Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You’re reading Entrepreneur Europe, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
As virtual reality technology continues its development, it’s becoming clear that the immersive experiences that it delivers can be utilized to deliver more impactful employee training programs that can bridge a wide range of competency gaps.
VR can not only help to develop key competencies but also soft skills gaps, with Harvard Business Report data suggesting that 59 percent of surveyed hiring managers and some 89 percent of executives found it difficult to recruit candidates that possessed soft skills in communication, teamwork, and leadership.
As many firms face up to a future built on remote work and collaboration, many of these soft skills, along with key competencies, are becoming more valuable.
This means that businesses will invariably be forced into considering how they onboard and train their employees, with virtual reality standing as one logical, immersive, and engaging solution that’s best positioned to deliver effective results.
Remote training that replicates one-to-one environments.
Whilst it’s certainly worth highlighting the sheer immersive qualities of virtual reality, STRIVR, an immersive learning platform, highlights that training leaders have also been impressed with the time-efficiency of VR training as opposed to video-based learning and the reading of manuals. The implications of utilizing virtual reality for matters relating to employee onboarding and training involve saving hours in learning time–rather than mere minutes.
VR operates as a time-saving tool because it has the power to deliver a comprehensive learning experience that ensures sufficient levels of engagement to ensure that employees learn and retain more information over relatively short periods of time. To achieve this, modules can be set by instructional designers who can tap into a wealth of industry experience to optimize the time of the learner in a more personalized manner.
This makes VR training as impactful as one-to-one sessions, but it’s delivered remotely and in a fraction of the time required by more traditional training programs. This means that businesses looking to convert their in-house training programs into a remote work environment won’t need to hold the same concerns over drop-offs in proficiency when embracing virtual reality solutions.
Furthermore, VR training can aid users in delivering instant feedback. This empowers employees to better comprehend their problem areas and work to retain the right information in a more efficient manner.
Learning from controlled virtual scenarios.
Whether it’s performing critical operations on patients or undergoing difficult procedures on isolated oil-rigs, virtual reality paves the way for employees to prepare accordingly by immersing them into complex scenarios within a safe and controlled virtual environment.
Although this form of training will be adopted to prepare individuals for high-risk job roles over the coming years, there are plenty of suitable remote applications for immersive training, too. This is because virtual reality has the potential to simulate scenarios that can help to build soft skills like leadership qualities and the ability to collaborate effectively in teams.
“In an interactive virtual environment, you can set up real-world scenarios that can drive home training in a way that an in-person classroom environment often can’t. This is especially useful when training employees on the use of specific equipment or machinery,” Saagar Govil, CEO of manufacturing AR and VR technology company, Cemtrex, told the HR Daily Advisor
“Various scenarios can be played out safely and repeatedly for each trainee hundreds of times if necessary. VR and AR can offer safer training environments for industries such as manufacturing and oil and gas during a pandemic, but many businesses have found that’s far from the only benefit these modern technologies can provide,” Govil added.
Tangible improvements in decision-making.
It’s through the complex scenarios that can be rendered by virtual reality programs that can help companies to identify gaps in skill sets and bridge them in an efficient manner.
To action this, VR can pair up with artificial intelligence insights to analyze the big data produced by employees in their decision-making and make changes on the fly to help hone new skills and competencies.
With the ability to generate just about any encounter that’s relevant to a job role, VR enables a greater element of dynamic control over the situations an employee can face within their line of work.
To illustrate this point, VR and AR agency Visualise teamed up with Deloitte to create a series of films developed with the intent of engaging employees. By creating a point-of-view virtual scenario, employees were capable of visualizing complex situations and reacting to them in a more engaging manner. In Visualise’s VR construct, moments were implemented which encouraged the user to make a decision to react–with each possible reaction resulting in a fresh set of scenarios within the narrative.
The outcome of these training measures found that Deloitte achieved a greater level of engagement among its employees, as well as better levels of information retention.
Although virtual reality training is still very much in its fledgling phase, the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and vast potential of the metaverse have combined to make a future based around WFH not only likely, but prospectively lucrative.
Businesses that move faster to explore VR training programs for new recruits and existing employees are likely to reap the rewards and gain a competitive edge over their rivals. With better information retention and time-effective skill-development the prize for teams that embrace virtual reality training, embracing reality technology has the potential to be fruitful for HR professionals that are fastest to embrace this form of digital transformation.