Recruiting and training new employees has always been challenging, but recent data suggests it’s becoming even more so. Spurred by COVID-19 and economic disruption, companies find it challenging to train and retain new workers. And that probably won’t change for quite some time.
One study by Glassdoor indicates that companies take as long as 52 days to fill positions while spending thousands in hiring expenses per employee. Once you hire an employee, training is just as crucial to long-term retention. As high as 93% of employees credit good training as a positive influence on their engagement level.
With today’s technology, training is taking on a new form.
Technology to the Rescue
To train and retain employees at a high rate, companies have begun exploring the virtual world, specifically using Extended Reality (XR). These visual and interactive technologies have helped improve productivity in many industries, and now, they’re making headway into training rooms. But what are these new technologies, and how can they be used effectively in training new and current staff?
Extended Reality (XR) is a term covering several technologies. These systems offer immersive learning for everything from assembly training and difficult or dangerous job training to simulations in diversity classes. Collectively, these technologies make up the new and emerging XR trend. They include:
Augmented Reality (AR)
In AR, 3D-generated objects are added to real-world situations. For example, a new technician looking at an HVAC unit can call up specs for the system, including troubleshooting data and part lists. In advanced AR, they can even connect to another technician remotely who can “draw” on the field of vision to guide the field tech.
Virtual Reality (VR)
VR is more commonly known and utilizes a 360-degree artificial view for a simulation. Users develop skills by interacting within the scenarios. Skill development can be improved incrementally through increasingly complex simulations or by offering various simulations. One example would be a sales exercise with “difficult” clients. Or the training could center on internal training such as diversity or harassment issues within the workplace.
Mixed Reality (MR)
MR blends VR and AR to retain a real-world view while superimposing objects into the view. This teaches people how to perform tasks in an environment they’ll likely see. A good example would be assembling a digital object on an assembly line. This is also a valuable technology for training employees for difficult or dangerous tasks (fire, welding, chemical dispersal, etc.).
Categories of XR Training
XR is a versatile set of technologies that can be used across many training environments such as HR, marketing, production, and more. Some categories include:
Onboarding using AR can be as simple as a guided facility tour. Or, it can be “hands-on” training to improve dexterity in assembly or machine operation.
Using VR, HR managers and staff can simulate situations from actual cases to reinforce company values, identify trouble spots, and weed out applicants who don’t fit the culture environment.
Safety training using MR applies to practical training such as safe lifting, fork truck training, or use of fire pulls and extinguishers. It can also be used in training for hot work, confined space, and in places where chemicals are present. While the learner will eventually move to live training in their new area, the MR creates a safe and less expensive way to establish and enforce good safety practices before placing them in harm’s way.
Customer service with AR can impart skills and help staff master the subtle soft skills needed for dealing with customers every day.
Benefits of XR
XR as a training tool has many benefits, including:
- Safe, experienced-based training
- Faster development of hard and soft skills
- Easy to scale
- Easy to measure results
- Reduces mistakes on the job
- Results in long term retention of knowledge
- Can be applied to training for multiple departments (HR, Sales, Marketing, Production, Design, etc.)
Adding XR to Your Journey as an Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs leading the charge in innovation and new products can benefit from adding XR training to their company. The Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (HBEC) can help guide you to resources that will help. Georgian College already has a multi-discipline program of VR and AR on campus. Let us help you understand how XR training can be a valuable training and retention tool for your company.