Metaverse: A world full of potential, complexities

Can it really improve employee engagement, hiring and training?

Metaverse: A world full of potential, complexities

For all the talk about the metaverse, few employees are truly aware of what it is.

In terms a layman may grasp, the metaverse is a technology that enables immersive capability to bring people together in a 3D-generated digital world that is synchronized, and where many people can interact at once, says Michael Moerman, partner at Capco Canada, a technology consultancy, in talking with Canadian HR Reporter.

“This is brand new technology which is poised to be much more impactful than any technology we've seen emerge before,” he says.

All this could be in the hands of workers and employers, if they begin to use the VR headset.

“Until such time you actually put the VR headset on your head, it's quasi-impossible to make you experience what it means. It is that powerful experience, but it has to be experienced,” says Moerman.

Engagement, onboarding, mental health

By plunging into the metaverse, employers and workers can tap into a reality that makes work come alive.

“The metaverse is poised to bring us full coexistence, although through avatars, of people in the space, and full interactions,” says Moerman. “One of the great things about virtual reality and immersiveness is that you can experience to a full extent scenarios of interaction.”

This makes sense now, as employee engagement levels are falling worldwide, according to a previous report. And the metaverse allows managers to touch base on a more personal level with employees who may be going through emotional distress, he says.

“You can actually experience what that person is [feeling] when that person is talking to you; how they move their hands, how they interact with you. And you can actually have that dialogue with a person.”

Read more: In June, KPMG introduced a 3D platform called the metaverse collaboration hub. And in 2021, Hyundai Card – the credit card arm of Hyundai Motor Group – decided to hold its year-end celebrations in the metaverse.

The metaverse can also help in eliminating bias in applicant interviews, says Moerman.

“You can actually remove that bias completely by having an avatar that can look like anyone or anything that that person wants. You can change [your] voice but still have the full emotion of the person [be] transparent or have the full interaction of the person transpire.”

Capco is looking to use the metaverse in training and onboarding hybrid workers, especially with people still not comfortable coming to the office. And the Bank of America has rolled out VR training to all of its tellers, he says.

Potential obstacles

However, there are a few obstacles for employers. These include concerns about privacy, data security, accessibility, governance and making people feel safe in the metaverse and in their personal space, says Moerman.

Inside the metaverse, 63 per cent of employees are concerned about their employer collecting their data and 61 per cent are concerned about being monitored by their employer.

“In the web these days, anything related to widgets and forums and buttons are very much standardized – there is no such standard in the 3D world,” he says.

“It needs to be approached with a degree of caution and with the degree of introspection of what it is that we want to achieve, but also being very mindful of the potential pitfalls and drawbacks it can bring.”

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