Why Are We Only Just Starting To Use VR To Train Staff?

Why Are We Only Just Starting To Use VR To Train Staff?
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In this opinion piece, PHD’s news business and marketing manager, Chloe Hooper (pictured below), argues why all agencies should be embracing VR to change the way they operate internally.

Chloe Hooper

Virtual reality (VR) is something most of us have had exposure to, but how many of us are really exploiting its potential to grow our people and benefit ourselves?

As a client service industry, we are always seeking the latest technologies and innovations for our clients’ campaigns to ensure they are at the forefront of the constantly changing world we are operating in. But lately, I have started to wonder if we are missing out on its incredible potential in key areas such as staff training and engagement.

As part of PHD’s MERGE week – dedicated to exploring the closing gap between technology and humanity – we set out on a mission to challenge our clients’ thinking, as well as challenging ourselves to take advantage of some of the technologies available to benefit our staff. This led us to introduce VR presentation training.

We gave all our employees the opportunity to practice presenting to a boardroom of 10 senior execs, as well as speaking in front of 2,000 people at the Sydney Opera House. Not only was this an inexpensive exercise compared to other training opportunities we usually run, but it opened opportunities our people wouldn’t get to experience in ‘the real world’.

I have spoken with many agencies about this, and for them this was a new, exciting concept. It got me thinking. Have client service industries neglected technology internally? I am starting to believe we have.

So, how can you take advantage of technological advances in your organisation if you’re not already doing so?

In addition to VR training, TechCrunch recently released Vocalytics, which uses machine learning to analyse your public speaking performance and provide feedback on your body language. As non-verbal communication is 93 per cent of what people take in from you, this feels like something we could all benefit from.

There is also the potential to use VR to refine our hiring skills, practice crucial conversations or upskill our staff using WHS scenario training, which eliminates the health risks of training in real-world situations.

With the rise of international mobility, there’s also a huge untapped opportunity to give overseas candidates the ability to take a walk around your Australian office and experience our culture.

VR can also be adopted to promote wellness in the workplace, taking employees away from their desks to a new world which can help with ideation and creativity.

Better yet, when using VR you have people’s full attention. I can’t recall the last time this happened in a training session I organised.

I think it’s high time we apply new technologies to our people initiatives. There’s so much untapped potential in VR alone, and probably a lot more out there.

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