March 01, 2016

Virtual Reality’s Potential Impact on Talent Management and the Workplace

In last month’s edition of DCR TrendLine, we discussed how virtual reality (VR) is a pivotal trend in talent management. With VR making waves in the consumer space, with the recent releases of low-end VR devices such as Google Cardboard and the Samsung Gear VR and the upcoming releases of the highly anticipated Oculus Rift, it’s no wonder that virtual reality is on top of everyone’s mind. Early adopters in HR are already planning on using VR units to revolutionize talent management and recruiting practices, by being used to give job candidates virtual office tours or helping remote workers to feel more engaged.

In this article, we examine the potential impact of virtual reality on talent management and on the workplace. And stay tuned for our article in the April edition of DCR TrendLine that discusses the application of virtual reality in various industries.

Virtual Reality for Talent Management

It’s relatively easy to see the potential application of virtual reality in recruiting and sourcing. VR could be used to enable a candidate to experience a day-in-the-life of an employee in their role, including office tours, meeting managers and co-works, and starting project. It could really help to provide a better sense of the culture. However, the application of VR towards talent management is also substantial.

Currently, many leaders say that they have trouble managing their global and dispersed workforces. Due to increased connectivity and the availability of collaboration tools, workers can log in from different locations all over the world, work variable schedule, and communicate using a variety of different methods. In the case of these remote workforces, one of the biggest concerns managers have is ensuring that their workers are engaged and participating. Virtual reality can help change the degree to which remote workers feel engaged and part of a unified team. Technology experts expect that in just a few years, workers will be able to put on their VR headset and send their avatar to work alongside colleagues who could be physically located anywhere. Conferences, meetings, presentations, brainstorm, social events, and team building exercises could all be conducted in the virtual world, helping to enable ongoing communication, relationship building, and innovation.

Customized Training

Learning and development is an area of talent management that could benefit from advances in virtual and augmented reality. VR could be used to take the concept of customized training to a new level. For example, if an employee needs to master public speaking skills, they no longer have to wait for a class or Toastmasters sign up; rather they can have their avatar work with a virtual coach and then practice presenting to a virtual group of executives.

Virtual reality technologies can be used to simulate real world scenarios and situations to help workers more easily prepare. Today, gamification is already being used to address the need and desire for experiential learning, but virtual reality will increase this tenfold. Gamification could even be incorporated into VR-based training, by making the environment more competitive. For example, companies could simulate a sales scenario, and have employees complete based on various metrics to induce a more performance-based measure into the organization.