As the HR pundits have been saying for a few years now, people are your most important asset. If they suffer, your company suffers. This is one of the main reasons we so often hear about employee wellbeing in leadership and HR circles.
Yet, how are the folks at work feeling these days? Not great.
A 2022 cross-industry study by Deloitte found that only a little more than half of workers rate their wellbeing positively. The Mental Health at Work Report from Mind Share Partners found that half the people who quit jobs in 2021 did so for mental health reasons. If you’re a leader in charge of employee retention, workplace culture, and worker wellbeing, you’re probably looking for ways to take initiative before your workforce crosses the burnout threshold for good.
VR-based training in the form of Immersive Learning is one of the best ways to preemptively establish worker wellbeing and create a culture where supporting employee wellness is at a priority.
Building employee wellbeing into your L&D efforts
A fairly new type of training model, Immersive Learning takes place with a virtual reality (VR) headset, combining simulated real-world scenarios that give the learner a sense of presence with advanced learning theory, data science, and spatial design to improve user engagement.
VR is a valuable tool for enterprise L&D organizations because it enables them to scale the best learning scenarios to an unlimited number of employees, allowing training sessions to be staggered in time, tailored in subject matter, and available to repeat on demand. While this model is highly effective for a number of different types of employee training, there are five specific ways it lends itself to raising employee wellbeing stats and improving workplace culture.
Reskilled workers are happier workers
“In 2021, workers felt that they performed at less than three-fourths of their full capacity, they took an average of eight mental health days off per year, and 50 percent left jobs due to mental health reasons.”— Deloitte
One of the biggest takeaways of Deloitte’s research is that aligning people with work that interests them is critical to worker wellbeing. Particularly as Gen Zers and Millennials take over the workforce, the idea of longevity in a stagnant role has gone out the window. People now seek job opportunities with the potential to learn and grow — the possibility to not just advance in their career, but potentially change the focus of their skill set entirely at some point.
That’s called reskilling, and it’s something Immersive Learning does particularly well. With this type of VR training, employees can evolve within the company and their careers by learning concrete skills they will need for a new role as well as soft skills that better prepare them for management positions, work in front of customers, and interactions with co-workers.
The wellbeing at work that comes from being included
People who feel included, respected, and seen at work are happier people, by virtually every metric. Yet, while nearly every company today touts a priority on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training, they don’t approach it with equal effort.
VR training is a progressive way to build respect for diversity and infuse real inclusion into workplace culture. It gives learners a chance to step into the shoes of another, building valuable empathy in this arena. Immersive learning helps foster inclusivity by allowing team members to practice conversations and reactions in a safe environment where they can make mistakes and improve upon their behavior without negative cultural impact.
Immersive learning is also highly applicable when it comes to training neurodiverse employees and those who are differently abled — for instance, the deaf or hard of hearing. Through multimodal learning techniques combining visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading-based learning methods, Immersive Learning can better engage people who don’t or can’t learn in traditional ways.
Supporting employee health and workplace safety
Verizon was an early adopter of Immersive Learning, working with Strivr to create several VR training modules in a few key areas. One was prepping retail store employees for the possibility of armed robbery, along with how to safely handle lower-impact snatch-and-grab-type robberies without risking the physical safety of store staff and customers.
After taking the training, 97% of Verizon store employees said they felt more prepared for how to handle a dangerous situation.
Safety training is applicable in a lot of different types of work environments — not just retail stores but manufacturing plants, warehouses, construction sites, and other high-risk workplaces. Immersive Learning modules customized to specific industries and scenarios give employees the ability to practice safety skills such as hazard spotting until they’re second nature, without the risk of learning by making mistakes on a real jobsite.
Elevated soft skills = stronger workplace culture
Soft skills lend themselves to improving a lot of areas of worker wellbeing and employee mental health, and this is a category of learning in which VR excels. Highly realistic practice in a VR module can create better communication and transparency, help diffuse escalation, resolve difficult conversations, and radically uplevel customer service.
Zooming out from the impact Immersive Learning can have on individual growth as an employee, it can also collectively help scale workplace culture across dispersed locations and create consistency around how employees perceive their employer brand.
Sprouts found that Immersive Learning as a lever for onboarding helped improve their brand and scale their company culture dramatically. Prior to Immersive Learning, onboarding new employees was far less effective: about 3% who had gone through traditional training would remember the company’s six culture principles, for instance. After Immersive Learning, that number jumped to nearly half after just one session.
The benefits of VR for upskilling and reskilling workers
There’s more to employee wellbeing than just good training, of course. Work-life balance is critical to most employees — increasingly more so. One study out of Walden University found that the right balance between an employee’s personal life and work life leads to boosted morale, higher performance, and better health.
But the right kinds of training can be a powerful instigator for raising overall employee well-being, better-supporting workers, and creating a stronger workplace culture.
If you’d like to learn more about Strivr’s enterprise VR platform and Immersive Learning in general, read on.
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