Companies have a training problem. Adequate, impactful training is vital for a successful business, but the workforce is changing, and companies are having a difficult time adapting their training programs.
Millennial workers make up a bigger part of the working world than ever before, and Baby Boomers are also a prominent part of the workforce. In fact, for the first time ever, there are currently five generations coexisting in the workplace. That means people from the late 1940s are working alongside peers born in 2003 and beyond.
New generations prefer immediate and/or face-to-face feedback, are motivated by personal growth, and prefer flexible work environments. Organizations are, therefore, facing a more geographically distributed workforce than ever before. All this adds up to a logistical nightmare for HR and learning and development (L&D) teams trying to implement consistent and effective training practices for employees in different locations, age groups, and backgrounds.
Integrating extended reality (XR) training, which includes virtual reality (VR), mixed reality, and augmented reality technology, into processes can be a great way for companies to recruit and retain workers of all ages and backgrounds. Companies spend a lot of time and money on training processes, and XR can significantly cut costs: According to recent research, businesses can save as much as $13.5 billion by implementing XR training. XR training also enables companies to make employee learning more engaging, which can improve onboarding and retention.
While most industries can benefit from XR, there are specific sectors where it can be especially advantageous. Here are two industries that can implement XR training in order to better engage and educate their workforce:
XR offers an effective opportunity for insurance companies to innovate their training curriculum. There are dozens of ways XR training modules can address claims adjusting and underwriting, negotiation and conflict resolution with vendors and policyholders, and much more. VR, in particular, has been proven to provide more effective training based on higher information retention and a higher degree of accuracy in decision-making.
As an example, claims adjusters can use the simulations to learn how to identify, classify, and report on damage in a virtual world with almost endless scenarios—training that can be far less costly and much more dynamic than using an expensive practice facility in limited locations. XR also offers a way for the insurance industry to engage with the incoming workforce, which otherwise may overlook it as a career path. Perhaps most impactful is the forecasted return on investment (ROI) on training a dispersed workforce.
Telecoms is an industry with an inherently distributed workforce servicing customers’ phones, modems, and cable boxes, as well as complex routers and fiber cable for commercial customers. These employees often work in varied environments, ranging from high up on utility poles to server closets in order to install large, heavy hardware. Many also need to interact directly with customers on the job without enough communications training.
An additional challenge is that these employees are located across wide geographic regions in order to service national and international customer bases. As a result, training employees on how to install and service products can be a huge, expensive challenge for onboarding and L&D. The portability of XR allows employers to prep workers for a variety of scenarios wherever they are—no travel necessary.
In part two of this article, we will explore three other industries that can implement XR training to better engage and educate their workforce.
Stephen Fromkin is the Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer at Talespin, an enterprise software solutions company that leverages immersive technology to transform the way global workforces learn, train, and collaborate.