Recruiting a new employee is only the first step in the effort to ensure that he or she provides the expected support to the organization. The next move involves ensuring that the person hired is adequately introduced to the duties, company, team or organizational culture as part of the onboarding process. In this area, advanced technological solutions are increasingly emerging to provide employees with a new – and often better – experience during their first days and weeks on the job. One such tool gaining increasing recognition in the field of human resources management is virtual reality. Below, we describe this technology in detail, as well as the best potential uses for VR as part of the onboarding process.
Uses for VR in onboarding – table of contents:
What is VR in onboarding?
Virtual reality (VR) is an advanced technology that allows users to have an interactive experience in an environment completely separate from the real world. Through the use of a variety of tools and devices (including goggles, sensory gloves, controllers and motion sensors), the user is immersed in a three-dimensional space that can both mimic reality and be completely fantastical, imaginary (advanced computer graphics help create realistic images, colors, textures and light in a virtual environment).
This state-of-the-art technology allows the person using it to move, respond to stimuli and perform various actions. Its interactions are instantaneous, which enhances the authenticity of the experience.
Uses for VR – what areas?
Although at this point virtual reality technology is being used in various industries, it should be pointed out that at the very beginning, it was used primarily for entertainment purposes. Various types of accessories were intended as an add-on to improve the experience within video games or to help create 360-degree videos. Nowadays, the possibilities of uses for VR are much broader – such fields as:
- Tourism (enables potential travelers to “see” places before traveling and plan their trip),
- Art and culture (allows interested people to explore museums, galleries, art exhibitions and other such places without leaving home),
- Aviation (as part of the training, it simulates various types of situations that may occur during flight to adequately prepare for the role of a pilot),
- Education (provides an opportunity to immerse oneself in a world depicting, for example, a bygone era, the cosmos or the environment, and expand one’s knowledge in this way),
- Industry and manufacturing (to train workers in safety, equipment operation or production processes).
3 uses for VR in onboarding
The widespread applicability of VR has led companies in various industries – and HR professionals in particular – to explore how it can improve one of the most important processes that constantly takes place, namely onboarding (introducing a new employee to a company). After all, it is obvious that the most critical are the first days and weeks of a person in a new place, during which it is necessary to ensure that he or she learns his or her responsibilities, integrates with the team and immerses himself or herself in the organizational culture.
Introducing VR in onboarding process can provide a more interactive, engaging and personalized experience for new employees, which can translate into a smoother integration into the organization. Critical areas of VR application in this area are outlined below.
Virtual tours of the company
New employees can take a virtual tour of the company’s headquarters (for example, when they work remotely) to familiarize themselves with various departments, offices, facilities and colleagues. Doing so gives them a better understanding of the organization and its structure, making it significantly easier to orient themselves in their new work environment. It also makes it easier for them to find their way around when they meet their team in person or the need arises for them to physically show up at the office.
During the first few days at a new workplace, several training sessions have to be attended, sometimes causing the employee to become overwhelmed by the excess of information. You can minimize this feeling by relying on the use of VR as part of mandatory training (e.g. on health and safety, current procedures, etc.). Thanks to the described technology, new employees can “play” in different scenarios to better understand how to act in different situations according to the guidelines indicated by the company.
Simulations of pending tasks
The described technology also helps new employees to practice the varied scenarios that can take place in the workplace. VR provides a simulation of everyday tasks – and thus “proving themselves” in a safe environment (including learning about possible risks and hazards and practicing proper reactions). Such a solution can work exceptionally well in industries where employees need specialized practical skills, and where the responsibility for the health of others rests on their shoulders (such as medicine or operation of technical equipment).
Uses for VR in onboarding – summary
It’s no secret to anyone that introducing a new employee to a company usually involves a lot of expense – especially in terms of money and time. What’s more, we can never be sure whether a person will decide to stay with the company for the long term after onboarding. For this reason, it is so important to make sure that the employee has the best possible experience during his or her first days at the new company, which is where virtual reality technology can help.
However, the possibilities of VR in onboarding are not limited to the above-mentioned areas. If you want to go for this solution, it is worth conducting a thorough analysis of your needs and resources to find your way to implement the discussed technology to improve the onboarding process of new employees.