03 - 04 December, 2019 | Hilton London Canary Wharf, London, United Kingdom

VR in HR

Imagine being able to train an employee how to handle a sexual harassment situation, not by lecture, but by making the person an observer of an actual case of sexual harassment.  But how do you expose someone to such an uncomfortable situation and not risk their safety?  The answer is virtual reality.

While it may sound like something of the future, it is happening now.  HR is using this technology to train employees on many different fronts.  It’s also being used to recruit and to test the skills of potential employees.

VR in HR

What exactly is virtual reality?  A dictionary defines it as the following:

“An artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli (such as sights and sounds) provided by a computer and in which one's actions partially determine what happens in the environment.”

Virtual reality is most often associated with the gaming industry, as the birthplace of the growth of VR - namely with Playstation 4. Also with Facebook's Oculus virtual reality tool, it is clear that VR has infiltered many industries and seems here to stay. In this sense, human resources are using it the same way - using the experience to apply lessons learnt later in the real world.

VR Recruitment

Recently, CNN covered a company using virtual reality to find new employees. Within this article, they reported:

“German railway company Deutsche Bahn began using VR four years ago to attract new staff. Potential hires can wear a VR headset and 'within a matter of seconds can experience a job in a very real-life atmosphere,' according to Kerstin Wagner, Deutsche Bahn's head of talent acquisition."

This company isn't alone!

With other companies using VR to not only recruit but assess new talent onboard. Gamification is also a strong method of learning and development and here companies are combining the two with puzzle-based games to collect data on how potential employees react and deal with the game and how they strategise amongst other points of data.

VR Training

VR offers the opportunity to put people in real situations, with live examples and practical methods to solve problems or act out duties - the most immersive way of training. This technology often seems to have no limits with KFC using this to teach employees how to cook their signature chicken, compared to the British Army using this to train their soldiers.

Companies like Hilton are also using this, as the Director commented:

“Hilton is a company that’s on a great growth trajectory.  We have hotels in over 114 countries and are continuing to grow,” Stroud said. 

It’s for that reason they turned to virtual training as a piece of their overall learning and training strategy.

“We knew we needed a solution that would enable us to bring our global team members together in a learning environment that didn’t require them to leave their hotels and didn’t require them to travel, sometimes, for a couple of days to get to a location to complete the training,” Stroud said.

"VR allows the employee to see the body language, hear the tone, experience the context of the situation," said Vantage Point founder Morgan Mercer said. "Is John leaning into Sally's space when he makes a specific comment? What's his tone? Does she appear uncomfortable? Those are things you have to see, hear, feel."

To conclude...

VR is a technology that is undeniably sweeping across HR from small to large corporations it offers the same benefits to both trainers and trainees similarly. Not many technologies can supersede their industry and technological boundaries - but HR seems to be making this leap. With AI working its way up to having the same effect, the combination of both technologies together could be paving the way for an exciting impact on the future of HR.

So when it comes to VR in Human Resources, whether that's talent, onboarding, recruitment, training... it seems that the simulated sky is the limit.

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