Disengaged employees cost enterprises billions of dollars each year in losses due to poor performance. Conversely, strong teams and an engaged workforce can result in 22-percent more productivity, decrease turnover and promote a safer workplace. Employees that feel that their ideas and opinions are valued by employers are more confident. They take on new challenges, support change initiatives and seek added responsibilities. Additionally, the workers are more comfortable expressing insights that help to drive organizational objectives and are more comfortable asking questions about their roles.
Virtual reality allows team members to participate in activities while immersed in facsimiles of environments that can range from famous landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower, to highly exotic destinations, such as the moon. Through friendly competition, employees develop familiarity with one another, build loyalty among team members and hone their collaboration skills. More importantly, participants associate a positive experience with work by having an enjoyable time at the event. In the virtual world, team members can learn to work together, explore and build lasting memories.
Better Performance Through Team Building
Team building exercises are an effective activity for promoting employee engagement. Organizations that host team building activities report several common positive outcomes. When employees successfully complete activities together, they develop improved morale, and the solidarity the results nurtures improved communication between participants. VR activities help workers recognize that their managers are professional peers, and not just authority figures. The team building exercises also help staff members develop skills that train them to think strategically and rationally.
Organizational leaders have many options available for team building. The desired outcome of the exercise is a determining factor in the activity selected by executives. VR vendors can provide nearly any environment and develop activities to suit a variety of employer designated outcomes. The following 3 applications reveal a few of the ways that contemporary enterprises use virtual reality for team building.
Application 1: An Alternative to the Company Softball League
Employers have provided team-oriented activities such as ping pong and softball for workers for some time. However, participating in group these recreational activities has required that staff members converge on a single location. This isn’t practical for many modern organizations that employ workers at disparate business units around the globe. Today, however, corporate leaders can choose between real-world activities and virtual reality (VR). As an example, a novel VR role playing game called Star Trek: Bridge Crew solves the distance dilemma. In the game, workers based anywhere in the world assume the roles of either the captain, engineer, weapons officer or helmsman and meaningfully interact with each other.
The virtual reality activity provides powerful leadership lessons. It provides employees with a social environment that builds a sense of real unity among participants. While immersed in the VR environment, employees learn team building skills that transcend traditional career development training. The game accurately replicates real movement, giving employees an experience of closeness with peers, and it’s a powerful resource for corporate team building among staff members who work at facilities that are separated by long distances.
Application 2: Flex Their Mental Muscles
Most enterprises understand that employee engagement improves organizational performance. Despite this, only a quarter of firms actively promote engagement. Corporate pep rallies are not a satisfactory long-term solution for creating this sentiment. Building effective employee engagement requires a clearly defined plan and a notable investment of time. This begins with employers learning about how workers feel about their immediate supervisors.
To accomplish this, vendors provide nonthreatening VR environments that relax employees for activities, such as surveys and polls, increasing the likeliness of candidness. In this setting, employers can better identify problems that reduce productivity and the quality of consumer or client experiences.
As an example, employers can use VR environments to observe teams working together to find opportunities for improvement. While many VR scenarios are available for team building, organizations must choose activities wisely to ensure desired outcomes. Alternatively, employers can source virtual reality activities that communicate the enterprise mission, values and objectives, instilling in teams a mindset that aligns with current change initiatives.
Application 3: Better Networking With VR
A possible future application for virtual reality team building is peer networking. Employees build value for themselves and their organizations by connecting with external peers. Staff members that accomplish this successfully improve their potential for upward mobility in the organization. In the future, VR may provide an environment where professionals can build strong bonds with peers who work in similar fields. These powerful connections can help employees stay informed about developments that affect organizational outcomes.
Team building virtual reality activities let employers decide exactly how staff member interact with the environment and each other. VR vendors provide specialized, entertaining environments, while building team cohesiveness and engagement. Organizational leaders can also employ virtual reality vendors to develop customized team environments that promote unique outcomes. Despite the construct, organizational leaders must strike the right balance between company objectives and what resonates with employees.