Updated: Aug 20, 2020
On the job training has an expensive cost, but it can also cost you your brand image. Employees being trained for jobs that have extensive variables in their day to day, input any customer-facing role, require more time and hand-holding. Jobs with high risks, once again any customer-facing role due to COVID-19, create dangerous scenarios for those being trained as well as those training them. These are all discussion points that have forced industry leaders to adopt Virtual Reality training for everything from working at Walmart to professional athletes in various sports.
But VR training got one more push during 2020. You may have guessed it; it's COVID-19. Successful training programs require extensive personal contact. Whether you are training managers at Walmart or running professional athletes through healthy movement patterns, there is a need for close proximity. And even though the need for physical distancing is still paramount, the need for connection and human-driven learning still remains.
The GIF (pronounced like the peanut butter) about has Walmart employees training for the high-risk role of Black Friday Checkout. This training can easily be adapted to a remote model.
Despite the need for connection, training carries with it many risks in addition to the ones brought on by COVID-19. And with that in mind, it's a good thing VR hardware doesn't breathe. Jeff Williams, Co-owner at MXTreality, sums it up perfectly in his pending whitepaper.
When it comes to training and education, practice makes perfect. Training also comes with risks. Because training often requires the use of expensive, specialized machinery or the handling of combustible materials, it can put the trainee’s safety at risk if an error or accident occurs.
Williams’ whitepaper will be made public in the coming months, but in addition to his point of the risks of training, there are increased risks to a brand image regardless of how safe or unsafe a training environment is. In customer service jobs, employees create the trust or distrust of a brand based upon customer interactions. Poor interaction could lead to a permanently lost customer. I doubt I’m the only person to boycott a brand or store because of a negative person to person encounter.
Virtual reality training has the benefit of consolidating and unifying employees across a collected front to reflect brand values and uphold a standardized quality of service. With the same VR training for everyone, employees can not only avoid the awkward interactions with customers as they are learning how to do their job, but also have standardized practices to fulfill customer expectations. This could eliminate that moment of running into a store clerk that doesn’t know where the item is that you asked about or how to ring up a return. And it’s important to note that this is not their fault, they are training on the job. Oftentimes job training feels like we’re learning how to build the car as it's driving. VR training just allows us to stop the car before we work on it.