With more and more offices moving to a hybrid office model, some companies are eliminating their elaborate in-person training and onboarding processes. In many cases, the employees are given their equipment, have a call with their boss and are on their way. Unfortunately, skipping in-person orientations is not always a successful way to start off a new relationship with workers. Instead, companies need to rethink the onboarding process to find a way to effectively train their employees in a welcoming, cohesive way. Enter virtual reality (VR) and its capabilities to help onboard employees.
Benefits of Virtual Onboarding
Incorporating VR into the onboarding process allows you to keep all the core elements of a successful orientation while still allowing your employees to work primarily from home. VR allows the employee to have a sense of belonging and community, and to get a sense for what the office will be like if he or she works there in the future. A good VR employee orientation prepares workers to find everything they need.
Similar to gamifying onboarding, VR helps provide a positive and engaging onboarding experience for new employees. This type of onboarding has been shown to make workers 69% more likely to stay with the company for at least three years. Since the hiring process is time-consuming and expensive, taking the time to create a good VR experience can be worth it if it improves employee satisfaction and longevity.
Here Are 3 Tips to Considering When Adding VR Into Your Onboarding Program
1. Planning is Crucial
During the planning process, set the goals of the orientation. What do you want the employee to know before, learn during, and be able to do after? The answers to these questions will guide the entire process, from the storyboard and script to the scenarios you include on the virtual tour. The answers will also help you build structure into the onboarding while supporting your organization's goals.
Before designing the VR experience, ask yourself what you want everything to sound like, look like, and feel like. The key to a successful VR training is to make everything feel as authentic as possible, and having answers to those questions will help make that possible.
2. Setting the Scene (Literally)
Think about where you want your employees to start on their first day and go from there. Are they at the front door? At reception? Start your virtual training exactly where you would start an in-person tour, and go from there.
You will want to take 360 video of every area you use for the experience. Don’t worry about the area looking perfect. In this case, real is better, so embrace the personalized desks and bits of clutter that make things authentic.
You can include the background noise of the office too. Subtle chatter or sound from the manufacturing floor all add to the VR experience when everything is put together. Find ways to add as many details as possible, since that is what will help create a feeling of reality. Additionally, include a real voiceover of the tour, rather than using AI, since it helps the employee feel more welcome.
3. Include Key Players
Who would new employees be introduced to if the training was in person? Include a video message from every individual you may want to incorporate into the training. Members of the C-Suite, managers, or team leads could be introduced. Make it fun––for example, you could virtually bump into the CEO in the hallway during the tour, or a desk phone could ring, with a recorded message from a manager that plays when the phone is clicked on or picked up.
Common Pitfalls to Avoid
As you set up your onboarding, keep in mind a few common pitfalls:
Having the narrators set too close to the screen so the user feels like they are dealing with a “close talker.” Remember to leave some breathing room.
Camera height, which can make the user feel too tall or too short while viewing the content. Awkward height differences will quickly take your viewer out of the immersive feel.
Moving the camera while filming can create a roller coaster effect, making the user feel queasy. Use a tripod to avoid shaky film.
Not giving the learner an active role in the process. Incorporate some spots where the new employee chooses what room to go in or who to talk to next.
Get Started, You’ve Got This!
Hopefully, these tips help you feel more confident with creating an onboarding experience using virtual reality. Take advantage of the available technology to improve orientation for your new employees and help them feel more included in the company. Done right, a more immersive onboarding experience will improve engagement, provide better training and build your company culture.