The events industry is a people business. That means, as we continue to grow, we must constantly strive to identify, attract, recruit, develop and retain top talent. We do not necessarily seek people with the most experience, but rather those with the greatest potential. Talent that is committed to excellence, passionate, ambitious and dynamic. To thrive at Easyfairs, what really counts is an agile mindset.
When it comes to management, we seek to attract people with all of these attributes but also with relevant experience and deep knowledge of the events industry or the industries and communities we serve. Ideally, both.
We are also committed to a policy of diversity: all talent is welcome, regardless of age, gender, national, religious or cultural heritage, or sexual orientation. Most of all, we are a multinational and multilingual company. We have at least 28 different nationalities working at Easyfairs. Diversity is not just the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense.
What matters is not who you are or where you come from but your understanding of and ability to live according to our mission and vision, as well as your alignment to our values: integrity, creative intrapreneurship, being results-driven and having fun.
Integrity means we can be relied upon to do the right thing in a spirit of honesty and fairness. And always with an OOO attitude. OOO stands for Objectivity, Open-mindedness and Optimism. We welcome and encourage new ideas, judge them based on objective data, without prejudice or preconceived notions, and respond positively whenever our own ideas are tested. We are not afraid of failure; we maintain a spirit of optimism even if we suffer a setback. We firmly believe, in Winston Churchill’s words, “ Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
By “creative intrapreneurship” we mean the ability to act as an entrepreneur within our organisation. A Head of Region or Cluster, for example, has a role similar to the entrepreneurial CEO of a mid-sized company in its own right, in charge of the P&L, people management, commercialisation, communication and last but not least, celebrating success.
Giving responsible people ownership accelerates decision making and gives us the extra agility needed by a disrupter. Intrapreneurship also fosters a spirit of friendly competition within the organisation. Successes are not only celebrated but shared to promote best practice.
When we say we are “results driven” that does not mean we are obsessed with short-term financial or non-financial outcomes. On the contrary, as a privately owned company with an entrepreneurial culture, we are able to see the bigger picture and take a long-term view. Financial success comes as a consequence of doing things in the right way, and – importantly – that includes having fun.
Our talent strategy
We have implemented a comprehensive talent strategy and detailed methodology comprising five dimensions:
talent attraction, talent management, talent development, talent rewarding, and engagement & retention of talent.
To attract and recruit the best professionals on the market, reduce hiring costs and enhance marketing efforts, we have taken multiple initiatives to grow our employer brand. Why? Because independent market research tells us that top talents are on the market for just ten days – so we must grab their attention. The many accolades we have received over the past years – notably Enterprise of the Year, Best Managed Company and the Great Place to Work award have all recognised our proven accomplishments and our determination to be an outstanding employer. At the same time, we are investing heavily in video production, social media, job boards and content management systems to boost our visibility and broaden our reach.
In particular, we have broadened the channels we use to identify candidates with strong potential among millennials and recent graduates, to help us address the future. Our Traineeships and Young Graduates Programme are excellent levers for recruiting the best of the new generation. Recruitment and onboarding processes in turn have a major impact on our employer brand, so we have made these systematic, transparent and equal to all candidates and starters.
Our talent management framework is a comprehensive methodology, supported by the appropriate tools, to execute and monitor the fundamental building blocks of talent management: organisational design; competence, performance and talent audit; resource & succession planning and reward audits. It enables us to define clear roles, give employees smart objectives, assess performance against those objectives, plan our succession strategy and identify our future talent pool.
Like everything else at Easyfairs, talent management is increasingly data-driven, because this easifies things for our team members and turns line managers into true talent leaders. The Easyfairs talent management framework is a complete and fully digitalised talent management toolkit encapsulated in one single, objective and transparent ecosystem, available for everyone to use.
We want to develop all of our employees to their full potential. Development is a progressive and continuous process allowing talents to expand their capacity to create value and grow. Here too we have a framework (the C’s Diagnosis, based on the C Success Factors to achieve our mission to visit the future) to enable team members to identify their strengths and weaknesses, support them in capitalising on existing skills and capabilities, and develop Personal Development Plans to take them to the next level. Those PDPs are supported by a wide variety of programmes and initiatives: The Academy, Easyfairs-to-Easyfairs coaching and mentoring, external training and Horizon.
Horizon is the Easyfairs in-company exchange programme. It offers team members a unique opportunity to broaden their scope and get a fresh perspective on professional challenges while also getting a flavour of the cultural differences in another office.
We have a structured approach to compensation and benefits. Objective, equitable and gender neutral. We want to make Easyfairs a highly rewarding company to work for!
Our results-oriented compensation scheme is based on role profiles, which we regularly audit and harmonise. We also offer a number of benefits linked to those role profiles, which we make transparent to all team members.
To this end, we use a number of methodologies and tools in order to guarantee competitive and structured salaries against the market offer, aiming for regular and deserved pay rises based on objective criteria, driven by performance, competence and talent. To incentivise our team members on organisational success, we have a fair and motivational commission system to reward our salespeople, as well as a long-term incentive plan to reward our executives for achievement of the company’s strategic objectives.
Talent Engagement & Retention
However, staff retention is about more than financial compensation. Far more. Non-financial incentives inspire and engage employees in ways that money is incapable of doing. Therefore, we continue our efforts to develop a culture where accomplishments and successes are showcased, celebrated and recognised!
We also believe that the physical environment has a huge influence on people’s ability to live by Easyfairs values and feel motivated. We have therefore worked hard to create inspirational workspaces with cool and inviting offices: this was another great lesson we picked up on our trip to San Francisco visiting companies like Google. Over the past two years we have refurbished our offices in Brussels, Namur, Antwerp, London, Madrid and Gothenburg.
Talent will be a top priority over the next few years at Easyfairs. We have already come a long way.
A constant learning
Easyfairs seeks to bring talents to their full potential through a comprehensive programme of constant learning opportunities. We follow a blended learning approach mixing face-to-face training and the latest e-learning technologies. Face-to-face learning includes the Academy Summit for the Senior Leadership Team, role-based Academy Days, and the Academy Sessions, which are regular learning initiatives at regional level. E-learning modules provide role and seniority-based learning paths for event managers, salespeople, marketers, operations managers, newcomers and so forth.
Learning is based on our unique, proprietary competence model, the C Success Factors: the core competences that we have identified as necessary to shape visit the future events and venues. There are altogether more than 50 learning paths to accompany each of our team members in a particular competence or subject matter.
We have invested in the facilities to support constant learning, including a permanent recording studio to create our own e-learning modules in a very fast and efficient way that every single employee can access any place, any time.
“More than any other industry you can mention, the events business is a ‘people business’. So talent management is vitally important. We believe that talent-centricity is at the root of customer-centricity, whereby great employee experience drives great customer experience.”
Group Chief Operating Officer