3 Ways VR can Transform Employee Onboarding

Virtual reality is the new toy in the market for organizations looking to create a winning onboarding strategy. It doesn’t matter if you’re an SMB looking to tap into top talent or an enterprise looking to offer personalized onboarding experiences, VR is for everyone. We look at three ways VR can help transform your onboarding program.

What do a 57-storey skyscraper and the average manual onboarding process have in common? They both take 19 days to complete. Yep, that’s right – 19 days! And that’s not all - over 90% of employees decide whether they’ll stay with an organization, or leave in the first six months. Considering this, it’s not surprising that organizations are now looking at technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to create rich, immersive onboarding experiences.

VR and AR are quickly breaking out of the consumer and gaming space and entering the enterprise. Over the past year, companies like SAP, KFC, Wal-Mart, and UPS have been playing with virtual reality, finding creative ways to enhance onboarding experience and improve collaboration. VR provides new employees as close an approximation to their new workplace as they can have without actually needing to be physically present . Think of meeting at your company’s headquarters in Paris, overlooking the breathtaking views of Eiffel Tower, playing a game of mini-golf while brainstorming. Hard to imagine? VR makes this a reality. Candidates can now visualize their career with the company in a 360-degree, 3D experience. Here are 3 ways VR can help transform your onboarding program:

  1. Gamification: VR takes gamification beyond points and badges to offer stunning multi-sensory experiences. While gamification is one of the most effective onboarding techniques, VR takes it up a notch with interactive gamification. Not only can you use VR enabled gamification to better showcase your organization, you can also transform the tedious, long drawn-out onboarding process to create highly engaging, personalized experiences . Imagine, if you could convert your hour-long PowerPoint presentation on company policies into a celebrity quiz show. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

  2. Functional training: Jobs that are particularly dangerous, high-stress or require using expensive machinery/tools, can benefit from virtual training modules. For instance, medical professionals can use VR to simulate specific situations to train new interns or surgeons. VR implementation isn’t just limited to these industries, it can help you onboard and train your sales team, your field service team and the like.

  3. Team Assimilation: One of the key reasons new hires quit within the first six months is often due to the disconnect between the employee and the organization – new hires who don’t feel like a part of the company because of the broken onboarding experience. Most times, team assimilation sessions do not work out the way you’d imagined. This is where VR can really help – think increased interaction between global teams and dispersed employees. With products like Oculus Rift that can pick up and translate body language and other non-verbal cues, you can let new hires experience being welcomed into the organization by the CEO, meet fellow colleagues continents away, and get a glimpse into the culture of the organization.

Apart from the benefits listed above, you can also save a ton of money on sending trainers to field offices or flying out new hires to your corporate HQ. And, depending on the industry, VR training modules can be used for years together. The decreasing cost of VR video creation, wider availability of web-based VR authoring platforms and cheaper headsets, means that everyone from an SMB to a large enterprise can integrate VR into the onboarding process . Integrating VR for Onboarding – Best practices:

  • Begin with shorter VR videos: Jumping right into a 360-degree immersive experience can be a little disorienting for some people. Begin the onboarding process with short VR videos (

  • Make it interactive: Don’t shy away from making creating active VR training simulations. Interactive features like hotspot overlays and voiceover for instructions can help you create a truly immersive experience.

  • Measuring efficacy: Remember, what doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get done. Collect feedback from users on their experiences. VR analytics can provide you with a heat map of where users were focusing within a scene. Like with any UX, improving the VR onboarding experience is an iterative process.

Depending on the number of employees you onboard every year, you can choose multiple distribution methods from Google Cardboard to more premium headset options. Would you try virtual reality for onboarding? Let us know in your comments below.