Virtual Reality: The Future of Corporate Leadership Training‍

August 11, 2022
The RH way to HR

What is VR?

VR stands for Virtual Reality. It creates a 3D environment in which the player is totally immersed. There are three main types of VR. 

  • Mobile VR: is the most simple version and only requires a VR headset and a smartphone. The user’s smartphone is inserted into the VR headset and the simulation is run on the smartphone.
  • Standalone VR: is a more advanced form of VR than mobile VR. It requires a headset that runs the simulation and does not require any additional devices or cables.
  • Desktop VR: is the most high-end form of VR which provides the most immersive experiences to the user. It requires powerful computers as well as an advanced VR headset. The most advanced VR simulations and games tend to require Desktop VR. 

VR for corporate training? 

People learn best by doing and getting immediate feedback. Experiential learning has been proven to be the most effective way to ensure that our brains absorb and retain information. In recent years, the cost to deploy VR has dropped significantly, making VR training more accessible. Now, VR can be used in any industry to teach any thinkable skill, including soft skills like public speaking, sales, negotiation, and networking. Virtual reality is also an extremely effective tool for leadership training and development, because it provides a fail-safe environment to try out new leadership styles. 

Has VR for corporate training been tested?

Absolutely. It sounds very futuristic, but in reality, VR is already a common tool used by companies to teach hard skills, soft skills, and cultural lessons. 

1. Walmart

Walmart has trained over a million of its associates in VR. They use virtual reality to teach their employees how to operate specific machinery. By switching from traditional training methods to virtual reality training, Walmart decreased their training time from 8 hours to just 15 minutes, with no drop in efficacy. 

2. Verizon

Verizon has developed a virtual reality simulation in which their call-center employees are able to practice de-escalation with an upset customer. Trainees are able to improve upon their speaking and active listening skills in this safe-to-fail environment, so they’re better prepared when they encounter an unhappy customer in real life. Verizon was also able to significantly decrease their training time by implementing VR, going from 10 hours per person to just 30 minutes. 

3. Sprouts Farmers Market

Employee culture is an extremely important component of the Sprouts brand. Sprouts tested a subset of about 300 employees on their conceptual understanding of the company’s core values. Half of the employees were trained on the core values through VR and half used PowerPoint training. 48% of the trainees who did VR learned all 6 concepts perfectly, compared to only 3% who used traditional methods.

4. Hilton

The hotel chain uses VR training to foster empathy in their senior leadership. Using virtual reality, corporate team members find themselves in the shoes of hotel staff – room service attendants, housekeepers, food/beverage managers, and more – in an effort to help senior company leaders gain a better understanding of the day-to-day operations of the company's many hotel and resort properties.

5. Farmers Insurance

The insurance company takes advantage of VR to train new claims adjusters. In the past, Farmers sent new employees to a specialized two-story training home in Los Angeles. Now, with VR, trainees can practice using six unique floor plans and 500 different damage scenarios. Not only is there far more opportunity for education and development with VR, it also saves the company $300,000 a year in travel costs. 

6. FedEx

The transport company uses virtual reality to train package handlers in a safe and controlled environment.

7. UPS

Pre-VR, new UPS drivers trained by driving a real truck on the road with a touch screen tablet in hand. Luckily, new drivers now train in virtual reality. They learn safe driving practices and spot potential hazards in a virtual space. This much safer method is blended with on-the-job training to accelerate learning and make sure what is learned in the classroom transfers to job skills.

Still not convinced about the power of VR Leadership Training? Here are the numbers.

This study by PwC shows that training with virtual reality is more effective than classroom or online training.  Selected employees from a group of new managers in 12 US locations took the same training — designed to address inclusive leadership — in one of three learning modalities: classroom, e-learn and v-learn (VR). The study showed that VR learners were:

  • 4x faster to train than in the classroom
  • 275% more confident to apply skills learned in training
  • 3.75x more emotionally connected to content than classroom learners
  • 4x more focused than their e-learning peers

If you think VR training could be right for your leadership team and want to learn more, contact us here.

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