Research suggests the American skills gap is real. Before the pandemic, employers left 7 million jobs unfilled. Managers set the standard high for candidates. But then, they don’t find someone they like. So instead, they don’t hire. The pandemic has exasperated this issue.
Yet, data suggests companies should invest in training their employees rather than waiting for the perfect candidate. Today, many businesses use virtual reality (VR) technology to train new hires. If you’re wondering how to use VR in business training, this article is for you.
Let’s look at some VR training examples businesses use to build their employees’ soft skills.
What are Soft Skills?
Soft skills are personal attributes that relate to how you work. They are crucial to your success at any job. Some other terms that relate to soft skills are:
- Interpersonal (people) skills
- Communication skills
- Non-technical skills
- Non-cognitive skills
- Transferable skills
- Listening skills
Employers desire soft skills because they aren’t related to a specific job. A candidate with soft skills makes them adaptable. Additionally, almost all jobs require employees to engage with others in some way.
Soft skills determine how well one can work with others. Common soft skills examples include:
- Conflict resolution
- Creative and critical thinking
- Time management
- Work ethic
Employers look for both soft and hard skills when hiring. But they stress soft skills because they are less defined and apply to all jobs. Plus, they are harder to learn. On the other hand, employers can teach hard skills through schooling or on-the-job training and measure them with specific tasks.
VR Training Examples
Businesses are starting to catch onto the idea of using VR technology for soft skills training. Companies already use VR to teach hard skills and job skills simulations. A typical example is using flight simulators to train pilots.
But there are plenty of VR training examples for soft skills too.
Coaching and Employee Evaluation
Employees can use VR technology to learn about coaching. In the activity, an employee observes their coworker handle a stressful activity. After, the employee calls the coworker into their office and chooses a response based on their behavior.
The activity is great for management and leaders. They need strong, soft skills and confidence to effectively lead their teams. In addition, managers can observe how employees react to their responses for the best learning outcomes.
The activity can even use actors at the office to make the experience more realistic.
Further, VR can help managers evaluate employees. It teaches them how to engage in the evaluation and ask the right questions. Then, managers can better allocate training resources and match skill profiles to jobs in the company.
Diversity and Inclusion Training
Diversity and inclusion training is a must for every business. Recognizing unconscious biases in the workplace and creating equitable systems is something you should already be doing. Using VR to train employees on the matter is excellent.
Here is one scenario. The employee sits at a conference table with other coworkers and observes their conversations. The employee notices one coworker make a derogatory comment toward another coworker. The employee in the simulation needs to decide how to respond to the comment.
The situation teaches employees empathy towards others. But, more importantly, it teaches how to develop racial awareness, and how to handle microaggressions.
Retail Training and Customer Service
Using a VR activity, retail employees can practice interacting with customers. For example, they can practice processing returns, answering customer questions, and handling upset customers virtually before taking on real customers.
The activity lets employees practice their customer service skills and not feel embarrassed to make mistakes. This also helps the reputation of the company. In addition, after the training, employees will feel more confident addressing customers on their first day on the job.
Any customer service skills are great to practice using VR. People can be rude! Learning how to listen actively, remain calm, and resolve problems under stress is vital. With VR, employees can practice these skills comfortably before being thrust in front of real customers.
Advantages of Using VR
Training employees with VR technology has several benefits for businesses. A comprehensive study by PwC in June 2021 showed employees were:
- Four times faster to train than in the classroom
- 275% more confident applying the new skills
- Almost four times more emotionally connected to the content
- Four times more focused than other e-learning peers
While these numbers may come as a surprise, they aren’t! Researchers have been publishing positive reports on VR training for years now.
A 2017 Stanford study found using VR technology makes people more empathetic to each other. The study let participants experience not being able to afford their home. They interacted with the environment to try to save their home but often ended up homeless.
It was so successful that they made a film about it called “Becoming Homeless.”
When meeting in person isn’t always possible, VR is an excellent solution to keep employees’ soft skills sharp. It’s practical but also cost-effective at scale. Larger companies will save money using VR for employee training.
The best benefit of using VR technology is eliminating the fear of making mistakes. The VR learning environment feels real but doesn’t have any consequences when employees mess up. As a result, no one is negatively affected by the training.
This makes learning outcomes much more substantial than in the classroom or through other e-learning platforms. And, as some of the topics using VR learning are sensitive, it’s an excellent way to ensure employees completely understand what employers expect of them.
Use VR Training In Your Business
After seeing these VR training examples, VR technology is the new normal for soft skills training. The benefits far outway the costs of using these simulations. VR training is quickly becoming the standard for businesses in any industry.
To get started with training solutions for your employees, call us at beLithe. We offer unique training and coaching tools to help your employees succeed at their maximum ability.