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The 2018 HR Innovation Award – Outstanding solutions for the Future of Work

HR Innovation Award 2018

Photo: Zukunft Personal Europe

The pursuit of innovation is a key factor in competitiveness. In September 2018, we attended the HR Innovation Award Ceremony of the Zukunft Personal Europe which was the official opening of the EU level event. It was one of the most attended and inspirational sessions of the 3-days-long conference and expo, where HR newcomers and more established businesses got recognized for their product and service developments. Over the course of the last years, innovation in HR has become crucially important. It refers to an imaginative way of dealing with change, translated into actual implementation. It’s about generating new ideas, carrying out research and development, improving processes or renewing products and services.

At the ceremony, we got to know the 7 winners – in the categories of Startups and Established Companies – out of the 24 finalists (from 114 submitted applications) and in the following article, our goal is to share their cutting-edge concepts with you.

“HR can be innovative! The entrepreneurs, decision-makers and influencers of the HR industry prove this every year when they send in their submissions for the HR Innovation Award! Fresh thinking, new approaches and interdisciplinary collaboration are all key to developing sustainable innovations.” – Prof. Dr Stephan Fischer, Chairman of the HR Innovation Award Jury


Introduced for the very first time in the HR Innovation Award, this special category recognised human-centred solutions that combine technology expertise with industry insight in order to transform businesses. The winner of this segment in the Startup category, Instahelp, has managed to perfectly realize this concept by extending and revolutionizing the psychological counselling service. Instahelp offers simplified online psychological counselling via video, audio and text chat for those who seek help. By providing anonymous advice through online devices the company provides a simple, low-threshold and timely approach, bypassing some of the most possible employee concerns, such as the fear of stigmatization at the workplace.

In the category of Grownups, SAP, the internationally beckoned software corporation, took home the recognition. With its well-timed product launch, SuccessFactors Work-Life, a tool that helps to operationalise the culture of well-being, SAP was one of the final favourites of this category. Inspired and driven by the motto of the company, “our purpose is to help the world run better and improve people’s lives”, the developers of the SAP team, with this new product, aimed at coming up with a solution that provides employees with the possibility to access the resources they need to change behaviours and achieve their own peak performance. Used transversally and openly at organisations, employees should experience an increased level of work-life balance and improved engagement. On the other side, the SuccessFactors Work-Life provides managers and leaders with real-time visibility in terms of what’s working and what’s not with their employees.

Even though we live in a VUCA world we still believe that the human aspect remains the most important one of Human Resource Management. As more and more international research evidence highlights that a workforce that is not properly cared about will eventually drop its productivity, solutions, such as the above-introduced ones, are going to become even more important in the future to reduce the stress level of employees, as well as improve their overall wellbeing.

“Companies have to be open and offer both physical and psychological support to their employees.” – Johannes Fell, International Sales Manager of Instahelp, winner of the HR Transformation & Consulting, category Startups

Even though we live in a VUCA world we still believe that the human aspect remains the most important one of Human Resource Management. Click To Tweet


How can you identify hidden jewels and potentials inside any businesses using data? The winner of the Startup category in HR Software and Hardware, HRForecast, with its innovative solution, answers precisely this question. Its data-driven solution permits HR managers with improved and more strategic decisions through the analysing of millions of job postings, statistics and other sources so to define tomorrow’s skills and job profile. Impressive, it is.

The number one solution provider in the Grownup category was SSZ Beratung. Similarly to HRForecast, the services of SSZ Beratung, the leading German consulting firm for working hours and personnel planning, aim at advancing workforce management across all sectors and sizes.

Advances in the area of HR software and hardware have transformed the way organisations run as a whole. The above-introduced forefront companies offer a holistic approach to workforce management and solve issues relating to working time and workforce planning. They can also influence the dynamics of companies and make them better prepared for future challenges.

Advances in the area of HR software and hardware have transformed the way organisations run as a whole. Click To Tweet


With digitalisation, learning has become more accessible over the last years, also, training can now be taken at a personalised pace and time. The announced winner of the Startup category for the 2018 HR Innovation Award was Stackfuel GmbH, a Berlin-based company that provides online data learning for professionals. Stackfuel’s ambitious mission is to make organisations a home for data professionals, therefore it equips workforces to drive innovation and embrace the benefits of data science, by providing employees with skills-based training that covers the latest technologies and practices.

The number one Grownup in Training and Learning is WBS Akademie. The training company provides seminars for companies and professionals with a very wide range of subjects from automation technology, marketing, IT to languages or stress management. One of the key innovative services of WBA Akademie, next to its in-house training, forums or online discussion solutions, is its 3D seminars and events. Users are assigned to personal avatars that permit them to directly exchange with other participants regardless of their actual location.

Corporate training and learning are both important topics in employee engagement and in the management of a qualified workforce as a whole. In today’s world of change – as our workforce is becoming more mobile, diverse, and spread across remote locations – modern working methods and corporate digitalization allow companies to be optimally prepared in their transformation process.


Recruiting the best and most qualified talent has become a key area for organisations, so do HR departments try to use the latest available technologies to attract, hire, and retain an outstanding workforce for their companies. The winner of this year’s HR Innovation Award in the category of Startups was Jobpal, a Berlin-based technology company that builds AI-powered chatbots that automate the communication between employers and candidates.

Recent challenges in the hiring and retention of talent have prompted many organisations to seek and adopt creative hiring and talent management strategies. Following this tendency what we observe is that the recruiting industry is changing as well, as more and more innovative solutions support the selecting process.

Recruiting the best and most qualified talent has become a key area for organisations, so do HR departments try to use the latest available technologies to attract, hire, and retain an outstanding workforce for their companies. Click To Tweet

“The digital transformation affects all internal and external products and processes. It also impacts the corporate culture, leadership and the way we work together. In the end, it’s a huge management project and this can only succeed if the HR managers make it in collaboration with other areas. Ultimately, it’s about taking people with them.”  – Ralf Hocke, CEO of Spring Messe Management GMbH

Innovation has developed into a key cornerstone in the HR industry, on which companies are now building their future. So do the main goal of the HR Innovation Award is to identify, recognize and reward exceptional contributions to the HR sector. We feel also passionate about the solutions of state-of-the-art companies and their work in how they move ideas from concept to reality. Even though the Zukunft Personal Europe 2018 has closed its doors in September, we’ll keep an eye for you on the above-introduced award winners and be back with some news next year on what has changed for them thanks to this prestigious recognition.

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