Staffing pop-up locations

With the proliferation of pop-up stores around the country, it only makes sense that companies would begin to evaluate the kinds of staffing needed for these temporary retail environments. After all, personnel well-suited to a permanent store may not be the best fit for a pop-up.

According to Headway Workforce Solutions, a workforce solutions provider based in Raleigh, N.C., it can be challenging to source appropriate candidates for pop-up locations, over traditional stores, mostly because the pop-up generally operates only for a limited duration. In other words, many candidates might not apply, may self-select out of these types of opportunities, or simply apply to more full-time positions, knowing that these jobs are potentially for a limited employment engagement. 

Many retailers are not fully prepared to identify, source, attract and properly screen for workers that appreciate and embrace the limited duration nature of a pop-up location. Their recruitment and staffing selection processes are, many times, geared more to longer-term positions for on-going retail locations.

“Additionally, there are times when the mission and brand goal of a pop-up location is different than that of retailer’s regular brand, and, as a result, the particular candidate skills required for the pop-up operations goals do not align with their more traditional candidate profile, experience, skill attributes,” explained J.P. Sakey, president and CEO of Headway Workforce Solutions, and formerly head of NA.

There are any number of differences that can affect the recruitment and selection process of candidates and whether or not a retailer is set up to recruit for these differences is something important to consider, Sakey said. These include differences in the merchandising mix at the pop-up versus the regular store, as well as changes in product and operational requirements as compared to the regular store configuration. Differences in proficiency for product demonstrations for the pop-up compared to the store locations also needs to be factored into the equation.

Following are some areas in which pop-up staffing differs from traditional staffing.

  • With a pop-up, you’re usually hiring to a firm/critical deadline or location opening date, as opposed to ongoing staffing/recruiting needs at a permanent retail location.  
  • With a pop-up, a retailer needs a database of established candidates who present flexible, part-time, project-based retail-based work experience, skills and availability.
  • Because of the quick timing of pop-ups, a retailer needs to have online electronic on-boarding (I-9’s, New hire documentation/forms) processes and systems in place. “Being able to quickly, efficiently and seamlessly on-board pop-up workers is a critical piece to the puzzle for these types of workers,” said Sakey.

Having a proven and tested recruitment program for pop-up candidates is essential for being able to find, target, attract, recruit, screen and hire this type of worker, according to Sakey.

“In a pop-up environment, many retailers are not set up on the human-resource side of their business to handle the hiring process,” said Sakey. “The talent on the sales floor for these initiatives, in many ways, is the last key link in the supply chain, and totally impacts a retailer’s service delivery, customer engagement and sales results.”

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