Innovation in the HR domain has been huge over the past two decades. It’s the main reason why I (and you?) continue to enjoy working in this field. However, it’s not always easy to keep up with all the trends and new tools that come with it.
There's one trend, in particular, which is currently fascinating me – virtual reality. Facebook and Samsung have recently been putting huge investment into this, which means that we’re sure to see some dazzling results soon. But what most captivates me is that the ways VR can be applied are endless… even for HR! I got myself a decent Samsung gear VR headset the other month and started playing around and testing stuff. Mind-blowing how it feels so real! But that's only the beginning. For HR I see the following major opportunities.
So many of us have been looking for ways of learning which is engaging and effective. We all thought (I did too!) we found the holy grail of learning when somebody came up with the 70-20-10 principle. But many of us still struggle with making learning effective.
A VR headset allows you to be fully immersed in the experience. It feels very real, which means you walk around in one of your company’s offices and learn how to do your job. Or you virtually visit a manufacturing plant and are introduced to safety regulations. Or maybe it’s for a sales person in a boutique who learns how to interact and respond to customer's questions.
My first big learning initiative at Goodyear was the rollout of an online game called 'People Manager Lab' where as a manager you had to manage a (virtual) team. Engagement was really high, but it was still just a 2D game on a laptop screen. VR however would bring this up a notch (or two)! It makes the experience that much more real.... and as we all know, people learn when they actively experience stuff. The learning future is bright!
And by the way… call me if you want to start a venture together in this space ;-)
#2 Employer branding
This to me is a no brainer – invite talent to come and discover your company first-hand and decide for themselves if it is a place where they'd love to work. What better way to showcase your great office environment, let them explore your company culture, and maybe even meet some of their future colleagues, etc.
More inspiring, if you ask me, than Employee Value Proposition # 1 million, which is all too similar to the other 1 million out there. Your potential talent wants to touch, feel, smell their future workplace, not read about the five (often too generic) values on a career site.
And another aside... I'm totally guilty of having spent weeks of my time (and my team’s) developing those EVP's myself in the past!
I worked in the assessment industry before going into corporate HR, for a great company called Cubiks. Even today, I still believe that a situational judgment assessment is always a great predictor of job performance. And we’ve seen some innovation in this area too, even if it’s been painfully slow… from simple text based multiple-choice tests, the industry moved to video based situations. With VR you can now actually offer candidates a full experience, and are more likely to elicit an honest response to the situation before asking them what action they would take.
With the candidate actually being in the situation, you could even consider recording their reactions in the moment. Whatever the specifics, VR can only lead to more reliable assessment results!
Some of you know I spent 90% of my time talking to companies around the world about how they can improve onboarding. And if you’ll forgive me the shameless plug, I also suggest to them (surprise, surprise) that Talmundo’s onboarding app could really help them to drastically improve the onboarding journey for the new hire.
After I got a VR headset, I immediately got Talmundo a 360º camera. We have done shoots now for the first couple of clients and integrated the 360º VR footage into the App. New joiners can now check out the workspaces, parking lot, lunch area, coffee corner, etc. weeks before they start. It’s not just fun… you’d be surprised how it helps take the stress away from that first day on the job!
And there are plenty more areas in HR where you could apply this technology beyond the ones I’ve listed here, but I don’t want to get in the way of your own creativity!
But like with any technology, you can read about it as much as you like, dream about it, hypothesize… but I suggest you go and experience it for yourself, so you can see for yourself where the opportunities lie. All you need is a smartphone which is not too old (good resolution and a good processor are the keys here), and you just slide your phone into a Google cardboard viewer (costs you 10 euro) and with the Google '360 VR video' you can already take it for a test run yourself. Just don’t forget to come back to your real job!
PS: big thanks also to Yondr, the leading Belgian VR agency, for introducing me to the world of VR!