Like many technologies disrupting the enterprise, VR training is rewriting the rules by fusing corporate training with experiential learning. VR training, in the form of Immersive Learning, combines the ability to simulate real-world training scenarios in a VR headset with the ability to accurately measure performance. For all kinds of companies across industries, this technology has created a paradigm shift. Now, organizations know exactly how effective their training is — and whether employees have learned what they need to know before throwing them into a real-world scenario.
At a high level, VR training benefits also include a faster speed to proficiency, reduced onboarding time, improved customer service, a higher degree of workplace safety, decreased turnover, fewer costly incidents, and an easier way to teach culture quickly. VR training benefits also include a critical lessening of business interruptions, so learning doesn’t get in the way of business.
Here’s a closer look at the nine VR training benefits that companies can experience in terms of cost savings, operational efficiency, and employee engagement.
Improve customer service
There are so many factors that go into customer satisfaction, one of which is well-prepared customer-facing employees. VR training benefits anyone in customer service by affording them on-demand practice learning the procedures to be effective and productive in their job. Critically, customer service also requires a mastery of certain soft skills, such as empathy and communication, which can be tough to teach. With VR, soft skills training received a giant boost.
For instance, one major financial institution came to Strivr because its call center agents regularly faced difficult and emotional financial conversations with customers. The Immersive learning module Strivr created for this customer allows the financial institution’s call center agents to practice both critical thinking and valuable soft skills — two important skills to have when faced with challenging customer conversations.
VR training quickly helped the financial institution better train employees, which returned a measurable impact on customer satisfaction pretty quickly: 10 percent higher ratings in under six months. It also gave the organization’s L&D leaders insight into gaps in training and skill levels so they could continuously improve training options over time.
Major financial institution boosted customer satisfaction by 10% in less than 6 months
Accelerate speed to proficiency
To roll out innovation that provides a competitive edge, training needs to be done at scale, consistently and efficiently. VR training is an effective replacement for instructor-led and on-the-job training because it significantly reduces time spent training without sacrificing effectiveness or engagement.
When Walmart wanted to introduce an in-store pickup option via new technology called a pick-up tower, leaders worried about maintaining a consistently strong customer experience. They could not afford a lack of consistency or long customer wait times while employees got used to the new technology and procedures.
Crucially, VR training can be put in place before equipment is even installed, making virtual use of the best teachers. This removes interruptions to the regular business flow and — in Walmart’s case — trimmed the time needed for training an associate from eight hours to just 15 minutes.
Walmart shortened training time on a new technology by 96%
Reduce onboarding time
The quicker a new employee can be properly trained, the faster they contribute to business. The longer it takes, the more expensive each new hire becomes. VR training benefits new employees by providing realistic training in a virtual world, which ensures mastery more quickly than many traditional types of training do. New hires gain the necessary knowledge and skills faster, and they’re on the job quicker.
As a result of the pandemic, Sprouts found itself needing to hire thousands of new employees quickly, even as protocols were changing to keep everyone as protected and healthy as possible. Faster, safer onboarding was critical to meeting customer needs during a challenging time.
With VR, Sprouts reduced new hire values training from four hours to 45 minutes – an 81 percent decrease. Most importantly, Sprouts can continue to hire as needed and onboard new people in an ad-hoc way, because the company no longer relies on an approach that requires days-long group instruction or travel.
Sprouts reduced new hire values training from 4 hours to 45 minutes
Improve workplace safety
Workplace safety is incredibly important. In some industries, safety issues come up daily: the ability to spot hazards in a warehouse or on a job site, food safety rules in the hospitality industry, PPE safety for healthcare workers. In all of these cases, VR training benefits learners by giving them practice with safety procedures, hazard identification, food safety, lockout-tagout procedures, and more.
But workplace safety isn’t always so straightforward.
For customer-facing employees to thrive, they need to feel confident and prepared, even in the most high-stress situations such as an armed robbery. The problem with training for events that won’t come up in everyday work — but which require employees to act automatically in the moment — is that traditional types of training are not very effective. Even role playing does not pack enough of an emotional impact to truly ingrain the soft skills people will need if faced with a rare emergency.
VR training, on the other hand, immerses the learner in a highly realistic, emotionally charged situation. It’s a safe environment, but it looks and feels like real life, so it makes a big impact on learning. Verizon wanted to provide realistic training to teach employees how to react to armed robbery situations. By teaching employees how to manage emotions, the company emphasized what was most important: the safety of their employees and customers.
