The search for technology that assists human resource managers in improving the employees’ productivity and communication is never-ending. Especially the hunt for innovations that are both impactful and easy to install. This search has led to the evolution of HR from traditional approaches to using Excel and Windows to now deploying the use of software solutions. The advancement that checks both the boxes mentioned in the first sentence is Virtual Reality, a.k.a VR. VR is emerging in the HR departments of large and supple organizations for all the operations starting from hiring and training to employee communication.
What Is VR?
Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer-generated simulation through which you can interact within a fabricated three-dimensional environment using electronic gadgets like VR goggles and gloves with sensors. This simulation gives the users a realistic experience.
It is the combination of the words virtual and real, which literally means ‘near real’ thus, explaining its main characteristic of giving the user a close-to-reality experience.
The easiest way to understand virtual reality is to compare it with real-world observations. We use our senses (like the sense of taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing, balance, and spatial awareness) and perception systems to understand our surroundings. Our brain processes the inputs gathered by these senses to interpret the existing environment around us. VR attempts to build a notional climate that uses artificial information to be presented before us to make us believe that it is a reality.
Use Of VR In HR:
Ever since its invention, we have heard of VR being used in a number of industries, be it marketing, real estate, sales, or building information modeling. However, we have not read, heard, or seen its emergence in human resource management. There are a multitude of facets of human resources that can be powered and enhanced with the smart application of virtual reality. Here are some opportunities where HR and VR can go hand in hand.
1. Virtual Reality In Hiring:
One of the essential job functions of HR is to hire brilliant employees. Every business strives to have the best employees. You would be at a significant loss if you cannot convince the most excellent employees to work for you.
In the past year, many jobs have been lost, and many opportunities have been created. Meeting people face to face is a risk now. Given the lockdown and social distance practices, it is practically impossible to have physical interviews or applicant screening. Moreover, hiring remote workers is the only option the companies have these days.
Virtual reality hiring presents a tool for recruiting managers to stretch their candidate pool to the remote applicants. Recruiters can create simulated office interviews with candidates who are geographically far from the workplace. Such experiences allow the candidates to see and feel the work culture and put themselves in the role without having to go to the offices physically.
This system can prove to be more economical as it entertains a whole lot of candidates through the process without having to spend money to bring them to the office for multiple interviews. It allows the organization to assess more candidates, thereby overcoming the limitations that the companies may face in searching for top talent.
2. Virtual Reality In Onboarding:
Given the current situation, getting your employees to onboard from the actual workplace is, without a doubt, an impossible task. Employing VR in training and onboarding the new employee is beneficial because 1. It is cost-effective. 2. It is scale-able, and 3. It is not bound by geographic location. You can convey the message/ information and pour some enthusiasm about their job in the employee’s mind.
There are three ways in which VR can transform the onboarding program of your company. The first one of the three is by gamification. With VR, the gamification is not limited to points and badges as it offers marvelous multi-sensory experiences. It is not a secret that gamification is one of the most constructive onboarding techniques and that fruitfulness is taken up a notch by integrating VR and making it interactive onboarding. This transforms the monotonous and outdated onboarding process into something highly absorbing and personalized experiences.
The second way is by providing functional training. There are jobs that are exceptionally dangerous, give high-stress, or use expensive machinery or tools. It is risky to train the candidates in such fields directly as it may cause physical or mental harm to the candidate or spoil the machinery. Such jobs can benefit from virtual reality. A great example of this would be the training of medical professionals. They can simulate particular situations/ emergencies with the help of VR to train the interns and the surgeons rather than risking the life of the patients. Similarly, VR can assist you in training your sales team, field service team, and other similar jobs.
The final role that VR plays in improving onboarding is by offering team assimilation. Almost 90% of recruits make their decision to stay in the company within the first six months.
And the majority of them leave during these six months. One of the major reasons for the quitting is the disconnection that they feel between themselves and the organization. A broken onboarding experience is a major contributor to this feeling. Team adaptation sessions do not necessarily work out the way they were intended to in most of the cases. This is where VR comes into the picture. It increases the interaction between the global teams and scattered employees. With its capacity to pick up and translate the body language and non-verbal cues, VR can enable the recruits to experience being welcomed in the company by a higher authority and meet their fellow colleagues who are physically away due to lockdown, remote work, or any other reason. This allows them to experience the organization’s culture and influence a positive decision.
3. Virtual Reality In Employee Communication:
No matter what anyone suggests, we all know that email is a time-worn and substandard means to communicate with your employees. Despite being simple and productive, it has the tendency to sink in the sea of other mails. Companies make use of videos, no doubt, but it is easy to be distracted while watching a video and overlook some information.
Not only is VR enchanting, but it is easy to remember and transports you into a world where it is impossible to lose focus. The employees’ attention is 100% because they are in the virtual world. Besides getting the work done, it can be really fun. After all, who wouldn’t enjoy a trip to an artificially generated reality?
All these may sound like sunshine and rainbows until you realize how exactly are you going to put it into practice? The first step towards installing VR in your HR processes is to educate yourself about what VR is and how it will affect your business (which I guess is done by the time you finish reading this blog). See the options available for the software and hardware to ensure that you stay well within the budget. The days where VR used to be out of financial reach of small organizations are gone, and now, with just a few headsets and some ready-to-use content, you can start using VR in your human resource management operations.
Using VR in recruiting, training and communication is but just a start. The possibilities of integrating the two are endless, for these are not the only functions performed by the HR. VR can enhance the experience of the recruits by assisting them in finding out more about your organization before they become employees, thereby giving them a higher engagement opportunity early in their career and helping them to develop skills in a much more immersive way. Integrating VR in HR is a means to achieve more good days at work.
Divyang Metaliya is a Business Consultant working with factoHR. Apart from managing and improving business processes, his hobby is to spread his vast area of knowledge to the people out there. He loves to create content that is innovative and engaging for the readers.