As post-pandemic uncertainty in supply chains, talent shortages, climate shocks, and inflation persist, it is clear that organizations must focus on strategies that strengthen productivity and resilience. Immersive employee experiences (EX) can help by streamlining processes, from hiring and training to production and field service.
Immersive EX can also meet job candidates’ growing expectations for their hiring and work experiences and deliver the kind of sustainability and inclusion outcomes that many consumers now expect from brands. As Forrester said in his 2022 Predictions Guidecustomers and employees demand more: seamless experiences across channels, convenience, peace of mind, and a commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values.
To see how immersive and connected EX can contribute to productivity, retention, sustainability, and inclusion, it’s important to first define immersive experiences. We see them as experiences that combine relevant user interaction technologies at the right time, in the right context.
Technologies can range from traditional mobile and computer interactions to experiences powered by AR headsets, spoken interactions with voice assistants, motion-activated sound and lighting control, digital signage, and more. Time and contexts may include candidate selection, hiring, and onboarding processes. , Training, Meetings & Collaboration, Customer Service Support, Field Service & Troubleshooting, Sales & Marketing, and much more.
Immersive employee experiences can improve productivity and retention
Productivity gains can help organizations reduce costs, increase revenue, and modulate the impact of talent shortages. Engaging and connecting with employees through immersive experiences is a strategy to increase productivity and retention. For example, an employee portal that prompts employees to complete tasks, receive training, complete timesheets and expense reports, and manage travel records can enable them to handle those processes faster and reduce time spent on email reminders and follow-ups. .
Mixed reality training can enable employees to learn faster and retain knowledge better through real-time, immersive 3D experiences. For example, some vehicle manufacturers are already using augmented reality technology to train production line workers to assemble delicate or complex components before they join the line, to help them get up to speed quickly without risking slow down production or quality control issues. Providing an example of passive or ambient immersive experiences, smart sensors and building management technologies can support productivity by adjusting temperature, lighting, and humidity settings based on human activity in real time, for optimal guest comfort. employees and fewer distractions.
Productive employees can also spend more time addressing customer needs and building relationships with them. As Forrester noted, technology programs that enhance EX and CX can create competitive advantage and deliver a net productivity gain of 3% to 5%. Productive employees are more engaged and happy, which in turn increases retention.
Immersive EX can make processes and practices more sustainable
The same smart building technology that can personalize the indoor environment for workers can also reduce businesses’ heating, cooling and lighting costs, along with their carbon footprint. For example, a regional sustainability program estimates that motion sensor-controlled lights in open-plan offices can reduce lighting costs by 20-25%while in warehouses these types of immersive controls can reduce lighting costs by up to 75%, with a typical payback time of three years or less.
Other immersive technologies, such as mixed reality employee training, team problem solving, and creative collaboration, can reduce the amount of air travel required for these activities. Considering that a single flight from New York to London emits a ton of carbon dioxide per passenger, immersive investments that connect employees remotely could have a huge ESG impact for organizations. That’s especially important for B2C brands, because the number of American consumers who regularly buy from brands that “align with your personal values…will exceed 50% by 2022”, while consumers in Canada, the UK, Italy, Germany and Spain are also increasingly making similar purchasing decisions.
Immersive technology can make the employee experience more inclusive
Currently, American adults with disabilities have twice the unemployment rate of adults without disabilities. Expanding accessibility through Immersive EX can bring more people into the workforce and enable them to transition into new roles. Immersive technologies that recognize gestures or speech instead of typed commands, teach through augmented reality experiences instead of text, or allow listening instead of reading text can make the employee experience more inclusive.
For example, a mobile software operating system is working on a new version that will recognize the owner’s gestures without requiring them to touch the device’s screen. This will allow users who cannot use touch screens to interact with their environment through their phones, for example, send messages, make calls, perform searches, participate in video conferences, control smart devices and equipment, and more.
The inclusion benefits of connecting employees through immersive experiences help employers struggling to find talent in a tight job market. According to the US Centers for Disease Control, 26% of American adults have a disability, mobility being the most frequent type of disability. Among military veterans of working age, 30% have a disability. Adopting technologies that remove structural barriers to employment can expand the talent pool and increase workforce diversity, which is a recognized driver highest innovation and revenue.
Creating immersive experiences for employees
It’s tempting to invest in immersive technology and then look for problems it can solve, but it’s critical to focus on the total cost of ownership, including how immersive tools will work with the enterprise technology stack, and start with a problem, rather than a problem. than a solution.
It is also essential to understand the user. Investing in observational and ethnographic research about your employees, their needs and tasks, and their goals is the first step to fully identifying and understanding the issues that can enhance immersive and connected experiences. Once you understand the employee journey and the areas where they need more support or better resources, it will be easier to select the best platform and technologies to create new employee experiences.
Starting with a problem to solve, testing the solution, and then gradually implementing it can lay the groundwork for a more productive, sustainable, and inclusive employee experience. You can also create a roadmap for other immersive experiences your organization may offer to customers, partners, and other stakeholders in the future. By harnessing the power of immersive technology, companies can make significant workplace and business improvements that set them apart from the competition.