TechLearn 2019 Part Two: Exploring the Impact of Mixed Reality on Recruiting, Onboarding, and Training

We last shared our 5 Key Takeaways from the TechLearn 2019 Conference. Now we’re back with more!

From airlines to automotive to manufacturing to logistics, more and more enterprise organizations are realizing the benefits of Virtual and Augmented Reality technology when it comes to optimizing workforce performance. But what about the impact of mixed reality on recruiting, onboarding, and training?

Many organizations are acutely aware that it takes a lot of time and money to recruit and hire new employees. A recent study by the Society of Human Resource Management found that companies can spend upwards of $4,129 on hiring just one employee. Multiply this amount by the number of hires you make in a year, and you quickly see the financial impact this can have on your company — especially in the case of a bad hire. 

So, where does VR training fit in this conversation? This is the topic our co-founder, Dave Beck, explored at the TechLearn 2019 Conference panel discussion with Bobby Carlton from Ready Learner One, Jay Fraser from HP, and Maxime Ros from Revinax. Let’s take a look.

Recruiting 

The competition for quality talent in today’s job market is fierce. Companies that want to win the talent war must be both relevant and engaging. Incorporating VR as part of your talent acquisition strategy will help you accomplish this feat. Here’s why. 

Your future workforce is already socialized to the concept of experiential learning, with VR technology now a part of that stack. Pop into the nearest school, and you’ll see for yourself how VR is heavily leveraged to enhance today’s blended learning programs. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education invested over $2.5 million to develop these programs in 2018. 

By the time this crop of new workers enters your organization, not only will they be extremely knowledgeable about VR training as a concept, but they will expect it. Additionally, if your organization is too slow to adopt and implement new technologies, prospective employees may be tempted to go elsewhere.

The benefits of VR training go beyond merely attracting the workforce of tomorrow. VR training can also lead to significant cost savings related to recruitment. For example, you can use VR to give prospective employees a preview of their new office and share first-hand what their new job may entail. This experience in VR allows them to “try on” the job before signing on the dotted line, leading to a win-win situation for both employee and employer.

From the employee side, they can easily walk away from the job with no hard feelings and focus their efforts on a role they want. Meanwhile, employers are protected from the experience of not realizing a positive ROI because of a bad hire. 

Onboarding 

What if there was a way to shorten the onboarding process from six weeks to two or three? Would you jump on board, or let the opportunity slip by you? With VR training, it’s possible.

For example, it usually takes Delta’s new hires 45-60 days to obtain their Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) credentials to operate on the tarmac. That’s a lot of time spent on training that could have been used to boost the company’s bottom line. With the ramp operations training that we developed for Delta, new hires can now get out on the tarmac on the first day with VR.

One could even use VR to gauge the level of an employee’s proficiency with an assigned task. Because most head, eye, and body movements can be tracked in VR, you have access to an abundance of data. That data can be used to create tailored training programs to address any skills gaps quickly and efficiently. Through VR training, not only are you enhancing your onboarding processes, but you’re also increasing employee satisfaction. This has a direct impact on retention. 

New hires are 69% more likely to stay at an organization with a structured onboarding program. And it makes sense. It makes employees feel like a part of the team from day one, which increases employee morale and has a positive impact on overall employee wellness. 

Training 

In the past few years, VR technology has seen much success around training — and rightly so. Many enterprise organizations are rapidly adopting VR technology not only for training new employees, but also for capturing the tribal knowledge of seasoned workers.

During the panel discussion, Bobby Carlton shared how as baby boomers exit the workplace, they take with them a lot of expertise. VR tools are being used to help to capture their knowledge, which can then be used to train less experienced employees.

This is essential in an industry like manufacturing, where the current skills gap can easily be addressed with VR training. Not only has VR training been associated with elevated retention rates (approximately 80% when compared to 20% with traditional methods), but it also increases the speed to competency for many employees. 

VR training experiences allow employers to recreate scenarios that would be difficult to replicate in real life — like how to deal with an active shooter or a fire outbreak in the cockpit of a plane. It’s much easier to train in an environment where your mistakes don’t have real-life consequences. This reduces the pressure to perform and allows the trainee to better focus on mastery. 

While enterprise VR hardware is quite costly today, there is new hardware that is making it more affordable. For example, Jay Fraser from HP was showcasing their new Reverb VR headset. Our co-founder Dave Beck also urged the audience at TechLearn 2019 to consider the long-term value of the technology.

Investing in VR training should be approached strategically by organizations. Deciding on the right use case, delivering a pilot program, and devising the true ROI for your organization is critical for successfully adding VR to your training program. 


Interested in learning more about VR training? Check out how Delta Airlines is using this technology to improve employee safety. Read the Story