Three simple ways VR enhances the Employee Experience

Three simple ways virtual reality can enhance the employee experience
Before the pandemic became the dominating force in our lives, the Employee Experience was easily defined: everything that happened within the workplace was the organisation’s responsibility, and everything that happened outside was the employee’s responsibility. Now that employees are forced to turn their homes into offices, there is no divide between the two and many departments are struggling to navigate this sudden change in employee experience. HR leaders, in particular, are under constant pressure as they determine the best ways to onboard, train employees and retain them remotely with limited resources. 

To solve this challenge, many Australian companies are turning to virtual reality as a means to invigorate the Employee Experience so employees can more easily visualise their future workplace, experience the companies values and get to know their colleagues. These stimulating virtual experiences play a significant role in promoting brand values, making the employee more comfortable about their place in the company whilst also providing the most effective and cost-effective communication technology.

Companies from all industry sectors are realising the effectiveness of immersing storytelling in VR & AR and gaining a competitive advantage by incorporating the technology into their most valuable HR processes. Whether it is Metro Trains Australia using VR onboarding training or the CBA who are using VR as a recruitment assessment tool to test candidate decision-making skills, virtual reality creates the incredible new potential to improve all aspects of the Employee Experience. Here are the 3 ideas your business can implement today:

1. Hiring the perfect candidate is more accurate and faster using VR simulations

It is no surprise that 62% of recruiters say that hiring the right candidate is a major challenge today as compared to a year ago because a lack of face to face interactions can make the process time-consuming and monotonous.  As a result of this, recruiters are using virtual reality to create highly realistic and immersive situations and asking prospects to show how they would handle a range of challenging problems and workplace interactions. Recruiters are then able to quickly see first hand, how the candidate reacts and adapts, enabling them to quickly evaluate their skills and flaws. Because the simulations are virtual, the recruiter can run these simulations in large groups, or even remotely, saving considerable time and travel expense. More importantly, this process brings the best out of the candidate and provides insight into areas for future training and development. 

Employment Hero, a software company based in Sydney, implemented virtual reality as a solution for interviewing candidates when remote work began. Employment Hero’s Chief People Officer, Alex Hattingh said “How do you do the best job in recruiting and onboarding in a new virtual, remote-work world? We were fortunate in that we had the technology to facilitate virtual interviewing. This virtual process is much faster, and it’s been easier for candidates in terms of scheduling, as they don’t have to leave their place of work to visit our offices.” 

2. Employee engagement and retention is greatly improved when onboarding uses VR

The Harvard Business Review found that 33% of new hires look for a new job within the first 6 months and recommended that companies should provide a more stimulating and engaging onboarding process. Virtual Reality is an exciting and proven method to instil a company's values through virtual tours and immersive training. Companies that use this technology as part of the employee onboarding process have the best chance of creating a lasting impression that gives each employee greater confidence in their role, a sense of purpose in line with company values and can greatly influence their performance and retention. 

As mentioned above, Metro Trains Australia have recently developed a VR  driver training program to be a part of their onboarding process. Given that train driving is a high-risk and time-sensitive job, MTA wanted employees to get it right from the start of their orientation process. In this, the trainees are given the chance to interact with the equipment along with virtual annotations used to help them identify driving signals and read information from different meters. After implementation, MTA claimed that they saw numerous benefits including increased knowledge retention, higher engagement and employee morale and improved driving outcomes. 

3. Learning through doing” is by far the best way to learn anything

You might have heard the famous saying by Confucius “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” This concept sums up training through VR simulations. Simulations allow employees to “do” the tasks and experience things first hand; increasing muscle memory and allowing trainees to make mistakes without any dangerous real-world consequences. 

A New Zealand based dairying company, Fonterra, chose to implement VR to train employees and show them how to navigate its manufacturing sites without physically being there. The Director of Health and Safety, Resilience and Risk at Fonterra said “With this solution, we can replicate the physical environment of our sites, so staff can undertake virtual health and safety training in an extremely immersive and realistic way. That means our people can learn about and identify potential hazards more quickly than ever, encouraging more engaged employees and better workplace safety.”

For St John Ambulance Victoria, Start Beyond developed a suite of immersive learning tools that used VR, mobile and desktop learning to deliver life-saving First Aid and CPR training to the classroom and on-site. The solution ensured training delivery was consistently presented and optimised for performance and retention. Learners had a much more visceral experience when placed in realistic simulations of emergency events and walked through their training in a way that is more direct and effective than traditional classroom based learning. The immersive nature means that the brain believes that what it is seeing is real, making the learning more impactful. 

As more and more companies start to employ VR in their systems, it is no surprise that the global VR market is expected to reach approximately $23B by the end of 2021. With virtual reality, you can hire the perfect candidate who matches the needs of the role and your company, onboard new hires efficiently in a way that increases engagement and retention and trains them to improve productivity and achieve better outcomes. This type of technology is engaging, rewarding and easy to implement into any HR and L&D program. 

About Start Beyond

Start Beyond is Australia's leading Immersive studio. We help companies like CBA, Lion, Samsung and Facebook deliver incredible immersive learning experiences across VR/AR, mobile and desktop. Contact us today for a live demonstration.