As technology continues to evolve, so does the way we connect and work with others. One of the newest advances in technology is the metaverse, a virtual world where users can interact with each other and with digital objects in a three-dimensional space. Because this immersive world has tremendous potential to transform the way we work, future-minded HR professionals are actively exploring its potential, and technology companies are helping them understand the possibilities.
Meta, Microsoft, Google, and Apple are just a few well-known innovators that are investing heavily in metaverse technology. Fortunately, these players and others are prioritizing workplace collaboration solutions. For example, Meta Horizon Workrooms and Microsoft Mesh VR technology are both designed to help teams collaborate in the same virtual room, regardless of an individual’s physical location.
The upside is significant for vendors developing business-related metaverse tools and technologies. In fact, the enterprise virtual reality market is expected to grow from $829 million in 2018 to $4.26 billion this year. So, it’s easy to see why Bill Gates says he is confident that work teams will soon shift from Zoom calls to Microsoft’s more advanced 3-D experience.
5 Ways HR Can Leverage the Metaverse
Because the metaverse makes it possible for employees to interact with each other and with digital objects in a virtual environment, the experience is more engaging and immersive than traditional video conferencing or messaging platforms. This offers HR a range of possibilities, from virtual recruitment and onboarding to team-building activities and training sessions. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most promising HR applications…
1. Workforce Inclusion
One of the strongest benefits of the metaverse is its ability to enable a more inclusive work environment. In the virtual world, employees can interact with each other regardless of their physical location. This makes it easier for remote workers to feel included and engaged. This, in turn, opens the door to a much more diverse and inclusive work culture, with better opportunities for collaboration and innovation.
Another potential HR application for the metaverse is virtual recruitment. With the ability to create a three-dimensional space, companies can create a virtual office or work environment that helps candidates experience what it’s like to work within their organization. For example, employers can offer virtual tours, interactive experiences, and the ability to interact directly with current employees. This means candidates will discover a more authentic, immersive recruitment process. As a result, employers are likely to attract higher-quality candidates and accelerate the talent acquisition process.
HR can also leverage the metaverse for virtual onboarding. Instead of a traditional one-dimensional orientation process, new hires can enter a virtual environment that simulates their new workspace and introduces them to their team and their role. For example, this could include virtual tours and interactive experiences, as well as the ability to ask questions and interact directly with colleagues. Because this onboarding approach is highly engaging and effective, it can help new hires more quickly understand and embrace the work culture, while accelerating time-to-competency and ultimately increasing employee retention.
The metaverse can also help transform the way organizations conduct team-building activities. With the ability to create an immersive virtual environment, HR professionals can create a range of interactive experiences that promote trust and teamwork. This can include virtual games, simulations, and challenges that require communication, collaboration, and group problem-solving. By offering far more engaging digital team-building exercises, organizations can continuously develop stronger, more effective teams.
Training is another area where the metaverse can make a significant impact. By creating a virtual learning environment, HR professionals can deliver training simulations that develop employee skills and competencies in a more engaging, immersive way. This can include simulations of real-world scenarios that make it possible for employees to practice, test, and build knowledge and skills in a safe, controlled environment. It’s also a more convenient way for distributed employees to access training from a distance, rather than requiring them to travel to a central in-person facility. As a result, this approach can improve training efficiency and cost-effectiveness without compromising learning outcomes.
Concerns About HR in the Metaverse
Although the metaverse presents numerous opportunities, HR professionals must also consider potential challenges. For example:
1. Safety, Privacy, and Data Security
Employers must ensure the privacy and safety of employees who participate in the virtual world. This includes protecting sensitive information and preventing inappropriate behavior and harassment. HR professionals will need to anticipate potential behavioral and data management issues that can arise in a virtual world. They’ll also need to develop relevant procedures, policies, and guidelines to prevent these issues. In addition, they’ll need to provide ongoing communication and training to ensure that employees understand these expectations, as well as the consequences of any harmful actions.
Another concern focuses on the need for employers to ensure that virtual environments are accessible to all employees, regardless of their physical abilities. HR professionals will need to consider how virtual environments can be designed, deployed, and maintained to accommodate diverse needs over time. This can ensure that employers remain in compliance with standards that promote equal access and participation in the virtual world.
A Final Note on HR in the Metaverse
Clearly, the metaverse has tremendous potential to transform the way we work, connect, and collaborate with others. HR professionals are beginning to explore possible use cases, from virtual recruitment and onboarding to team-building activities and training sessions.
However, there are also potential issues and concerns employers cannot afford to ignore, including privacy and accessibility. These are complex issues that require careful consideration and technical expertise. But with a thoughtful approach, HR professionals can leverage the metaverse to create a more engaging and rewarding work environment that supports employee growth and development for all.