VR Soft Skills Training to Grease Workforce Wheels

Updated on :June 12, 2024
By :Jennifer Warren

People don't leave companies, they say; they leave their bosses.  

What kind of bosses, you may ask?

"Demanding Bosses," "Overtime Bosses," "Yelling-at-the-top-of-their-voice bosses," Keeping-you-on-your-toes-forever bosses." 

You will find them in all stripes and shapes, and that too in trainloads. You bet!

However, companies must understand that they need to train their leaders and employees in soft skills to take their business to the next level.

So, if you believe that your company lacks soft skills, try using tech-driven VR soft skills training tools and methods. GoodFirms has handpicked and listed some top AR and VR companies that can help you in this process.

SoftSkills-Gary-Vaynerchuk-CEO-VayerMedia

So far, so good!

But then, guess what? Though the concept of soft skills has been revered much in theory, it could be more in practice. Companies prefer to hone employees' hard skills, such as coding, because they can be measured, unlike soft skills like communication, empathy, and more. In fact, the latter is reckoned to be an inherent part of human DNA. 

However, the bottom line is: Soft skills are an art and a science. It can be learned and improved upon. 

In fact, according to Research and Markets study, the soft skills training market is projected to reach US$ 47.16 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 12.3% during 2022-2027. 

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This article highlights tips, benefits, and devices that could help businesses bolster their VR soft skill training efforts. Remember: With subjects such as diversity and inclusion catching fire, soft skills could be the bedrock on which business could fruitfully and efficiently build their company leadership. 

But first, let's start with a brief on Soft Skills and their growing importance.

Soft Skills and Their Growing Importance

The term soft skills is not as soft as it sounds as it comes heavily loaded with all kinds of positive human qualities, namely, effective communication, active listening, conflict resolution, self-control, and so much more. 

Every industry has developed essential soft skills terminologies to suit its operational style. 

But then, no matter what, two common themes that run across the board, irrespective of the industry you are working for, are Communication skills and Active listening.

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Now, communication and active listening aren't mutually exclusive terms. Think about it!

Okay, tell me: How does effective communication happen? Through Active Listening, right?

Well, since we are on the subject of communication, it reminds me of a great book on empathetic communication written by best-selling author Celeste Headlee. Headlee, in her book, "We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations that matter," shares, "The setting aside of the self – and all of the opinions, causes, beliefs, and biases that come with it – is one of the cornerstones of great conversation. 

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Source: nationalsoftskills.org

She meant that to have effective communication, you need to leave your opinions at the door and interact and empathize with others (even your enemies) to indicate you understand their ideas and look for common threads that lead to harmony between competing parties. Such understanding prompts fruitful conversations and collaborations within and outside the teams. 

Besides getting along with your friends and enemies, soft skills ensure great teamwork, time management, improved productivity, and delegation.

Not surprisingly, the skill is so much in demand. According to The World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report, by 2025, complex problem-solving, creativity, people management, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence will be among the top-rated skills in the workplace.

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And now, with comprehensive e-learning programs, face-to-face educational classes, and, more importantly, VR entering the soft skills arena, companies can quickly train their employees. 

So what are you waiting for? As forward-thinking entrepreneurs, it's the right time to reach out to top VR and AR companies in Bangalore on GoodFirms. With the advancement of technology, it's more apt to have onboard VR virtual trainers than traditional trainers.

Given the growing importance of soft skills, VR soft skills training is breaking new ground as it is cost-effective on the scale, and you can practice as much as you want without getting intimidated by the trainer. 

What's VR Soft Skills Training? 

VR soft skills training is a hands-on approach, to simple heuristics, through realistic simulations that imitate real people and the real world. The tech comprises sight and sound and typically offers a 360-degree immersive experience, making the user believe in the make-believe world.

Wondering how this VR Soft Skills Training Works?

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It’s simple. The participant is made to don a VR headset that transports her to virtual mission-critical scenarios. The conversations she’s exposed to are complex and complicated - something she hasn’t encountered before. 

However, she doesn’t have anything to worry about, as finding a way out of the maze is actually a breeze, thanks to the continual availability of a virtual trainer. 

For the unversed, trainers and trainees supposedly join the same simulation to interact and practice difficult conversations, helping the trainees build and improvise on their soft skills.

Such soft skills training is a blessing, especially for managers who are supposed to pull up low-performing employees without charging at them.  Or when dealing with a racist slur on the office premises with a cool head. Or when you are expected to draw infinitely from your well of patience when training new hires before they are put on a live job. 

