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How's COVID going for you?

I know, what a freaking mess. Nice post by Paul Hebert today over at Fistful of Talent, who's Gostalking about the need for HR Pros to become polymaths, individuals whose knowledge spans a significant number of subjects, known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems. 

Sounds a lot like what we need in an imploding world are great HR Generalists.

Let's talk about one trend specifically - the idea that people can work anywhere (white collar jobs) in a Post-COVID World.

Do you believe that? If you do, then as a great HR pro, you must adjust your world view to de-prioritize elite cities as a "must have" location for your organization. One company of many - Stitch Fix - is making the move that many of us must contemplate as talent professionals. Stich Fix is getting the hell out of California. More from SFgate.com:

San Francisco-based online personal styling service Stitch Fix is laying off 1,400 stylists in California between now and the end of September, affecting 18% of its workforce, per a statement released on Monday. The online retailer said that after the cuts are made, it will look to hire back in lower-cost states.

The company's model, built around stylists helping subscribers select clothing that is then shipped to customers each month, has been one of the few major success stories in the subscription shopping world.

CEO and founder Katrina Lake, who started the company in 2011, said "all of our California-based stylists will be offered the opportunity to relocate to the new roles in other states."

The company said that the cost of operating in California was becoming increasingly difficult, and plans to hire stylists in other lower-cost states such as Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas.

Man. If a company like Stich Fix - fashion, style, etc. - is getting out of the Elite City/Elite State game, then you probably need to fire up Talent Neuron from Gartner and figure out where lower cost talent is stateside as well.

Simply put - if people can and will work anywhere, then your ability to find more talent and potentially pay it less grows exponentially. Facebook made a similar move recently - not by firing people in California, but by acknowledging if people choose to work remote and move to a lower cost area, their salary would likely be adjusted for the labor group/area in question.

It's Comp 101. Covid just accelerates the fact that "place" and "location" matters less (note it still matters, but less). We did a decade's worth of transformation in 3 months. 

With this change in mind, the woman who just graduated from Valdosta State (GA) with a degree in fashion and doesn't want to/can't move to an elite city now has a chance to get a job with a premier company.  Same with Facebook - if you're a great developer, you now have a better chance at working for an elite company - without moving from your podunk little town.

Start firing up the research on lower cost talent with the same skills, HR pros.

Side note: My understanding is that Stitch Fix stylists have to serve men looking to upgrade their style. That reminds me of Crazy Stupid Love, with Ryan Gosling but instead featuring a remote stylist trying to convince a 55-year old accountant to give up double pleats. 

Maybe hazard pay for those stylists. 

(Clip with Gosling shopping with Carrell below, email subscribers click through if you don't see it).

Comments

AC Longino

Great post, but why stop at lower cost states? Why not lower cost countries? This has been happening for a couple of decades now - for example - many call centers are now in India (and are quite successful). If a person can work remotely, then they can work from just about anywhere in the world. I realize that India might not be a hub of people with Fashion degrees but that could change quickly.

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