HR Management & Compliance, Technology

How Lowe’s Leverages Virtual Reality to Train Employees

Virtual reality (VR) training has become increasingly popular as companies in a variety of industries—from law enforcement to parcel delivery— recognize the cost and safety benefits of using VR to simulate real-world situations for not-ready-for-prime-time trainees. Home improvement and appliance powerhouse Lowe’s has just recently begun using VR to train employees.

From Customer to Employee VR

Why is that interesting? Because Lowe’s has about a year of experience utilizing virtual reality to train its customers. In March of 2017, Lowe’s announced its Holoroom How To program, a virtual reality skills clinic available on demand as part of the company’s immersive design and visualization tool Holoroom. The genesis of the VR endeavor was to instill confidence in potential do-it-yourselfers (read: customers) to tackle seemingly intimidating home improvement projects.
According to the company’s press release, “Lowe’s research shows that not all customers have the confidence or skills needed to confidently embark on a do-it-yourself (DIY) project. The Holoroom How To experience provides a more effective training tool so customers can learn DIY on their own terms. When users put on the virtual reality headset and hold the controller in each hand, they will be immersed in a DIY project—such as tiling a shower—and given step-by-step instructions to complete the task.”

VR Training Boosts Retention

The project was a success. According to Chuck Martin writing for Media Post, “Lowe’s found that customers have about a 40% greater retention of steps to complete a project when using the virtual reality training.” Lowe’s didn’t take long to recognize the potential for training its own employees. “More than 400 employees have tested the VR platform and more than 90% have reported that the VR training would help them better serve customers, according to a statement from Lowe’s,” Martin writes.
 
Lowe’s is a Fortune 500 company operating well over 2,000 stores and employing nearly 300,000 people. The fact that they have not only embraced but doubled down on their foray into virtual reality training should make companies around the globe take notice at the viability of this rapidly evolving and increasingly cost-effective technology.