First things first, what is Virtual & Augmented Reality?
Virtual reality (VR) is an interactive computer-generated experience taking place within a simulated environment that incorporates mainly auditory and visual, but also other types of sensory feedback. This immersive environment can be similar to the real world or it can be fantastical, creating an experience that is not possible in ordinary physical reality.
Augmented reality systems may also be considered a form of VR that layers virtual information over a live camera feed into a headset or through a smartphone or tablet device giving the user the ability to view three-dimensional images.
Use of Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality in Human Resources
As organizations are becoming more tech-savvy, HR professionals are continuously keeping an eye on new solutions that help in improving productivity & streamlining existing processes. If you’re working at a major tech company, chances are HR leaders are already experimenting with VR. Virtual reality can be used in many different areas of the field, but seems to be most valuable in:
1- Streamlining Talent Acquisition process:
An organization is only as good as the employees it hires, so attracting the right candidates is one of the strategic advantages for any organization. More and more organizations are investing in state-of-the-art recruitment process that could provide an initial screening process for more hands-on roles, allowing candidates to get a look at their potential workplace and experience the job they’re applying for.
Employers can build tailored AR/VR experiences to pinpoint the most skilled candidates pre-interview, further expediting the hiring process. Once candidates are in the interview stage, AR/VR can allow them to demonstrate practical skills.On-the-job skills aren’t easily assessed through traditional interviews, due to which organizations are using custom VR scenarios in their interview process, allowing candidates to showcase their skills in an effective way.
2- Onboarding new employees:
Many organizations struggle with negative effects of early attrition and poor performance during initial 90 days for new hires. Virtual reality technology can improve the on-boarding experience significantly by integrating new hires in organization culture from Day 1. General Electric uses VR to give new employees a unique onboarding experience. Using VR, new employees “take a trip” to the bottom of the ocean to see the company’s oil and gas recovery machines “firsthand.”
Especially in an environment where employees are dispersed over multiple locations, Virtual reality solutions will serve as an effective tool to drive employee value propositions for organizations.
3- Employee Engagement:
In the age of global workforce and millennials, employee retention is something that every people manager craves for. It is a nightmare for a company to have a global workforce reporting in from remote locations in different time zones. Virtual reality can change the talent management game altogether. VR can assist businesses to conduct virtual conferences for remote employees and carry out team-building activities on a global scale. People at managerial level can set up virtual retreats and social events for optimum workforce engagement and communication, all in a time-saving and cost-efficient manner.
4- Continuous Employee Learning solutions:
The power of AR/VR can be harnessed to significant effect in this area, as it opens great opportunities to learn and practice skills before actually starting a role. It can recreate real-life situations, which is perfect for new age professionals.
Using AR/VR, individuals with little or no formal training can be taught to do high-skilled tasks—fast. In fact, AR/VR works best for non-repetitive complex activities—which is the kind of work inherent in many positions. And, unlike traditional training where learning often stops once a class or video ends, a worker who uses AR has the potential to learn more every day.In addition, if companies are able to connect their employees with stakeholders around the world, employees will be better equipped to better understand their stakeholders’ needs and act accordingly.
At its heart, virtual/augmented reality is entirely about improving the user experience, so it shouldn’t be surprising to see HR professionals waking up to the idea of embracing this technology.
While implementing the same, we need to ensure that:
- Communication and successful change management are the most critical factors that span the entire process of implementation – determining the success of project. Only 20% of technology initiatives are successful across Fortune 500 organizations; primary reason for this is due to
- Removal of human touch points at the time of implementation.
- Fallacy of measuring only outcome not inputs.
- Systems are process centric not experience centric.
- The benefits of using AR/VR may vary from company to company, and from industry to industry. There’s no one size fits all kind of approach that can be implemented all across without any degree of differentiation.
- Support from senior management is important, most of the time these solutions are delegated to middle level managers & IT professionals.
- Governance structure and regular review of project through project management framework is important.
Whether you’re trying to get more people interested in your company, improve new hire onboarding, or just trying to make work more interesting, virtual reality is a smart way to achieve both.The technology is here to stay, and for good reason.
Author- Srinivas Reddy P is Director – Human Resources for MetLife Global Shared Services a Global In-house Center with more than 3,500 associates. Srini is responsible for managing the company’s Talent Acquisition with a focus on attracting, developing and retaining key talent. He has held HR Business Partner, Compensation & Benefits roles across Shared Services. Srini played a key role in setting up MetLife Shared Services center at Queretaro, Mexico for Latin America region, and currently instrumental in setting up center at Romania for Europe region. Srini has spent the last fifteen years of his career in the Business Process Management industry. Prior to current assignment, he worked with Hero ITES & Genpact responsible for Talent Acquisition & Employee Relations. He has recently been certified by eCornell on Advanced Strategic HR Management. By qualification, he holds an Executive MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.