, who is also the chairman of the council of Employers’ Confederation and Cirkle K, said the BridgeU application made her wonder why such a solution hasn’t seen the light of day yet, since all kinds of applications already exist in the world.
Some of the ideas got already developed into real products at the hackathon and went straight into use (e.g. digital questionnaire to simplify the recruitment recommendation process for ABB) or will be put to use in the near future (e.g. virtual first aid kit for mental health for the Emergency Response Center).
„The hackathon provided these organizations with practical solutions or a line of action to improve the quality of people management,“ said Kärt Kinnas, co-organizer of the hackathon and head of PARE.
She added that both the university and Ülemiste City are excellent cooperation partners to PARE who helped implement the hackathon and provided support in everything PARE lacked in skills or resources. “Not to mention the ideal synergetic environment that brings together the educational institution and companies,” said Kinnas.
Greater focus on community events
Karin Kuimet, head of HR at EUAS and co-organizer of the hackathon, noted that students and volunteers who attended the two-day event learned many exciting and useful things. „There was real intensity in the way that the teams worked and the judges and mentors were the best in Estonia,“ she explained.
In addition to the HR management hackathon, in late January the Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences also held a global development week for game designers and creators. According to Margus Nõlvak, Ülemiste City is looking to improve various aspects of its environment by increasing involvement of its community.
Ülemiste City is also hosting a club for HR business executives at Ülemiste City. The Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences has an employer-related scholarship program, and for the fifth time already on February 20th students will be job shadowing at the companies hosted by Ülemiste City.