The Future of Virtual HR

Numerous technological advancements have made it possible for companies to reduce costs and time needed to handle all these repetitive, menial tasks by automating them. Although in certain fields of work the human touch still can’t be fully replaced by hi-tech, the latest developments in AI and machine learning have shown that robots are already capable of performing activities which require certain cognitive functions. Virtual Reality is one of the most interesting advanced technologies, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimates that by 2022 this could become a $150 billion industry.  Although the first thing that comes to mind upon mentioning VR are video games, this technology has already started to transform other industries, including HR.

Virtual recruiting

One of the most important, and at the same time challenging, tasks of any HR department is to find the best candidate for a particular position. This is a great responsibility because many times it turns out that the candidate isn’t exactly a perfect fit despite their impeccable education and experience and this scenario is usually the result of a company’s failure to provide potential employees with a sense of what it’s like to be working for them. In order to prevent such unfortunate mismatches, companies should tell stories about themselves and create narratives to showcase their goals and values. Curating their content on social media by sharing compelling blog posts, appealing free business stock images, as well as offering a peek behind the curtain, helps companies create brand awareness and attract candidates’ attention.

VR is another, even more, powerful recruiting medium as it allows organizations to immerse candidates into some real-life work situations, offer them virtual tours of their offices, and get them to experience their company culture in person. That way, it’s easier for candidates to realize whether they can picture themselves working in such an environment. The British Army took recruitment to a whole new level by implementing the VR experience. This cutting-edge method gave a 66% boost to their recruitment applications.

Virtual on-boarding

Another set of challenges emerges once the perfect candidate has been picked. Namely, showing them the ropes, and filling them in on all the rules, regulations, and work procedures can be a tedious and time-consuming task both for the HR department and new employees. Let’s not forget that an increasing number of companies also offer telecommuting and remote jobs, which makes this process even more difficult. Again, the synergy of VR and HR solve this obstacle in a seamless manner, as virtual on-boarding tools are extremely practical, effective, and engaging. Besides these technical aspects, there’s also an equally important factor of socialization and collaboration of remote workers.

The breaking in of new members of the team who are not physically present is essential for establishing the dynamics of the group and boosting productivity. If we bear in mind that 43% of the U.S. employees work remotely, it’s clear that virtual on-boarding can be the answer to the frequent lack of communication with their co-workers and managers. Without this feedback, remote workers tend to feel disconnected and alienated, which leads to disengagement, and the role of VR in team-building and simulating face-to-face communication is immense.

Virtual training

High-quality training is another step crucial for attracting and keeping a skilled workforce, and that’s where VR shows its true potential. Instead of opting for expensive courses that take up a considerable amount of time, easily accessible virtual coaches and tools can be even more effective and efficient when it comes to preparing your employees for their jobs. One of the best examples is that by NASA, as the agency has already “sent” their astronauts to Mars, where they learned how to operate rovers, all with the help of the Oculus Rift. Certain professions require training procedures during which mistakes can be extremely dangerous, which is why Boeing uses VR in order to safely train pilots to fly their state-of-the-art aircraft, the 787 Dreamliner.

Apart from these highly-sophisticated technical uses, virtual reality can also help HR organize training for topics such as diversity, mobbing, or various kinds of harassment, and help employees experience all these situations first-hand and be able to understand, handle, and resolve a wide array of workplace issues.

Virtual reality is a game-changer for many industries, but it its true potential can already be observed in HR, where its role will become even more indispensable in the future.