Guido Helmerhorst
Founder & CGO

Lessons learned about onboarding

With the proliferation of hybrid ways to work, HR teams are faced with multiple challenges when trying to adopt remote work on a large scale. Under these conditions, it proves to be hard to maintain a cohesive team culture. It may also be necessary to onboard new employees remotely rather than in person.

Add sustainability to that mix and most organizations become reluctant to fly new hires across the country or globe to get familiar with the different aspects of the company. And research shows that just 12% of people believe that their employers onboarded them properly.

It's important to be adaptable and proactive in addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by hybrid work, in order to ensure that onboarding is successful and that new employees feel supported and integrated into their teams.

In 2022, we learned a lot on this topic from working with our customers and attending industry events. These lessons support our belief that VR training is the new norm for onboarding. Read on for a recap. 👇

Performance Journey

At the Performance Journey event we shared the stage with Digital Learning Advisor Peter Faulhaber of NS (Dutch Railways), who is the driving force for new trains coming into operation. To onboard engineers, train conductors and other roles who should familiarize themselves with the specifics of the trains, all of them have to travel to the center of the Netherlands, resulting in a significant loss of productivity. During the Q&A, the audience shared similar challenges where they needed to get people to different locations which proved hard because of the logistics and costs.

NS solved this problem using VR training using storytelling and 360° video to create a realistic and recognizable on-the-job learning environment for train mechanics and drivers, where it feels to them as if they are actually present in the train set. Trainees can use their own smartphones to learn from practical situations in varying levels of complexity.

Unleash World

Training, learning and how to see it in the light of onboarding were a big part of the conversations we had at our booth at Unleash World in Paris. A few quotes:

“We are onboarding 500 people a month and they need to know how a cleanroom looks like and the do’s and don’ts.” - ASML

“We are showing new employees flag stores around the globe to immerse themselves into the look and feel of our brand. We have experimented with 360° video, but want to take it to the next level.” - Gucci

“We have our own fire department with new firemen coming in every month. The reactor however is in operation so no one can enter. How can we use VR to overcome this limitation of access?” - CERN

Onboard Amsterdam

It wasn’t a coincidence that we ended up having a booth at Onboard Amsterdam, the yearly event from our partner Appical. They have been in the onboarding business for years and started when onboarding as a category didn't even exist. The whole day our headsets were running overtime providing demos to the hundreds of visitors from a big variety of companies, both national and international. Adding immersive experiences to the currently 2D onboarding experience Appical provides was perceived as a big additional value. The ability to experience a location without physically having to go there blew a lot of people’s minds.

Immersive Tech Week

During the Maritime Morning of the Immersive Tech Week in Rotterdam we joined the stage with STC Group, a worldwide operating educational and research institution for the shipping, logistics, transport and process industries. During that 25 minute talk, we shared how to create an immersive guided tour scenario. The company created that scenario from start to finish in less than 2 weeks and was able to share the experience via a QR code with the audience. STC will now start using the experience to have teachers experience the new training ship, just like in real life.

ATD Europe

At ATD Europe - the event on reshaping talent development and corporate learning ecosystems - the topic of onboarding and immersive technologies also surfaced a lot. One of the conversations we had, was about building a whole new city and ecosystem where thousands of people have to familiarize themselves with job opportunities, living conditions, facilities, etc. in a short amount of time. Normal video just doesn’t cut it, especially when you want to put an emphasis on the user experience and wow factor.

In closing

The possibilities of immersive learning for onboarding are endless. We hope we got you inspired to think about the next level onboarding experience you can provide to your employees. We’ve collected a few articles if you like to learn more:

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