The VR-soft skills training by top virtual reality companies in Mumbai ensure that participants get to practice de-escalation methodologies, active listening, and decision-making skills with the aid of a virtual avatar so that they are well-prepared to deal with messy situations in real life.  

More to the point, VR training ensures the participants learn to defuse their faulty reasoning, break through biases, and analyze and correct their chain of thoughts, thereby developing a more rational (read-softer) approach toward a given problem. 

What’s more, the participants are free to practice ten to a thousand times in an almost realistic environment, that too in the presence of an audience, along with sound, lighting, and more.

Conversely, the trainer avatar learns to react by picking specific keywords from the participants and answering them with pre-loaded replies.   

4 Ways to Use VR Soft Skills Training for Businesses  

VR soft skill training has caught the fancy of corporations. New hires, employees in general, and leaders stand to gain a lot as VR exposes them to an authentic environment where they get to practice their acts, receive feedback, and rectify them accordingly. The tips discussed here will help you get started.    


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#1. Use VR Simulations to Promote Diversity and Inclusion at Workplace

As it turns out, diversity and inclusion have been the elephant in the room for ages. However, the "Black Lives Matter" movement has yet again turned the spotlight on "Diversity and Inclusion." 

Though crucial, the complex nature of the concept makes it difficult for leaders to practice diversity and inclusion in the workplace. And again, though these two terms seem synonyms, the differences are akin to a donkey and a dog. While diversity centers around inviting people to be part of your team, inclusion is about "having your ideas" heard. 

And according to McKinsey's study, diversity in the workplace is not as much of an issue as inclusion. To bolster inclusivity, companies must go above and beyond to guarantee that all their employees will be heard, irrespective of their sex, race, religion, and creed. Put another way, inviting people to your table is one thing; asking them to share their opinions is another.

This is where Virtual Reality (VR) comes into the scene as a force to be reckoned with. The VR tool enables managers to nurture an inclusive environment. 

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As part of the VR training, employees and leaders are exposed to situations that make them realize what it is like to be marginalized, underrepresented, and excluded in the workplace. The simulation script and the various acts of exclusion and microaggressions used are based on real-life experiences, making the participants realize the gravity of the situation. 

Long story short, an empathizing company culture tends to bump up against the borders of society, and VR Soft Skills training could lead to this change. 

Rope in top Augmented Reality and Virtuality Reality Companies in Delhi if you wish to iron out diversity and inclusivity issues in your company.

#2.   VR Simulations to Train New Customer Service Associates Before they Go Live 

If I am right, customer-facing employees face the most challenging situations. Listening to customer queries and complaints constantly, and some customers don't mind screaming their lungs out.  Agreed, developing thick skin helps. Even then, the job of a customer care rep is not easy. You must build extreme patience levels if you are a customer service rep. 

VR tools help build the required soft skills to help customer service reps tackle customer queries smartly. 

As mentioned, virtual reality is known for its realistic simulations. These simulations can help customer-facing employees gain experience at work and mainly helps them keep their emotions in check. The VR creates fake-yet-real-life scenarios using digital avatars, which helps the reps learn how to interact and deal with demanding customers and complex situations.

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Dubbed the "ultimate empathy machine," VR puts customer service reps in the customers' shoes and makes them experience life from the latter's point of view. Understanding customers' points of view helps foster empathy more actively than passively, like watching a video or reading a book. 

Customer service reps, through the use of VR, can fundamentally alter how they think and act. With the headsets on, for instance, the reps can enter the real world of callers with complaints. 

For instance, the headset helps them venture into the homes of complaining customers and experience first-hand their day-to-day activities. This will help associates relate with customers personally, helping them do a better job. It could be that, among many other things, these customers are too tied up with child care, office work, cooking, and other household errands.    

Such active handling of customer complaints helps associates enhance their work output and is especially beneficial for management. 

What's more, top Augmented and Virtual Reality Companies in Pune can train reps to practice Regular Customer Service Responses and Dialogue. Not to mention improve Situational Awareness by helping them comprehend the store environment beforehand and fix issues. It could be spills, items on the wrong shelves, fused bulbs, tripping hazards, and more before the customer notices them.  

#3. VR Simulations to Improve Presentation Skills 

Two things about presentation skills. It can be learned. And techs such as VR help shorten the learning curve. 

As it turns out, the corporate world bets on people with excellent presentation skills. Why? It helps them secure big contracts, funds, and more. Conversely, employees benefit from guaranteed promotions, salary increases, and more.

