Virtual reality is, well a reality, and becoming bigger every day. It is on its way to becoming a $30 billion industry by 2021. I think it has great potential as a tool for HR, as I have written before. One of the roadblocks to this happening was the cost of equipment — but Google has solved that for us.
Google has created an inexpensive tool for using Virtual Reality (VR). Called Google Cardboard, it teams with a smart phone to create a virtual reality world that is affordable for any budget. Different styles run from $15 to $40. It is going to be a great sales tool, that allows a vendor to give one to a customer that will allow them to experience their product or service. HR can use it in a similar manner as a recruitment tool. More practically it can be used as an onboarding tool.
I think Cardboard has great potential to be used to walk new employees through life at the company. This whole process could even begin before the employee ever shows up. It would be a great way to conduct an onboarding process with remote employees. You send them Cardboard, have them download the appropriate app and then insert their smart phone into Cardboard.
One huge advantage for doing onboarding with this device is consistency of experience. Each employee sees a consistent program that can tell them about the company. But it can also be customized for each employee. They could meet their colleagues virtually, which would speed the process of acculturalization.
It could be used to speed up the adoption of technology and process as well. New employees could be “walked” through the process of using tools or made familiar with the processes the will encounter during their real work.
Naturally nothing is without a downside. Some people get sick using VR. This could then create a need for a reasonable accommodation.
Some employees don’t have smart phones, though that number is dropping by the day. If they don’t, you have to ask yourself if it is necessary to supply one. That creates a cost issue.
According to the newsletter Shaping Tomorrow some of the developments we will see in VR include:
- The trend toward personalized video experiences will pave the way for the adoption of virtual reality (VR) as the next screen.
- Virtual Reality will create more opportunities for people to learn together in a shared experience.
- Virtual Reality will continue to drive deeper social connections.
- Virtual Reality will be the next generation’s Facebook.
- VR devices are going to be too compelling not to bring into the office.
- Enterprises will likely derive considerable benefits from using AR and VR to transform operational models and long-standing fieldwork and training processes.
- VR headsets can take people to places they could never visit because of cost issues or feasibility.
- VR will eventually work its way to something as small as a pair of glasses.
The Human Resources professional needs to aware of developing trends in VR in order to be prepared to utilize it as a tool in the appropriate situation. Fortunately Google Cardboard has pretty much eliminate the cost of entry into to marketplace.