In an alternate reality where people are meeting as virtual avatars, what does the metaverse mean for the world of HR? Companies continue to embrace this technological innovation, but the age of the metaverse has only just begun. With the pandemic re-defining the way we do business around the world, Gartner predicts that by 2026, 25% of people will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse – whether for work, social media, shopping or entertainment. So, what exactly is the metaverse, and in what ways could it enter the HR sphere?
While we may not realize it just yet, HR has already made its acquaintance. Encompassing a whole myriad of elements, the metaverse is – at its core – a fast-evolving world of digital interactions. From the transformational tools of AR and VR, the metaverse continues to close the gap between physical and computerized dimensions.
Pre-pandemic, this absence of physical human interaction may once have been perceived as detrimental. Yet with hybrid working here to stay, the metaverse is already empowering businesses across the globe; maintaining a sense of connection, collaboration and belonging. We explore 5 ways the metaverse could enter the HR sphere.
1. Re-defining the hybrid workspace
The way we work will never be the same again. But how can we improve the productivity of remote-working environments? The metaverse is already transforming how we collaborate, with technology that goes beyond the video-conferencing platforms of the pandemic era. Hands-free devices and avatars will replace laptops and smartphones, as the metaverse brings a new dynamic to how we interact. Meta (previously Facebook) is already re-imagining the workplace of tomorrow, with Horizon Workrooms blazing the trail. From stepping into virtual meetings with your own personalized avatar, to VR-enabled co-working spaces; distance has no bearing on the metaverse.
2. Transforming talent acquisition
It goes without saying that it takes exceptional talent to navigate the new world around us while also driving growth for a business. It also takes an equally exceptional approach to talent acquisition, and this is where the metaverse comes in. As companies continue to invest in their own technological infrastructure, the metaverse can help cast the net wider; forging connections on a global scale that were previously deemed impossible. While on-boarding processes have already undergone a digital transformation, the metaverse can make an impact from as early as recruitment fairs. These virtual-enabled events empower both employees and potential candidates with exciting opportunities; from interactive 360-degree experiences, to virtual office tours that demonstrate a “day in the life” of working for a business.
3. Facilitating meaningful interactions
With the happiness and wellbeing of workforces of utmost importance, the metaverse enhances employee engagement in new and familiar ways. Zoom and Teams may have proven pivotal tools through times of physical separation; yet the remote-working environment has taken its toll on mental health. The absence of regular human interaction paired with the blurred boundaries of work and home life have resulted in stress, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness. Not only does the metaverse empower employees to interact in novel ways, but its virtual capabilities also make space for valuable connections that are harder to forge through a laptop screen. In an immersive virtual office, mental health check-ins, team-building exercises, team breakfast club or even happy hour on a Friday afternoon can all begin to approach the more organic, familiar feel of in-person work.
4. Immersive Learning and Development experiences
With the metaverse entering the HR sphere in a number of ways, learning and development opportunities can help employees grasp new processes and technologies while on the path to growth. Not only can this broaden the knowledge of a remote workforce, but also drive productivity in the long-run. With virtual HR systems in place, “change management” training adopts a whole new meaning thanks to the immersive capabilities of virtual reality. VR training, for example, equips employers to educate and upskill in innovative new ways – from running through real-life scenarios, to the invaluable experience of employees training alongside fellow colleagues. With no physical boardroom or workshop required, these laser-focused sessions can also help businesses cut back on location-related costs.
5. Evolving how we do business
While the metaverse continues to enter the HR sphere, one thing is for certain: collaboration is critical to fostering a thriving workplace culture. It may take a while for businesses to adopt such technology. Yet as it enters the mainstream, the metaverse looks set to revolutionize how employers and employees behave on an everyday level. The world of virtual reality and headsets may still seem far-fetched for many; but what the metaverse represents has the real power to transform the employee experience. We’ll be watching this space to see how the metaverse forges ahead into the professional arena in new and exciting ways.
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