How can HR use the metaverse?

Expert says tech provides cost-efficient benefits for recruitment, onboarding, training

How can HR use the metaverse?

The metaverse has gained traction in recent years but a lot of Kiwi leaders are sceptical about how the metaverse can be applied to business and what it can truly deliver.

But the technology actually has a lot to offer, especially for the HR industry, according to Melissa Crawford, director of Tech with Heart.

“Training and development is ripe for it, onboarding is ripe for it, recruitment is ripe for it, and metaverse technology is way more cost-efficient than trying to do a lot of these functions in person,” said Crawford – a certified metaverse expert who has been invited to be part of the World Metaverse Council (WMC).

The WMC is an open and decentralised platform that brings together over 100 metaverse experts from all over the world to collaborate, advocate, and open the dialogue for creating policy that ensures there are structures in place to help design positive environments and safety mechanisms that promote an equitable and inclusive life within the metaverse.

“With every technology, it’s not about the technology itself, it’s about how it gets used and it’s that human component that determines if it’s good or bad,” said Crawford.

Crawford holds two technology degrees and has spent her 25-year career developing people and organisational psychology experience within HR teams. The combination of tech and heart makes her uniquely positioned to contribute to the WMC.

“There are different streams in the council and I’m on the one centred around education — educating people on what it is as well as looking at how you may use it for learning and development through school, university, and business,” she said.

What can the metaverse do for business?

Imagine running the onboarding process in the metaverse, said Crawford.

“You walk your avatar to the IT zone and there’s another avatar who could be based anywhere in the world but he’s going to talk you through setting up your computer and it’s going to feel like you’re actually there with them. It’s just so much more experiential than working through, say, 10 e-learning modules.”

In March 2022, HRD spoke with Sarah Kruger, head of HR ANZ at Accenture, whose onboarding team had completed 2000 onboards in less than a year, only possible she says, thanks to the metaverse: “Our poor onboarding team would have been in a heap in the corner had that been a traditional face-to-face format.”

Crawford said employee experience is another area that benefits hugely within the metaverse, for events such as beach parties and concerts hosted by organisations.

“Creating employee experiences in the metaverse, you can do it at such scale for such a low cost that you couldn’t do across the scale of all your physical sites across the world.”

There are also behavioural elements that Crawford says she is “really passionate about.”

“There are some really interesting things around interviewing in the metaverse — your digital avatar can help to neutralise some of the bias. I’m not judging you by your height, weight, age, or gender because I’m literally seeing an avatar.”

The metaverse isn’t going away

The market size of the metaverse is over $38.5 billion, over $500 million dollars of real estate has been purchased in the metaverse so far and by 2026, it’s estimated that a quarter of people will spend an hour in the metaverse each day. While it’s a slow burn, its popularity is growing and starting to live up to its potential.

“There’s something serious about the technology and what it can offer that I think won’t disappear. Even if it evolves into something different. The human connection and immersion element is something powerful that we can leverage,” said Crawford.


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