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In recognition of Global Exhibitions Day 2018 and its theme of attracting the right talent to the industry, Informa Exhibitions addresses why attracting, developing and retaining talent is a key business objective.
Valuable interactions and connections with customers lie at the heart of the exhibitions industry, and providing attendees and exhibitors with the best experience possible at every stage of their customer journey – before, during and after the event – is critical to our success as a business.
While leveraging new technologies will continue to be essential to creating enhanced experiences and therefore value for our customers, equally as important is our ability to attract and develop talent from within our business to support a more effective engagement with our customers. This requires building valuable interactions with our colleagues as much as our customers and providing our colleagues with the tools necessary to succeed.
People behind the brand
Our industry’s competition for the best colleagues is only increasing as the industry itself grows and extends its reach into new markets. According to UFI, the organization heading up Global Exhibitions Day (#GED18), in 2017 the global exhibitions industry directly provided some 680,000 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs. Considering the exhibitions industry’s impact on other ‘tourism related’ activities, i.e. transport, accommodation, food and beverage, etc., some 1.8 million FTE jobs were created or maintained in total.
It’s a given that our colleagues are truly ‘the people behind the brand.’ Looking at it that way, it’s clear that encouraging, supporting and challenging colleagues to develop and succeed in their individual career paths must be a critical business initiative for any global exhibitions company that genuinely wants to succeed across many different markets and segments. By supporting collaboration, innovation and excellence internally, we are strengthening our position in our target markets to serve and provide value to our audiences.
What our colleagues want (and need)
The onus is on us as a business to consistently challenge ourselves to find ways to improve our activities and market impact, while building the capacity for future expansion. It’s clear that understanding what our colleagues want is essential when looking to expand our capabilities in the exhibitions industry.
At Informa Exhibitions, we are committed to listening and responding to our colleagues’ feedback. In an internal survey of our colleagues which took place last year, for example, our colleagues actively requested continued investment in colleague development, technology, marketing and product and services to sell. As a result of these findings, we are actively striving to:
• embrace a new learning and development strategy, designed to offer colleagues a well-defined pathway to progress and succeed
• continue to provide access to new technologies such as MarkitMakr, enabling colleagues to boost their sales productivity create targeted marketing campaigns and enhance on-site experience
• ensure we have the scope and ability to adapt to our continued growth and innovation into new markets and verticals, while strengthening our presence in those in which we currently do business
The process of helping to develop our colleagues needs to be an ongoing activity that is both tangible and credible to them and relevant to their future career paths as much as their daily work life. That’s why, in 2018, Informa Exhibitions is aiming to get as many of our colleagues as possible developing pertinent skills with our GE Learning strategy, which has been specially designed to empower colleagues with the knowledge they need to develop both personally and professionally.
If the exhibitions industry can get the ‘colleague connection’ right, we can rest assured that we can get the ‘customer connection’ right as well.