Virtual reality (VR) is blazing hot at the moment, and its popularity will likely only grow in the coming years. In fact, a 2017 study found that 82% of all Americans are at least somewhat interested in the concept. But what does that mean for HR, and how can leaders harness the growing interest in VR to help recruit, retain and train employees? In its current iteration, we see VR being most useful in the following scenarios.


Lots of companies give their candidates a preview of the office or working environment via online video, but a virtual reality tour would enable HR to immediately interact with the candidate and provide additional insight or answer any questions the candidate may have in real time. Also, if you’re recruiting for a highly technical role, VR can provide the technology that’s needed to remotely assess the candidate’s skills and determine if they’re up to standard.


HR departments are often over-resourced, and one area that suffers is onboarding. While virtual reality setups are no substitution for human interaction during onboarding, it can certainly add a warmer feel to the process than simply relying on a stack of forms and booklets to welcome your new employees to the company. Using VR, you can introduce new hires to the organization with a greeting from the CEO, let them meet fellow colleagues and get acquainted with some of the key cultural points that drive your organization. Also, if you have a sizable number of employees who are permanent remote workers, VR can be a great way to get them integrated with the day-to-day vibe of the business.


Possibly the most important area where it will have an impact, virtual reality training presents some really positive opportunities. Through simulations, VR can recreate real-world scenarios to help employees prepare for various business situations with absolutely no risk to your organization’s reputation, clients or bottom line. VR can help your employees master customer relations, body language, listening and conflict resolution — all without miscommunicating with a key stakeholder or fudging a client request. It’s on-the-job training that’s almost as good as real-world experience. And depending on your business, that aspect alone might make virtual reality worth the investment.