Walmart, the biggest private employer of the USA, is using VR to test their employees and find potential new managers.
With the virtual reality headsets, Walmart puts its employees in real-life situations, like angry costumers or onboarding new employees. According to Drew Holler, Senior VP for associate experience at Walmart, it tests knowledge of store departments, decision-making, leadership capacities and soft skills to place employees in the best-fitting job. “What we measure is how they engage with us”, Holler said. “There’s no right or wrong, but it gives an understanding of their level of maturity when it comes to leadership, as well as how they view customer service.”
STRIVR, a California-based company, designed the training using $250 Oculus Go VR headsets. Oculus is a VR company owned by social media giant Facebook. In 2017 the first VR headsets first rolled out in 30 Walmart Academies. The company claims that VR training improves employee confidence and has boosted test scores 10 to 15 percent.
Promotion and 10% pay raise due to VR
David Arias (32), a 12-year employee of a Walmart in Economy, Pennsylvania, earned a promotion and 10% pay raise after being tested with VR technology. One of the VR scenarios required him to act as a manager and assist a store employee and customer searching the aisles for mascara. Based on his handling in this particular situation, his hiring manager and the VR technology determined he had equal strengths for teaching and leadership. “Our environment truly is 360 degrees, so a move to VR is a superb choice in keeping up with the times. You get a better feel for what it’s actually like to be in those shoes”, Arias said to USA TODAY.
According to Forbes, Walmart has used VR to train 1.2 million of its employees already and found that it’s a huge time-saver.