The HR function for the exhibition industry


Posted by

Barry Siskind

UFI’s Community Manager

After twenty years in HR with Microsoft (France), Rozenn Le Berre switched her focus  from high tech to exhibitions and took a position with Comexposium.  Rozenn will be joining many of her exhibition industry HR colleages on December 10 at UFI’s first meeting exclusively for HR professionals. I was interested in uncovering some of the challenges that HR professionals in our industry face and what Rozenn hopes to learn. Here is part of our conversation:

1. What are the noticeable differences in working for Comexposium  compared with  Microsoft?

As I am now working in the exhibition industry, I feel that from a people management perspective, things in the exhibition industry are more complex. Every event has a particular identity due to its employees and their involvement in it. You really have to anticipate, train people to become versatile and constantly question their job, their performance and succession plans. Every day I am amazed by the energy and the passion of these employees who are highly dedicated to their job! It’s very unique and astonishing.

The exhibition industry appears to be questioning itself more and more on how it will continue to develop in the future. It’s a great challenge for an HR Manager to support business in this context. Today the sector must have a Human Resources approach and strategy which will allow it to be extremely flexible and versatile and adapt itself as much as possible as a major business accelerator.

2. What are some of the daily challenges and opportunities you face as a HR Manager?

In my opinion, HR issues in this historically very old and established business have been overlooked and not identified as business accelerators or supported by a global strategy. I do not have a great deal of knowledge about our competitors or other companies in the global exhibition market place, but it would appear that because of the economic context, competition is more and more fierce and HR is becoming a vital area within the global business strategy.

Moreover, I was very surprised to see how restricted this market can be: most people seem to spend their entire career in the same industry. One of our challenges is to be able to be more diverse and mix different profiles of people coming from within and outside the industry.

For example, at Comexposium, we put a change management program in place for two years to improve management skills and versatility, to develop a more performance – orientated culture and to include the HR policy.

3. It is often said that one excellent idea makes attending a meeting worthwhile. What is the one issue you are wrestling with that you hope will be addressed at the HR Manager’s meeting?

For me, this meeting is an opportunity to exchange views with other HR managers in this business and share our own issues and best practices. As a relative newcomer with only two year’s experience in this industry, I just want to hear the issues that other HR managers have faced and opportunities which they have taken advantage of. I am delighted that UFI is focusing on human resources, as it can make a difference in terms of development and leadership on a world level. Above all, our job is to manage talents!

There is still time to register. Check out the agenda here:

www.ufi.org/hrnetwork

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