New visitor record: Key topic “Work 4.0 – The Employee Experience” well received


  • Outstanding result: 16,940 visitors came to see 732 exhibitors at the exhibition Zukunft Personal
  • Successful concepts of “Workplace of the Future”, “Start-up Village” and “Blogger Lounge” will be developed further

The exhibition Zukunft Personal ended last week with a new visitor record: 16,940 human resource professionals, managers and staff working in human resource departments came to Cologne over the three days of the exhibition, 11 percent more than the previous year. All the important performance indicators – exhibitors, exhibition space and visitors – therefore achieved double-digit growth. New features such as “Workplace of the Future” were extremely well received by human resource experts.

The increase to 732 exhibitors was a major coup for the Zukunft Personal even before the exhibition started. Then Europe’s largest exhibition for human resource management topped even that achievement with a new visitor record. “Our new, innovation-oriented strategy has helped us to convince not only new customers but also previous exhibitors, returners and numerous start-ups. The large number of topics and products presented and the exhibition motto “Work 4.0 – The Employee Experience” all went down very well with the visitors,” said Ralf Hocke, Managing Director of spring Messe Management, the organiser of Zukunft Personal, as he commented on the results.

More international than ever

The exhibition was more international than ever this year with 100 exhibitors having their headquarters abroad. A surge in internationalisation was provided among other exhibitors by a joint stand of Philippine human resource service providers from PASEI, the Philippine Association of Service Exporters.

The concept of the new special display area “Workplace of the Future“ also worked well: “The visitors were magically drawn into the Workplace of the Future and could really imagine what the future of the working world would be like. The guides showed you round the display area completely according to your needs,” said talent finder Barbara Braehmer who contributed to the new display with her company “Intercessio”. “I can only praise the HCD Planungsgesellschaft who designed the Workplace of the Future concept! The experiment was a huge success,” continued the active sourcing expert and blogger. “We are absolutely convinced that the new exhibition area is a good idea and totally relevant for the development of the Zukunft Personal. We will be developing it and extending it further next year,” added Ralf Hocke.

Top speakers were continually coming and going

To give visitors a better overview of the four exhibition halls and the programme on 15 stages, the exhibition organiser directed attention to the respective focus of each hall and offered guided tours to the focal points of each hall for the first time. Human resource experts were continually coming and going over the three days of the exhibition – such as the top manager Thomas Sattelberger, IBM Managing Director Norbert Janzen and management thought leader Gunter Dueck.

The newly designed Keynote Arena with live translation provided 350 seats and radiated an intensive congress atmosphere from the heart of the exhibition. At the opening of the exhibition, Frank Riemensperger, member of the executive board at Bitkom and Senior Managing Director of the Accenture country group Germany, Austria and Switzerland spoke about the changes occurring as a result of Work 4.0. At the conclusion of the opening ceremony, a speech was given by Anette Kramme, Parliamentary State Secretary for the Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS).

Start-up Village is a new hot spot

The Start-up Village with 49 start-ups had almost twice as many stands as the previous year. The Zukunft Personal had a total of 57 start-ups exhibiting throughout the exhibition, presenting more than half the HR start-ups in Germany. The human resource management entrepreneurs were able to present their services on their own stage, the Start-up Stage, in 15-minute slots. A brand new feature was the Founders Fight: two start-ups competed against each other at a time and presented their products over five rounds. Under the eyes of Jan C. Küster from the Founders Fight Club who kept a strict eye on the speaking time, the participants got straight to the point in a playful way, using reasoned arguments on the stage designed like a boxing ring. A jury consisting of human resource experts and journalists asked critical questions and chose the winner. In the final round of the best “fighters”, Rainer Weckbach from “get in IT”, a recruiting portal for young IT talent, came out on top against Alexander von Müller from the mobile recruitment platform “HeyJobs”.

Another major attraction in the Start-up Village was the Blogger Lounge which had been extended significantly since it was first introduced in 2015. This diverse and colourful scene which is part of the innovative spearhead of human resource management, allowed the presentation of topics to the general public in “meet-the-blogger sessions” and prompted immediate discussions. “The great success of these concepts showed that both the Start-up Village and the Blogger Lounge are now an integral part of the exhibition and offer a great deal of potential for the future,” said exhibition organiser Ralf Hocke.

Exhibition is a platform for new products

The exhibitors increasingly used the Zukunft Personal to present their new products and services. This was encouraged by the exhibition organiser in the form of the new “HR Innovation Award” which was very well received at the start of the exhibition. The companies making it to the winner’s rostrum were the talent acquisition-search algorithm company “Talentwunder”, the matching platform for employers and applicants, “Talents Connect”, the business school programme “GMP+” which includes the establishment of a social enterprise, and the lunch allowance app, “Lunchit”.

However, it wasn’t just the category winners that swept the boards, all the finalists benefited too. “Taking part in this competition was very worthwhile for us even if we did not secure the pole position in the end. Several companies contacted us even before the exhibition because they had looked up who the finalists were,” said Jana Tepe from the job-sharing platform “Tandemploy” which was a finalist in the Software & Hardware category.

Exhibitors convinced of the value of Zukunft Personal 2016

“It was incredible. The exhibition was a major success – the “Indeed Deutschland” stand was packed but the exhibition as a whole was very well attended. Feedback from all customers was very positive. I am really impressed – it was a fantastic exhibition,” said Michaela Rich, National Account Manager at the job search engine “Indeed” on the third day of the exhibition.

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