Using VR for HR
Here’s how you can make a cool—and lasting—impression with new staffers by adding virtual reality technology to training programs.
When Justin Rosenberg received a cardboard virtual reality headset from Google in the mail a few years ago, he first checked out the capabilities by using it with his smart phone. Then he asked himself, “What can I do with this?”
His first thought: Training.
The founder and CEO of healthy, fast-casual chain Honeygrow then teamed up with Philadelphia-based Klip Collective to take his training program to the next level. Honeygrow uses a proprietary virtual-reality video to onboard new staff and introduce the brand in a way that engages them through cutting-edge technology, which 76 percent of millennials have said they’d use at work.
In the past, Rosenberg says new hires would often sit in training sessions, not make eye contact, look at their phone and generally be somewhat disengaged. He wanted to change that behavior.
“We’re fast casual, and we’re cooking food and food safety is critical,” Rosenberg says. “I used to think, ‘How could I get this information to stick with my team members?’”
In addition to using VR to instruct employees how to make salads and perfect noodles and stir fry, Rosenberg says they show the walk-in cooler through the technology in order to turn it into a bit of a game. It helps staffers learn how to safely organize proteins and other ingredients in the walk-in.
In August 2017, KFC introduced a virtual reality game modeled after an escape room in order to teach employees how to master a five-step process of frying chicken in 10 minutes versus the 25 minutes it takes in real life. At the time it was introduced, a KFC spokesman told Eater, “The game is intended to supplement the existing Chicken Mastery program, not replace it.”
Rosenberg, who admits it took some time for the VR training to catch on, agrees it won’t replace real life experience.
“This doesn’t really replace training,” he says. “It’s more like ‘step one’ of training and introducing you to the concept. If you’re a general manager, you’re training for months. You’re really only going to learn under trial by fire.”
While VR likely won’t replace training, it could become a handy tool for QSRs and other larger restaurant chains to help introduce their new staffers to the company.