5 Ways to enhance your onboarding program with VR

Appical Team
Khrystyna Fedoruk
October 12, 2023
min read
Table of Contents
Starting a new job can be overwhelming for new hires, especially with the need to quickly adapt to a new environment and learn new skills. Traditional onboarding methods may fall short of providing an engaging and effective learning experience. However, advancements in technology have opened doors to new possibilities. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of using VR in onboarding and provide 5 actionable tips to leverage it for a successful onboarding experience.

First things first, what does VR mean? Virtual reality (VR) refers to the creation of a simulated digital environment that can be experienced through the use of different devices like VR headsets, tablets, and smartphones. It immerses users in a world/setting of their choosing, providing a sense of presence and interaction with their surroundings.

Why use VR in onboarding? 

No more boring handbooks and dry storytelling - help your employees be engaged from day one and create the most innovative onboarding program. By utilizing VR you can: 

  • Save costs in the long term: No need to rely on physical training facilities anymore, as VR can create a hyperrealistic simulation, which will provide the employee with the same experience while cutting transportation, rent, and other costs. 
  • Improve onboarding efficiency: VR optimizes onboarding by providing standardized, scalable, and consistent training across locations, eliminating the need for creating new training materials. This saves time and resources while ensuring all employees receive high-quality training. 
  • Increase engagement: Immersive experience can captivate employees' attention, and enhance knowledge retention by transferring them to a different setting and focusing their attention on the task to create a memorable experience.
  • Create an emotional connection: Emotions play a significant role in how people connect, understand, and retain information. When individuals are emotionally engaged, they form deeper connections and have a better understanding and memory of the subject matter. Actually, 75% of learners who participated in a VR course on diversity and inclusion, said that they had a moment of realization that they weren't as inclusive as they had assumed, before the course (PwC).
  • Enhance focus: Did you know that social media users who consume content constantly, have a shorter attention span than a goldfish? According to Microsoft, from 2000 to 2013 the attention span has decreased from 12 to 8 seconds (while the goldfish has 9 seconds!). However, VR can be used to block real-life distractions and immerse your employees in learning, which can help with concentration. 
51% of companies are either in the process of integrating VR into their strategy or have already built VR into at least one dedicated line of business. ~ The PwC 2022 US Metaverse Survey 

5 Ways to integrate VR into your onboarding process

Previously, we discussed the significant benefits of implementing VR into your onboarding program. Now, let's take the next step! Here, we present you with 5 innovative ways to enhance your onboarding program using VR technology:

1. Give your new colleagues an office tour

Just imagine being able to explore your future workplace before even starting your first day! With VR, you can virtually walk through the office, locate your desk, and get a preview of what lies ahead. Tools like Warp VR can create experiences to fully immerse your new hires in a different setting and show them what lies ahead.

This in turn will significantly reduce first-day stress and allow new employees to feel more prepared and confident. The first day of stress won’t be associated with being unable to locate your team or finding the dining hall anymore!

2. Engage in realistic job simulations 

Utilize VR to create realistic simulations for job-specific tasks, allowing employees to practice and refine their skills without the risk of real-life consequences. Imagine a pilot using VR to train essential flying skills and simulate emergencies, or doctors practicing complex surgeries and handling rare complications that are challenging to recreate in reality. By using VR, employees can safely practice essential job skills in potentially hazardous situations, mitigating risks and prioritizing their safety.

3. Incorporate gamification elements

Imagine if you could turn your handbooks and PowerPoint slides into an interactive game show or quiz. VR will help you incorporate gamification elements such as rewards, leaderboards, and progress tracking into onboarding experiences to enhance engagement and motivation. By making the training process gamified, employees are more likely to stay actively involved and motivated to complete their training promptly. VR's gamification elements not only increase engagement but also improve knowledge retention and the application of learned skills in real-world scenarios.

4. Improve team building

VR tools can help new hires get to know the team and your company culture faster. Put your employees in role play situations, to help them adapt and learn more efficiently. Or create a virtual environment in which they can sit down with the CEO to hear about the company's mission and how they operate or engage with new colleagues in a 3D space.

By getting to know their colleagues and the culture in a virtual environment before they even start, new hires can eliminate awkwardness and seamlessly integrate into their teams, creating a more collaborative and productive work experience from day one.

5. Develop soft skills 

Soft skills always take time to develop in a new setting, even if some of them are natural for a person. VR can create a scenario where a new employee can prepare for the challenges ahead. For example, your employee can have a unique opportunity to practice giving a speech at home and get immediate feedback, as VR can create non-verbal feedback imitating the real setting. 

VR can also work wonders for improving your employees' customer skills. The virtual scenarios provide a safe space for them to experiment with new approaches and tactics, all while minimizing those dreaded risks. This use of VR is an effective way to improve customer satisfaction and decrease handling times. Having such experience will empower new hires with greater confidence and reduce stress while minimizing errors and risks in the workplace. 

[.callout-small] Check out this blog by Warp VR for more ways to develop employee soft skills with VR [.callout-small]

Create an immersive onboarding experience

Incorporating VR into onboarding programs is a game-changer for organizations looking to enhance the learning experience and accelerate the success of new employees. By leveraging VR, you can create immersive onboarding experiences that increase engagement, facilitate skill development, and ensure a smooth transition for employees into their new roles.

Give it a try and impress your new hires from day one! For more information on how to use VR in your onboarding program, check out our immersive onboarding one-pager.

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