VR training benefits Verizon associates by affording them the experience of going through the critical steps of de-escalating a high-risk moment and making the right decisions under intense pressure. With VR training, 97 percent of Verizon associates felt prepared for these real world, dangerous situations.
of Verizon store employees felt prepared for dangerous situations
VR training can provide a realistic job preview to candidates and new hires, reducing the likelihood of turnover and increasing retention rates. In the headset, trainees are exposed to the sights, sounds, and atmosphere of their future workplace. There are no surprises when they step onto the job on day one, and they are both mentally and physically prepared.
VR training benefits every new employee across the company. Every employee gets the same realistic preview of the job experience.
For a global shipping company Strivr worked with, loading dock workers turned over at an exceptionally high rate, often because they did not fully comprehend the nature of the work they would be doing. In some cases, new hires would even quit the same day they started. VR training improved the consistency and leveled the expectations of trainees. Now, not only are new employees extremely excited and intrigued by the training, but the shipping company has doubled the retention rates of loading dock workers.
Global shipping company provided a realistic job preview, resulting in 2x retention of package handlers
Decrease incident costs
One powerful remedy to create a safer workplace is better workforce preparation, and simply giving employees a manual or workbook to read is subpar in this area. VR training benefits companies by allowing their employees to practice critical job skills in a realistic environment without putting them or anyone else at risk before they’re up to speed. It helps develop situational and spatial awareness that leads to safer workplace behaviors, fewer incidents, and reduced costs.
Strivr worked with one multinational food processor training employees to work safely and efficiently on the line and practice safe behaviors in the virtual plant environment. After just the first 15 minutes of the Immersive Learning experience, the great majority of employees felt more prepared in terms of safety.
After just a 15 minute immersive training experience, 89% of employees felt more prepared to handle safety hazards
Improve brand & scale culture
As onboarding becomes increasingly more remote, it’s more challenging to communicate brand values and engage employees in company culture. VR training benefits L&D organizations by offering real world experience with company values. For both new employees and as a refresher for experienced employees, VR can help create and improve brand consistency around customer experience.
This is particularly important because VR training is a unique medium of experiential learning that, in many ways, transcends language and cultural barriers. Culture and brand can be taught in an embodied way — not an academic one.
For instance, VR training helps Sprouts to scale their unique culture in a standardized way, all while reinforcing the importance of customer service. When employees were tested on their conceptual understanding of the core values, 48 percent of the learners who did VR learned all six values perfectly, compared to only 3 percent who trained using traditional methods — a 16x improvement. VR learners even outperformed senior managers who had trained under the old learning model.
Sprouts increased retention of all six company values by 16 times
Eliminate business interruptions
Whether it’s pulling an employee off the sales floor or paying for an aircraft to be taken out of commission, training can be a significant disruption to normal operations. VR training benefits companies by giving on-demand access to high value material anywhere, anytime, and providing effective training in the flow of business.
At JetBlue, VR training gives ground technicians valuable practice on A320 inspection, building the capability to identify key mistakes on a “dirty” plane and ingrain the correct order of process. The training offers real world, hands-on practice on planes that normally would cost $10,000 at a time to rent, reducing the need to take planes out of commission for training purposes.
Major U.S. airline avoids commissioning real aircrafts, a daily cost of $10K
Measure performance with various types of training data
Perhaps one of the most valuable VR training benefits is the ability to capture training data and gain valuable insights that can inform future training sessions and other aspects of L&D. With Strivr’s Immersive Learning platform, there are several types of data captured from learners in the headset. These include usage data on who uses the training and for how long, as well as performance data that demonstrates how individual and collective learners perform in each module.
Strivr’s platform in particular can also collect attention and engagement data — for instance, where the learner is looking within the virtual scene. This type of information can be a valuable predictor of on-the-job performance. Together, the various types of data that VR training endows gives organizations much deeper insight into the minds of their employees and the effectiveness of their training. It also enables the possibility of predictive analytics.
The data is in… VR training benefits companies
Never before has the promise of VR-based training in the enterprise been more clear than it is today. We can now measure and prove the impact of this groundbreaking approach, setting the stage for unprecedented growth in adoption.
To learn more and hear more real-world examples, download the ebook, Measuring the impact of Strivr’s Immersive Learning platform.