The Metaverse is coming for HR – here's what to expect

Meta's HR Director APAC tells us why the metaverse is the future of work

The Metaverse is coming for HR – here's what to expect

By 2026, data from Gartner suggests that 25% of people will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse. In 2022, this is already a reality for Rachel Burton, HR director APAC, at Meta.

“Work is evolving so quickly; we’re all living a new chapter which has been branded the future of work and as we navigate into a hybrid world, we’re seeing business leaders trying to establish what those rhythms will look like for them. Virtual reality (VR) is absolutely one of the technologies that we’re seeing become more popular – a tool to enable us to be connected while we’re working in that hybrid fashion, and it really is much more engaging than the little boxes you see on Zoom,” said Burton.

The world has already decided that remote or hybrid work is here to stay and with that comes the need to support that shift in the workforce with technology that brings people together. Virtual reality (VR) has the potential to take business to the next level, impacting both the way organisations interact with its customers and the way it operates behind the scenes.

“Whether it’s brainstorming, or working on a document, or people just hanging out and socializing and building those relationships, we are seeing that VR does aid people’s ability to collaborate and communicate and connect remotely,” Burton told HRD.

The benefits of VR don’t stop at collaboration and communication. Another key element that is especially important during a talent shortage is the ability to hire people from anywhere in the world.

“When I think about attracting and retaining really strong talent, having different avenues that allow us to tap into talent pools in places that aren’t just where our offices are, and for people to do impactful work from anywhere, virtual reality is certainly a tool I get excited about,” Burton continued.

When VR started emerging as a new technology, the equipment was expensive, clunky and inaccessible to most but as the technology rapidly advances it is now a really viable option for businesses.

“They are working on making them [VR headsets] much more comfortable for longer wear, we’re offering more advanced optics to increase text clarity, and certainly avatars are coming in to help people get more of a mirror from facial expressions so you can really be your authentic self at work,” said Burton.

Thinking about VR in your organization?

“First, I think we need to be really intentional about how we get work done, where we get work done, and what are the norms that we want to guide us in doing that. One thing that is really important in 2022 as we evolve our work is “degree of intentionality” – what do want it to look like and how can we make it work for our business.

Burton said there are three tactics businesses need to consider once they’ve made that commitment to VR being a strategic solution to underpin the needs of your employees and business.

  1. Connecting with your workforce – VR is a fantastic way to create a shared sense of space and connection amongst dispersed or distributed workforces.
  2. Find out what works for your workforce – VR might not benefit every single person in your workforce but as technology evolves, there might be a point where it’s the right time to experiment.
  3. Strengthen through training – think about some of the limitations faced with specialized training in the past, equipment, distance and cost. VR is incredibly efficient at upskilling workforces in new ways.

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