HR and Recruiting

How companies are using virtual reality to develop employees’ soft skills

How-companies-are-using-virtual-reality-to-develop-employees-soft-skills

Virtual reality (VR) is more than just a game. Access to this technology helps improve employee performance because it allows soft skills audit as well as their training. It is believed that soft skills are helpful for specialists in all spheres, regardless of the type of activity. At the same time, a low level of soft skills can negatively affect the whole company’s image and slow down many essential processes.

The soft skills challenge

We are witnessing a rapid growth of remote job vacancies in 2022, and it applies to more than just software engineers and developers. With technology advancement, we get many opportunities to perform our professional activities from the comfort of our own homes. But unfortunately, this transition from common working interactions to individual engagement can affect workers’ soft skills, and often in the wrong way.

Observing, evaluating, and coaching their soft skills is much easier when workers are in the office. However, difficulties arise when company employees work from home, and frequently they are even in another city or country, separated by distance, language barrier, or time zone.

Today, employers are experiencing an acute shortage of employees with well-developed leadership, teamwork, or basic communication skills. There is also a shortage of creativity, persuasiveness, adaptability, and emotional intelligence. It is because of both the lack of occasions to practice these qualities before employment and the difficulty of learning them while on the job due to circumstances. Introverts are indeed happy in the era of the transition to remote work. 

We cannot claim that office workers don’t face this problem either. The increased amount of work with computers or other gadgets reduces social interaction between office workers. At the same time, there is an urgent need to develop soft skills that everyone will need in the next ten years

Solving the soft skills challenge with VR

Virtual reality constructs a new artificial world transmitted to humans through their senses: sight, hearing, touch, and others. A person can interact with the three-dimensional computerized environment and manipulate objects or perform specific tasks. 

Real-world rooms, objects, and environments can be faithfully replicated in a VR simulator. The VR simulator training requires a virtual reality helmet and scripted content created by the client.

Virtual reality allows employees to learn the skills of negotiating, resolving conflict situations, arguing their position, and communicating it to others. In addition, flexible skills help to work with information, keep up with life, and feel confident in the profession. The advantages of the solution are increased efficiency of training, variability, and adaptability of scenarios, saving time and money on conducting training, saving space, unlimited number of sessions, saving on physical equipment wear and tear.

Soft skills that companies can train with VR

Problem solving

VR has moved from science fiction to an effective tool for learning and development. VR technologies increase the speed of practicing acquired knowledge into skills. Modern VR solutions allow personalizing the learning process for a specific listener. With virtual reality, one can develop management and communication skills.

Although most people consider virtual reality a software engineering trend, it can also be helpful in other industries. For example, VR can be applied to practicing emergency response skills, such as firefighting or first medical aid. Employees can be trained to provide emergency assistance in conditions as close to dangerous as possible, but only virtually.

Employee competency assessment

Sometimes candidates describe soft skills in their resumes but don’t have them in practice or those are underdeveloped. Immersing a candidate in virtual reality with a particular scenario allows HR managers to audit soft skills available better. Due to the technology, it is possible to create different event scenarios and evaluate the reaction and manifestation of competencies. The company can conduct the same practice periodically in order to observe trends in employee competencies.

Employers prefer candidates with well-developed problem-solving skills. VR gives the opportunity to assess these skills, and to cultivate them to the fullest.

Communication and persuasion

VR can serve as a simulator for developing communication, persuasion, and conflict resolution skills. Since scenarios can be constantly rewritten, employees will be immersed in different situations where they will have to apply their skills based on a specific course of events rather than memorized patterns. Thanks to VR, employees’ reactions to demanding customers or overly anxious customers can be trained.VR training applications offer the deepest level of immersion in the situation, allowing a person to participate in the learning process fully. The human brain quickly forgets that it is in a virtual world and perceives what is happening as reality. Thus, the employee is trained and practicing communication skills according to situations. The employer can study behavior and reactions on the example of given scenarios. 

In addition, VR sessions can be observed and recorded in real-time. This allows returning to the training phase, seeing and evaluating oneself, drawing conclusions for further development, and receiving or leaving feedback.

Conclusion

Depending on the field and occupation, soft skills training for employees may require planning a variety of situations, conditions, and factors that are difficult or costly to implement on-site. The use of VR in such cases becomes the ideal solution, both in terms of the variety of options for training sessions and the methods of operation. Skill enhancement with VR is available to both office-based and remote employees. Using VR to develop employees’ soft skills is an advantage for many companies because it gives them more options. 

The variety of VR formats already allows choosing the most effective way to train employees: a dialogue simulation, individual and group simulators, visualization and training of complex, stressful situations and emergencies, virtual negotiations, or public speaking and presentations. What other soft skills do you think can be trained and assessed with VR? 

About the Author:
Louis Sawyer is a professional writer, editor, and web design expert. She loves writing about technology trends, web development, mobile games, and business issues. Louis also works as a proofreader at Computools. Follow her on Twitter

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