The people implications of the pop-up business

The people implications of the pop-up business

Pop-up shops have evolved in recent years to become a mainstream phenomenon.


Partner, People Powered Performance

KPMG in the UK


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Pop-up shops have evolved in recent years to become a mainstream phenomenon. They take the form of everything from a restaurant which appears in a disused high street shop, to an art gallery temporarily occupying an empty warehouse space – but right from the start they’re all designed to be temporary.

Many global brands are also happy to ‘pop up’, whether in a shopping centre or somewhere less familiar. It’s a good format to create some excitement, and technology, particularly in the form of social media which can play a critical role in getting the word out.

The pop-up concept is very appealing. If you take it a step further, I think established businesses in many sectors are going to increasingly find themselves facing pop-up competitors – businesses which grow phenomenally quickly but disappear just as fast. Similarly, more businesses may find themselves following this lifecycle.

At the heart of such a business is likely to be a dynamic, charismatic leader or leaders with a vision of the direction the business should take. Regardless of whether this leader moves on to their next pop-up challenge or remains to help the business grow, retaining staff to continue a business’ success remains a challenge.

There is of course the expectation that businesses typically want to continue to grow bigger and bigger – but if there are more businesses which follow a much shorter lifecycle, the whole approach to getting the most from a workforce could be very different.

For example, this could include ensuring that the approach to staff engagement and reward reflects the expected shorter lifecycle of the business. Similarly, roles and responsibilities may be defined and assessed differently to help staff be more flexible and better able to support the planned rapid growth and decline phases.

The big people agenda challenges will still include the likes of workforce engagement, efficiency, compliance, and agility, but responses will need to be carefully tailored in order to get the most from a workforce.

This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

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