As new ways to work emerge, leaders are faced with a growing challenge around teaching and building soft skills in their organizations. How can managers keep employees engaged and communicate with empathy? How do you provide effective feedback to remote employees? What is the best way to share news in a crisis?
Unlike traditional forms of soft skills training like watching videos, reviewing case studies, or even role-playing, scientific research has shown that VR is a better medium for learning and practicing a variety of soft skills, from active listening to conflict resolution and emotional intelligence.
By allowing people to walk in the shoes of another, VR is an amazing medium for teaching and practicing soft skills like empathy.
– Jeremy Bailenson, Founder of Stanford VHIL, Co-founder of Strivr
Why use Immersive Learning to teach soft skills in the workplace?
Learning-by-doing increases retention
Realistic practice leads to real-world behavioral changes
Real-time feedback accelerates proficiency
Psychological safety to practice and make mistakes in a safe environment
Deliver verbal, nonverbal, and performance analytics
In VR, learners feel a sense of ‘presence’ as if they’re really there, making the training authentic and memorable.
-Dr. Michael Casale, Chief Science Officer, Strivr
Building soft skills in the workplace with Immersive Learning
No employee skillset is in greater need of development than soft skills, which is why they have become such a paramount focus for companies across every industry. In this e-book, learn about the most effective, scalable and memorable way to train and practice soft skills: Immersive Learning.
As onboarding moves to be more remote, VR has the ability to give realistic experience in the workplace before every stepping onto the new job site. Candidates get first-person experience in the role and work environment before ever stepping onto the new job site. They get immersed in the company’s culture and values right from the start, which helps recruit and retain new talent.
times more likely to remember all six Sprouts values
Good managers often demonstrate a combination of good communication skills, adaptability, resilience, coaching, and empathy. For first time managers, VR allows for practice in a safe space. At the end of simulation, learners have an opportunity to watch and listen to themselves for self-evaluation, and to better assess their performance.
Crisis communication & difficult conversations
Navigate difficult situations, tough conversations, restructuring, incorrect customer service practices, and team conflicts. Learn how to recognize and respond to situations in appropriate ways that diffuse problems and circumvent challenges.
Coaching: Feedback & performance review
Simulate conversations based on generic or proprietary methodology. Learners are sitting across from a direct-report who is struggling to work effectively with a colleague and are guided through the feedback session and offered a playback of their conversations for self-evaluation.
Dealing with unhappy customers and complex situations is pretty common, yet can still be uncomfortable and requires empathy and emotional intelligence.
Recreate typical interactions with impatient or unhappy customers, so that associates get to practice de-escalation methodology, active listening, and decision-making while managing their emotions.
Associates are transported from the store or the call center, to inside the home of the customer. They are able to experience the lives of their customers in VR, rather than simply read or watch videos about it, which helps them relate more sincerely and offer better assistance.
Throughout the training, the Fidelity employee is ‘transported’ between the call center and the customer’s living room to view the environment, facial expressions and personal perspective.
Sales requires preparation, product knowledge, and confidence. VR training provides mental repetitions to handle a variety of sales scenarios – listening for the right cues, how to talk about each product, and how to handle objections. For these kinds of selling skills, VR training offers realistic practice and the ability to make mistakes in a safe environment.
Diversity & inclusion
More impactful than role playing, Immersive Learning enhances existing D&I programs. Learners are immersed in a realistic scenario where an employee or colleague exhibits non-inclusive behavior. Next, they participate in an interactive face-to-face conversation with that person to talk about why that behavior doesn’t represent the company’s values, and how the employee can recognize and counter their biases in the future.
4 ways companies are teaching soft skills in VR
Discover the four ways knowledge workers are learning and building soft skills with VR-based Immersive Learning.
It is generally difficult to objectively assess employees in the company-specific tasks they’ll face in the next role. VR-based assessments test aptitude for a given position during hiring or promoting, and capture how a candidate might prioritize different tasks, communicate with co-workers in times of conflict, and exercise a variety of leadership skills. Assessments are based on predictive analytics models that combine both decision data and immersive attention data and help predict which candidates would perform well in real-life. VR assessments add an additional layer of insight, especially for skills that are traditionally hard to measure, that can help paint a more accurate picture of candidates.
We use VR to assess their listening and problem-solving skills to see if, for example, they’re a good fit for a team leader role. It’s just one data point, but what we’re seeing is that VR can make the same, if not better, predictions for who will succeed in a role than a human.
-Heather Durtschi, Sr. Director of Content Design Development, Walmart
How do we measure soft skills?
Strivr’s software platform offers a variety of data to measure soft skills training effectiveness.
Usage: Training frequency, duration, and completion.
Performance analytics: Completion of tasks and correct answers to evaluate proficiency.
Attention and engagement: Where and how trainees pay attention, head movement, eye tracking, interactions, and clicks.
Verbal analytics: Speed, frequency, tone.
Sentiment: Qualitative feedback from participants.
Self-evaluation: Review of recordings of learner responses can be reviewed for self evaluation.