That said, giving presentation info is not everyone's cup of tea, as messages need to be delivered precisely and concisely. Most people would prefer to think twice before they slip into the presenter's role. 

However, as mentioned, presentation skills can be learned over a while. This is where VR simulations have a role to play. 

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Whether you are preparing for a TED talk, team meeting, or conference, VR simulations can immerse you in real-life experiences to scale up your skills in keeping with the type of event.  

It can place you in a similar setting where you'll deliver the presentation. For instance, the VR presentation rooms can be simulated in the form of TED theater, classrooms, networking rooms, press conferences rooms, occasions rooms, and so much more. 

What's more, you even receive immediate feedback on your presentations regarding  speaking pace, any hesitation shown, eye contact, and more. Consult top Augmented Reality and Virtuality Reality Companies in Ahmedabad to know more about VR-led Presentation training. 

#4. VR Simulations to Measure and Plug in the Skill Gaps 

With virtual reality, one can measure skill sets in a more detailed and accurate manner. For instance, a score is assigned for every decision made by the participant in an immersive learning exercise. An explanation is offered for how the score is determined and the areas where they can improve. Once the exercise is over, the participant can observe her overall score.     

The tool allows managers to review their employees' skills progression, based on which they can develop different training programs for their employees and lay the career path for individual employees.

 A 2021 Harvard Business Review article reported on HPE Financial Services (HPEFS) use of VR to optimize training for their sales representatives. As per the article, nearly 340 strong sales reps teams were pitted against an avatar that simulated a C-level customer. The entire simulation experience was then recorded and shared with the managers to further decide on its sales reps' future course of training, whether they should be enrolled at the Basic, Intermediate, or Advanced level. 

Value of VR Soft-skills Training  

By now, you already know how empowering it's to have a virtual avatar as a soft skills trainer. Moving on, here we talk about the benefits that companies stand to gain from associating with top Augmented and Virtual Reality Companies.

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5 Benefits of VR Soft Skills Training 

Unlike classroom training and e-learning, VR Soft Skills training ensures high emotional engagement with the participants. Add to that, the participants are free to express themselves, in front of the VR trainer, without any fear of repercussions and, at the same time, get instant feedback. And amazingly, it's cost-effective and ensures confident applications of learned skills. 

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#1. High Emotional Engagement for the Participants 

As it turns out, emotional engagement is zero in e-learning content. Being a one-way street, the experience is passive. For that matter, even role-plays offer limited engagement. 

With virtual reality, however, things are a lot different. As mentioned above, people can experience real emotions when they enter a dialogue with virtual human characters.  

A PwC study, "PwC Understanding the Effectiveness of VR Soft Skills Training in the Enterprise," has found that training people via VR is far more effective than traditional methods and e-learning. As per the study, learners trained with VR were 3.75x more emotionally attached to content than classroom learners and 2.3x more emotionally connected to content than e-learners.

The emotional connection is possible because VR offers immersive learning environments. The simulated situations feel real. The practical attire of the virtual characters, the environment, the speech, and the virtual participants' body language all come together to give a touch of reality to the simulations. So it's easier for the learners to engage in these scenarios, as it gives them a real-world feel.    

#2. Practice without the Fear of Failure and Receive Instant Feedback

Unlike classroom learning, learning in a virtual environment is soothing as you are not dealing with real-life characters but fictional ones. So there is no question of things getting out of hand or being judged. You are free to make poor decisions. You are free to be as pathetic as possible in your virtual performance, and you will be answerable to no one except yourself. It's because you can always return to the negative situation and reverse it to a positive one.  

For example, you think you went overboard and said unnecessary things during a critical feedback session with a virtual employee. No problem! The situation can be reversed by repeating the same scenario; this time, you can knowingly tone down your voice. 

Once you are confident about the situation in the virtual world and can put your finger on your negative traits and learn to fight them, you can switch to meaningful conversations in the real world. 

Further, avatars are engineered to offer instant feedback to the participants, helping the latter to focus on areas that require improvements. Additionally, managers can quickly evaluate "before and after" employee performance after VR training. 

#3. No Recurring Expense; One-time Investment  

If you are a newbie in the VR development arena and intend to introduce customized VR solutions, surely the cost would be pretty high. 

However, in the long run, companies stand to gain, as VR training consumes very less time than any classroom and e-learning course. More than anything, it's a one-time investment, unlike traditional training, wherein you need to hire experts, time and again.  

Plus, there are ready-made solutions that companies can think of using as soft skills training modules are found to be the same across industries. Team up with  top VR and AR companiesglobally that offer an array of off-the-shelf VR solutions, from training customer associates in dealing with complex situations to sensitizing leaders to various inclusion and diversity scenarios.    

