VR Corporate Training: How Virtual Reality is Helping Businesses Adapt to the Changing WorldWritten by JC Gonzalez
Curious about VR corporate training and looking to explore? You are not alone. Many companies are already using VR in their training programs and seeing impressive returns. If you don’t consider this an option for your own training programs, you’re at risk of falling behind and missing out on new young talent.
Take a look at how virtual reality (VR) is helping businesses in several different industries adapt to our changing world. To start, you’ll see why businesses are turning to VR for training and which areas are best suited for it. Next, we introduce you to companies across several industries and how they are training their teams using VR. And finally, we will review some barriers to entry and how these are being addressed.
Why Businesses Switch to VR Training
The Old Ways
Training employees is a challenge for businesses. You may have sat in meeting rooms watching videos discussing sensitive topics before. These videos feature dramatizations depicting the subject matter. An instructor steps in to break it down after each skit. At the end of the video, you may take a short test on the covered material.
Later, we moved the material to the web with few changes to the training process itself. Employees stream the videos and take the tests online in a web interface. You then receive your certificate of completion on the spot or via email. And you’re done!
How They Fall Short
There are several issues with the process above but it all results in a failure to retain the information provided.
First, paying attention to these sorts of classes takes a lot out of the average person. Employees doze off or open another browser window to stay active. Conditions that can affect this include the time of the session, the type of work your employees usually do, and the length of each session.
The real problem is the training method. It uses the antiquated method of schooling and training: memorization. Watching something happening on a screen is not the same as having complete understanding.
Training in VR
This is why virtual reality training is so important. It addresses the two largest problems found with traditional employee training programs.
If your employees work on their feet, say on a sales floor, sitting them down to view a video slows down their rhythm. Through no fault of their own, they are less likely to pay attention and will lose interest in the topic.
Through VR, employees can train on a virtual sales floor. They can also see the other people doing the same training. Employees are no longer watching actors but instead becoming participants in the events.
Once in VR, employees remain engaged. Their normal work rhythm is not interrupted and the training feels more like their normal work day. Rather than memorizing, they learn through trial and error without any real consequences to getting it wrong along the way.
Next, let’s look at memorization. Once in VR, you are not memorizing information. You are experiencing the training first hand.
Are you learning mechanical steps to repair complex equipment? You can learn by actually taking those steps in a VR space. Employees can redo exercises until they take the steps without stopping to think about them.
This applies to all areas of VR training. Employees learn to deliver tough news, operate vehicles or machinery, and more. In VR, your employees learn by doing, not memorizing. This mindset is at the core of all Edstutia content.
Another benefit of learning by doing is its efficiency. One recent study shows when companies adopt VR training, employee training time drops dramatically. One example of this is Walmart’s highly documented transition to VR. In one particular training exercise, the training time dropped from eight hours to only 15 minutes.
Where VR Corporate Training Is Most Useful
Even if you see the benefits, you may be wondering how to know if your business should shift to VR training. Every business can experience benefits from updating their training methods. These are the five areas best suited for VR training.
1. Dangerous Work
If your employees’ daily activities are dangerous, VR is a better, safer way to train. There’s no longer a need to put lives in danger for the sake of training. Let’s look at an extreme case: military defense.
Military equipment manufacturer Raytheon Technologies uses VR to prepare soldiers for tense situations. Upon completion, trainees go into the field with knowledge of what to do in the event of enemy fire or similar threats.
Firefighters use VR training programs like FLAIM to train safely. Setting controlled fires carries its own risk. The most experienced firefighters can lose control of a planned burn on a windy day. A training session can easily become a disaster.
These examples may be extreme cases but hazardous jobs are all around us. VR training works for armed security, hazardous waste management, and many other industries.
2. Soft Skills
As an example, companies can create team building exercises in VR. The exercise can consist of a simple project in which members must work together to complete it. On the other hand, it can be an elaborate escape room requiring team cooperation in order to find the way out.
Soft skills training like this is especially vital in corporations with team members spread across departments, buildings, or even countries.
Whether your company is in medicine, transportation, or finance, there are processes involved with doing various jobs across any company. VR corporate training allows a safe space for employees to learn these processes without costing the company any revenue. Troubleshoot your network incorrectly and you could lose connection or valuable data. Manufacturing defects lead to returns, lost customers, and damaged product perception.
4. Customer Service
Your employees may love to help people but difficult customers are a reality. The most helpful employees may be ill-prepared for a belligerent customer releasing their anger on them.
It’s your responsibility to prepare your team to deal with negative situations before they occur. Ditch the company handbook in favor of an immersive VR session. When this occurs on the sales floor, your team will be ready to de-escalate the situation.
5. Sensitive Conversations
Topics like discrimination, harassment, or discipline can be difficult for many employees. Help your team by giving them the ability to understand these first hand before it’s’ too late. The wrong approach to any of these situations can make it worse for everyone involved.
Some companies are using VR for harassment training. Full immersion in this environment can be troubling. Your best option is to put employees in the role of a bystander as opposed to a victim or aggressor.
After training, employees should understand the damaging effects of harassment. They will also realize the importance of not being a silent bystander who allows the events to continue.
Businesses Already Using VR Training
Ford World Rally Team
The rally racing branch of the Ford Motor Company teamed up with ESE Entertainment to develop a rally simulator using the Ford Fiesta World Rally Car (WRC). The simulator provides an authentic rally driving experience and serves as a training aid to help drivers “prepare for the next generation of Hybrid Rally Cars.” This is according to Konrad Wasiela, CEO of ESE.
