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POKÉMON GO: TWO WAYS THE GAME WILL VIRTUALIZE THE WORKPLACE

While hunting virtual creatures seems like a complete waste of time to some – it spotlights a phenomenon that businesses and the Pokémon nescient need to capitalize on; people are ready for the next generation of user interfaces. Universal acceptance of augmented reality has happened overnight permeating market sectors, and whether this influences you to hunt for Pikachu on your lunch break or not, you need to start thinking of how mixed reality promises to change the way we do business.

Boiled down, Pokémon Go is a game that utilizes hybrid reality aka mixed reality, which “is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time…a mix of reality and virtual reality.” The utilization of this gaming technology will transform the way corporations recruit, hire, onboard, engage and develop their workforce. According to Goldman Sachs research on VR/AR (Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality) technologies, “as the technology advances, price points decline, and an entire new marketplace of applications (both business and consumer) hit the market, we believe VR/AR has the potential to spawn a multibillion-dollar industry, and possibly be as game changing as the advent of the PC”. While everyone isn’t clamoring to “join the Matrix” and completely plug into VR/AR tech, we’ve focused on the two areas in business that have seen the most collaboration.

RECRUITING AND HIRING

Talent acquisition can be a dogfight. With each company vying for the best and brightest, being on the vanguard of the corporate virtuality (virtual reality) implementation provides firms with an advantage. Scott Swayne, director for U.S. Recruiting at General Mills believes that VR/AR tech is “…becoming a fun, new contributor to attracting top talent – our number one priority in Recruiting”. Since 2015, General Mills has been giving virtual tours of their headquarters and working life with the Oculus Rift headset as a recruiting pitch to Millennials at college campuses. And guess what – it’s working! “The gear draws a crowd…We knew it would be an automatic magnet for attention. When you’re trying to standout in a crowded career hallpoke”, says Leo Timmons, IT director for Application Development. Proper recruiting tool usage could elevate a company’s reputation and mark them as a leader within their industry.

General Mills isn’t the only company to see VR/AR’s recruiting potential; the British Army, Deutsche Bahn, Jet, US Colleges and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia are all utilizing mixed reality to woo job-seekers. Now candidates can tour facilities and experience corporate cultures “in person”, what if they could also have a full-body virtual presence at an interview instead of flying 18 hours overseas? But why stop there? If a company doesn’t just recruit with VR/AR tech, but provides mixed reality training and learning programs, it could signal to prospective employees that you are willing to invest in them over the long-haul.

LEARNING

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia is tackling training problems by providing a “…game-like VR experience, candidates walk through a series of challenges that current employees may encounter, and then learn the benefits and consequences of their decisions.”

Mixed reality is going to offer immersive learning experiences by bringing the individual or teams inside an almost life-like environment.

Soft skills needed for hiring and firing could be developed in a simulated mixed reality where the outcome is dependent on the actions and statements of the manager or HR representative, revolutionizing how workers learn.

One of the problems with current models, discovered by Oxford Strategic Consulting, is that younger users find them archaic and arbitrary. “Younger managers preferred classroom learning to the current digital alternatives– largely because digital learning offerings are not meeting their expectations, compared to their personal experiences of digital technology.” Let’s be honest, if you’re trying to motivate the Pokémon Go generation of employees with outdated e-learnings, you could waste your money faster by just chucking it out the window. Mixed reality offers an opportunity for firms to incorporate cutting edge, yet mainstream, applications: expanding upon current platforms and better engaging their workforce.

Engagement isn’t the only problem with current learning and development programs; their reach is limited. While corporate learning has been influenced by advancements in HR technology such as instructional online content, mobile platforms, and virtual classrooms, it is unable to cultivate leadership and soft skills outside of a physical classroom setting.

As observed by Josh Bersin in Does E-Learning Really Work? Not So Well, When it Comes to Leadership and Soft Skills, “In the areas of management and leadership development, digital learning (or e-learning) has not delivered on its promise”. VR/AR technology might fix corporate training problems; it could fill in the gaps that e-learnings can’t. A mixed reality curriculum can offer simulations on how to conduct a candidate interview, handle a sexual harassment issue, improve soft skill and breed leaders, all the while using engaging and up-to-date technology.

Bottom line: when the data is compelling and the technology has the capacity to revolutionize multiple aspect of employ, it’s time to dust off your company’s HR manifesto and start looking towards the future.
Happy hunting!

Guest Writer and Editor for PulseShift, Founding Member of Hackerstolz and Cross-Cultural Coach with a passion education, technology and design.

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