4 Companies that are Using Virtual Reality for Employee Training

We are only just beginning to understand the impact virtual reality will have on our lives.

While VR technology has been growing in popularity since at least the 1960s, it’s only recently that it’s been slated for widespread use. With advancements in mobile app development, virtual reality is more accessible to us than ever. This technology lets you interact with a vast range of environments, objects, and even people, no matter where you are.

That’s why organizations across many different industries have begun leveraging mobile app development services to develop both mobile and wearable hardware to train new and old employees.

Virtual reality training programs are often ideal because they don’t require employees to travel to seminars. Companies can instead hold sophisticated training sessions right in the office. This goes a long way to help save companies money, as they no longer have to pay for multiple travel and lodging fees.

Additionally, VR is a great way to increase employee engagement. For a long time, virtual reality was thought of as technology that would only be useful for video games.

However, the high-level of engagement and obvious gamification potential allows for work to feel like fun, especially for younger hires. As they use VR software to engage with the brand, employees are likely to experience a boost in dedication and involvement with your company.

Here’s a look at some of the other ways this technology is already making an impact.

1) STRIVR

What do professional sports teams have in common with commercial corporations?

Besides having a team-oriented mindset, both industries are taking advantage of the benefits VR training has to offer.

One company, STRIVR, has built up their name by being among the very best at providing  a virtual experience to improve user performance.  Originally developed to help athletes train for all situations, the techniques they incorporated were easily translated into a more corporate setting.

Companies that are serious about giving their employees the ultimate training experience have partnered with businesses that provide an immersive VR experience.

While these training processes all have the same end goal in mind (train employees in a safer and more efficient way), the systems can all end up looking very different


2) KFC

Training an employee to operate the kitchen equipment at a fast-food restaurant isn’t as easy as you might think. While you want to make sure your workers are thoroughly prepared, you may not have the downtime to train them when you need efficient access to the equipment to serve current customers.

KFC plans to address this issue with The Hard Way, a VR program that trains new workers in essential kitchen processes without having to waste real, valuable cooking time. The program uses Oculus Rift headsets to show employees how to properly prepare the chains famous chicken.  

Not only does this give employees a hands-on experience that doesn’t have real-world consequences for mistakes, it also allows the training process to happen in under half the time it would in person. Their training procedures have been heavily animated, making it look more like a video game than an actual KFC kitchen.

While the company hasn’t put the product to widespread use as of yet, its very existence proves that KFC understands how useful this technology will prove to be in the near future. KFC has said that it intends to use The Hard Way as a supplemental training program, as well as a way to engage and reward their employees.


3) UPS

When an employee operates a vehicle, thorough preparation is essential not only to their safety, but also to the safety of other drivers.

Understanding this, UPS has recently implemented a VR simulation across several training centers. The program allows new hires to navigate routes, avoid hazards, and encounter various traffic conditions, all without actually getting behind the wheel. This solution could potentially do more than simply boost safety; it may also help UPS conserve time and resources.

Besides that, it can also help turn what would otherwise be a hands-off, auditory learning experience into a tactile one. This helps build muscle memory and allows the first time drivers are exposed to potentially dangerous or difficult situations take place in the safety of the training center, with their trainers available to help navigate through sticky spots.

As most new hires tend to be younger, the video game-esque aspects of the training capture their attention and help them be enthusiastic about learning proper safety procedures.


4) Walmart

Working as a sales associate in a big store like Walmart involves dealing with many different types of people and situations. To offer the best possible customer service, associates must be ready for any and all possibilities.

Walmart is boosting employee preparedness with VR. As a STRIVR partner, hires go through a completely different onboarding process than they would have 10 years ago. New employees will experience virtual scenarios they may encounter in the real world, making choices they believe to be most appropriate.

This is an interesting example, in that the tasks sales associates perform on a regular basis are not always step-by-step procedures, like making KFC’s chicken or driving a UPS truck from one destination to another. It shows that VR has already reached the point where it can effectively simulate very unique, sophisticated experiences.

The VR training has mostly been focused for employees who work at Walmart Super Centers: for two weeks before beginning a new role, hires are trained for new experiences like holiday shoppers or how to safely and efficiently clean a mess.

The VR program also walked employees through proper customer service techniques and how to carry out operational services, such as arranging stock on shelves.

By allowing employees to get used to and experience the worst-case scenario before they’re thrust into a new work environment, they’ll be better able to adapt to situations that arise at work. Walmart even found that employees who had interacted with the VR training program were better able to absorb the new information provided to them.

That means we’re likely going to see more and more businesses across various industries adopting VR training programs soon. As the benefits of the technology develop further, business leaders will continue to think up new ways to take advantage of it.

Companies will enjoy stronger employee performance, while customers will enjoy better (and safer!) service. Shorter training periods will save businesses money, while at the same time giving their employees a taste of what their day-to-day tasks will be like.

There is no such thing as being over-prepared, and VR training is allowing companies to ensure that their teams are always ready to expect the unexpected.

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