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By Susan Hoffman
Contributor, Online Career Tips
Virtual reality (VR) has been used to train people for several decades. Pilots, for example, use flight simulators to gain experience in handling aircraft. Similarly, police departments in some states utilize virtual reality systems such as VirTra in order to train law enforcement officers to handle life-and-death situations.
The possibilities of virtual reality training are virtually endless. But now it has entered a new environment: the corporate office.
Virtual Reality Training Being Adapted for Hard-to-Handle Office Situations
In any workplace, difficult situations arise from time to time. It may become necessary to terminate an employee or provide constructive feedback about work performance. Similarly, a manager may have to confront an employee who displays questionable or illegal behavior, including tardiness, theft, harassment, sexism or racism.
Such situations involving difficult conversations are not always easy for managers to handle, but they also represent a substantial risk for the company if employment regulations are not followed properly. Employees can become upset and argumentative, even furious and sometimes vengeful at what they perceive as unfair treatment.
This can potentially result in unwanted litigation, which is why using virtual reality to train managers to better handle sensitive situations is a growing industry. Companies such as Talespin have created virtual reality environments where managers can work on developing their communication and leadership skills against highly realistic virtual humans, in order to mimic the experience of interacting with human employees in the real world.
Technology Also Being Used in Customer Service Training
Virtual reality is also becoming a part of customer service training. For instance, Logan Mulvey and Brian Murphy of the Association for Talent Development (ATD) note that VR training enables customer service representatives to better perform their jobs:
“Immersive training enables frontline employees to experience and navigate tough interactions in a consequence-free environment. These interactions are not easy, but the increased repetition that VR allows will help learners build confidence, and that will help them perform better when they are faced with a unique situation during a live call. What’s more, the VR solution can track and analyze a user’s decisions in order to paint a highly analytical picture of how they navigate specific situations—something nearly impossible with traditional training methods.”
VR Training Can Be Implemented for Other Aspects of Business
In addition to customer service, virtual reality has the capability of being adapted for other aspects of business, including:
- Vendor negotiations
- Conflict resolution
- Performance reviews
Many enterprises such as Walmart, Chipotle and Tyson, are using VR training for their employees. It appears likely that other companies—small or large—may eventually follow the same path and adopt virtual reality training to help employees and managers develop the soft and hard skills they need for business success.