The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to make sweeping changes to internal processes and procedures. Some have struggled to reimagine workflows amidst the abrupt pivot to remote work. Others have had to consolidate supply chains or even rethink entire business models.

The decisions you make in the uncertainty of the present will determine your company’s future in the next normal. In particular, that future will be defined by how you develop your organization’s greatest assets — its talented people — while the pandemic persists.

New Realities

When considering the demands of today’s workers, opportunities for professional training and skill development almost always top the list. Unfortunately, the pandemic is rendering traditional teaching models obsolete.

Historically, formal employee training methods revolved around in-person experiences. Learning was enhanced by physical props, face-to-face interactions, eye contact, body language, and other unspoken elements that drive interpersonal engagement. When training takes place in a typical virtual setting, those elements largely disappear. The result is less engagement and less comprehension among students.

Many traditional training programs required travel to seminars, product demonstrations, or conventions. That’s no longer an option now, with corporate travel at a standstill during the pandemic. For companies selling expensive devices or complex hardware, sending products to every employee for training might not be financially viable.

So what are the alternatives?

The pandemic has forced us to double down on our use of technology, and when it comes to employee development, one technology will make an exponential impact: virtual reality.

Scalable and Proven

A number of qualities make VR uniquely suited to complement and even replace traditional training techniques. For starters, it’s affordable. Today, a $399 headset can provide a completely immersive experience, without support from a separate dedicated PC. Headsets can be used for years and can eliminate the need for expensive and time-consuming travel.

The affordability and portability of modern VR technology mean that virtual-reality training is totally scalable. Employees can learn from anywhere; because the experience is digital, it can be a pre-recorded, narrated experience or a live session. Unlike a Zoom meeting, VR offers a fully engaging experience, facilitating learning by doing in a collaborative environment that captures both body movements and audio expressions.

Incorporating VR into your training program is probably easier than you think. As you look for ways to harness the technology, keep these three principles in mind:

1. Get feedback first. Before going all-in on company VR headsets, test the concept with your employees. Creating simulated training experiences is a relatively inexpensive process and can arm you with the data you need to secure buy-in from the rest of your organization.

2. Do it for the data. Speaking of data, you should collect as much as possible from VR training sessions. Evaluate it to find common obstacles that employees struggle with or recurring issues that limit skill development. Over time, you can optimize VR experiences to be even more effective than in-person learning.

3. Make it yours. Virtual reality headsets are allowing companies like Walmart to recreate the in-store madness of Black Friday and are giving organizations like the U.S. Army ways to prepare soldiers for foreign battlefields. Create VR applications that reflect the unique situations your employees face, and let those simulated experiences prepare them for the real world.

Though demand might be stagnant and product development on hold, your employees must keep growing. The next normal will likely present them with unique challenges. Thanks to the power of VR, you can make sure they’ve seen those challenges before.

To learn more about how Cemtrex can facilitate your unique VR needs, check out our Slingshot case study and see what’s possible with immersive training and education.