Ford Motor Company
When Ford announced its new all-electric Mustang, they turned to Bosch to develop an immersive way of training their service technicians. Ford technicians would have to understand the new Mustang Mach-E before having a fully operational model. The result was a VR training tool that according to Dave Johnson, director of Ford service engineering operations, “allows technicians to understand the components and steps required to service these high-voltage systems, then confidently perform diagnostics and maintenance.”
“The virtual reality training solution is about new technology that builds efficiency. By improving the diagnostic process, technicians are able to perform maintenance and make repairs faster and more easily.”– Geoff Mee, Bosch Director of Operations
Dermalogica is a skin care brand that grew out of a desire to provide skin therapists with skin care products and education. Earlier this year, they introduced Natalia, their virtual reality trainer. Natalia is part of Dermalogica’s VR simulation.
In the simulation, Dermalogica’s 100,000 skin therapists witness Natalia simulate the aging process and various skin conditions. While the goal of any business is to generate sales, Dermalogica understands the value of investing in your global team.
“Beauty brands usually invest highly in consumer-facing assets, but we did this because one of our core values is education. Arming skin therapists with a high level of education will allow them to be more knowledgeable about the product and, at the end of the day, increase business.”– Tabby Zamani, Dermalogica Head of Global Education
Bank of America
Bank of America is the first financial institution to announce it will train its workforce of 50,000 people using VR. The program, launching later this year, will consist of 20 VR simulations. Each simulation will focus on strengthening customer relationships, difficult conversations, and empathy.
The program is being rolled out on the heels of a pilot program that included 400 employees. At the end of the pilot, a staggering 97% of participants felt more comfortable performing their tasks.
When thinking of new ways to train their cooks, KFC turned to the gamification aspects of VR. Part of the training for their team of 19,000 cooks around the country consists of an escape-room style training course. Cooks practice five preparation steps of the chicken with the 11 herbs and spices: Inspect, rinse, bread, rack, and pressure-fry.
This session entitled “The Hard Way,” was introduced in 2017. KFC has since added VR to its regional manager training program, franchise meetings, and employee onboarding.
Oil and gas operators face dangerous conditions. That’s why ExxonMobil created a VR space that simulates a liquified natural gas tanker. Thanks to this simulation, employees can learn the steps needed to solve problems on a tanker before boarding one.
The simulation includes possible scenarios from mundane daily tasks to the more complex. Facing these issues in a real tanker has significantly higher risks. In the simulation, employees can experiment and learn from their own trial and error process.
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
When it comes to life and death training, you have to think of medical emergency care. At Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Joshua Sherman, MD, an emergency medicine physician, set out to improve training for emergency medical personnel.
“While everyone here at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is trained in pediatrics, when you consider the training provided to EMS professionals – only one percent of their time is spent on pediatrics.”– Joshua Sherman, MD
Sherman is collaborating with Oculus to create a VR children resuscitation training program. It simulates a code-blue emergency room complete with all the hospital noise and commotion. The simulation goes as far as including the patient’s mother pleading for help during the entire process.
Including the stressors of the environment is one of the key benefits of VR training that cannot be replicated in any other type of program.
Barriers to Entry
While the benefits of VR corporate training are clear, there are still barriers to entry for many companies. Some of the most common barriers are listed below. We encourage you to use them in your own research when determining if adopting VR training is right for your business.
Cost of VR Corporate Training
Investing in a VR program does not come cheap. Not only do you have to design a VR world for your training needs but you also have a hardware investment to consider, which differs by job.
Fire fighters can use the FLAIM system which includes a hand-held hose accessory, backpack, and face mask. Each piece of equipment works with the software to recreate the conditions of a brush or structure fire.
Soft skills training only requires investing in a VR headset with hand controls like the Oculus Quest system. The trick is to identify what your company will need.
As for software, the best thing you can do is prepare. Identify your goals for investing in a VR system. What is your current instruction lacking and what would you like to get out of upgrading to VR corporate training?
Once you know your goal, you can create KPIs around them to include when you reach out to potential VR training providers like Edstutia. Some examples of VR training KPIs include information retention rate and time spent in training.
Once you have these goals and metrics in mind and find a program that exceeds these expectations, you’ll be able to justify the costs.
Studies show between 40% and 70% of people feel the effects of motion sickness when using VR. Companies must take great care to not put their own employees in unhealthy conditions. This is especially important in the case of VR training since we’ve talked extensively about one of its key benefits being a safe training space.
As a safety measure, it may be necessary at the onset of a transition to VR corporate training, to offer an opt-out for team members who are unable to participate. This means keeping an alternative training method that does not include VR. For example, while Edstutia training is designed for VR, mobile and desktop access will also be available.
Pay attention to design and reduce unnecessary movement. For example, if the session takes place in an office, there is no reason for the office to be in a downtown skyscraper. Set the office at ground level and minimize other distractions that don’t add to the training program.
Face it, humans are primarily creatures of habit. Changes can be scary and introducing VR can be intimidating for some. Some of your older employees may even feel introducing VR is a way to single out and push the older generation out of your organization.
This is where your own leadership skills have to kick in. It’s up to you to ease these concerns. Assure the team that you want all employees to come along for the ride.
Your employees will be more capable because of the training. Even the most reticent may thank you for giving them the opportunity to try new technology. Comments like, “I can’t wait to tell my grandkids what I did at work today” have been known to be uttered after VR corporate training sessions.
VR Corporate Training: Wrap-Up
It should be clear by now that virtual reality is no longer a technology of the future. VR is used to train employees safely and efficiently. We encourage you to review your own training efforts and identify areas that could be improved by VR training.
Edstutia’s VR corporate training solutions are designed around your needs. Training sessions can occur in our fully virtual campus – one of the first in the country. We can also create unique environments and experiences designed specifically for you and your team. Contact us today to schedule a session with one of our training experts who can show you how Edstutia can improve your training program.