Once VR is made an integral part of the entire organization, the companies gain in terms of saved time on employee training, not to mention the potential to scale across the organization. Additionally, global scaling becomes possible with cloud-based VR training, as geographical limitations don't matter.

Further, VR tech is constantly evolving. The amount of hardware required to run current VR courses is also lessening, reducing the associated costs. Plus, the latest VR systems run independently, can be accessed without much fuzz, and, more than anything, can be easily deployed to any corner of the world.  

Long story short, VR is economical compared to traditional methods of soft skills training when you look at it from a long-term perspective. This makes VR a must-have soft-skills training technology of the future.  

#4. Confident Applications of Learned Skills 

Whether pulling up an employee for low performance or dealing with destructive appraisal issues, managers and HR guys get to practice the same complex scenarios tens of thousands of times on a VR before going public.  

Per the PWC survey, VR learners are 275% more confident to implement strategies they learned during training - and it's 40% better over classroom training and 35% over e-learn training. 

As the VR devices help practice in an immersive, stress-free environment, the training leads to higher confidence levels and enhanced ability to apply learning on the job. 

#5. More Focussed Training

A single commonplace trait that's crippling the productivity of humans is smartphone addiction. Smartphones are considered to be the leading cause of distraction.

With VR, the scope for distraction is relatively less as the simulation, and immersive experiences take over the participant's attention. According to a PwC study, VR-trained employees were 4x more focused than their e-learning counterparts and 1.5x more focused than classroom learners.  

Types of VR Devices to Consider for Soft-Skills Training

1] 360-degree Videos: When you want your digital avatars to exude real human emotions, then 360-degree videos are the right choice. Actual rooms filled with real people are filmed as part of the training program. In fact, the avatar can be an actual human captured with a 360-degree camera. Though face rigging and lip-syncing technology are still developing, these videos are sure to match your requirements for real videos and animations. 

2] Passive VR:  Passive VR is useful when making presentations. As the name implies, passive VR can be used when the participant has a one-sided conversation and has nothing to do with the audience. In this case, the environment can be green-screened and highly rendered. 

3] Interactive VR: When participants plan to have limited interaction with other people, but don't care for exact human emotions and animations, then interactive VR is perfect for the job. However, this VR has to have specific mechanisms for the participant to interact with the environment, such as a push button or selecting objects. Interactive VR is useful when you plan to lead a meeting and expect the virtual avatars to give some reaction.    

Case Study: Walmart - Nurturing Kindness Freaks 

Some time back, a news piece appeared on TV featuring an angry Walmart customer arguing with one of the company's health ambassadors. The point of contention: Mask. The customer wasn't ready to don the mask inside the store. But no matter how angry the customer got or how ugly the situation turned, the ambassador maintained her cool and didn't let the situation go out of hand. 

When the same ambassador was questioned about how she defused the crisis, her answer was that in-house VR software training helped her sail through the situation coolly. 

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The retail giant ventured into the VR soft skills arena in 2016 with the idea of helping its workers nurture kindness when faced with challenging situations. And the behavior of the health ambassador above proved that the VR training was a success. 

The best part of having VR tech on board is that you spend less time on training. 

Ninety minutes of traditional classroom training could be done in twenty minutes using VR, ensuring millions of dollars in productivity savings.

Today, Walmart has rolled out 8,000 Oculus Go headsets for its 200 training centers attached to Walmart Stores, training almost 1.5 million workers in the U.S. 

Using VR Soft Skills Training to Grease Workforce Wheels 

Sure, there are competitive soft skills trainers out there. However, nothing compares to the efficiency of VR-driven soft skills virtual trainers. You will receive quick feedback while practicing in a real-world setting as much as you like. Even staff skill gaps can be quickly filled.

If these benefits weren't enough, it also smoothes out any creases and helps workers get along with coworkers of any gender, color, or religion. More significantly, it fosters strong customer relationships among staff members and helps leaders hone their inclusive and diverse leadership abilities, among many other advantages. In comparison to classroom and online learning, it also saves time.

It is, therefore, imperative that businesses move away from conventional soft skills training techniques. Is your business ready? 

Jennifer Warren
Jennifer Warren

Jennifer Warren is a resident wordsmith @ GoodFirms – a review and rating agency that offers a level playing field to mobile app businesses of all sizes. She is a connoisseur of deep work and an addictive reader who believes in the magic of deeply researched posts to drive traffic and conversions for sites.

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