WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Using virtual reality is one way to on board new hires faster and more cost effectively, and Accenture are keeping the model going.
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As more people are embracing the virtual world to better connect, a continuum of technologies and experiences are growing in popularity – and offering huge potential for future ways of learning and working. Accenture is recognised as an early leader in this space, applying technologies, such as extended reality (XR) and digital twins, to deliver breakthrough solutions for more than a decade so it’s natural that they’ve been experimenting with all manner of new experiences for their employees and clients.
With the belief that physical and virtual experiences will co-exist in the future Accenture continues to move into the metaverse to create workplace experiences, where their people can participate, contribute and feel like they belong, regardless of where they work.
The Future of the Metaverse with keynote Matthew Griffin
Working closely with Microsoft they started their journey pre-pandemic by building a virtual campus called the “Nth floor” where people could gather and participate in community events. Then, soon after the pandemic hit they began building on these capabilities for onboarding new employees and then extended them to serve learning and collaboration needs within the organization.
A new era of digital change is being ushered in by the metaverse – a convergence of physical and digital worlds that enables people to move beyond “browsing” to “inhabiting” in a shared experience. Enhanced by advancements in 3D, AR and VR, it’s where people can meet and where digital assets – land, buildings, products, and avatars – can be created, bought and sold.
Accenture’s enterprise metaverse, known as the Nth floor, refers to the virtual environments they have created to bring Accenture people together to meet, collaborate and learn. Whether hosting meetings or socializing, the metaverse is a versatile, scalable solution for bringing a geographically distributed workforce together.
In addition, Accenture has created digital twins of many of its physical offices, from Bangalore in India to Madrid in Spain and San Francisco in the United States to provide familiar environments for its people to meet, collaborate and network.
The first few days as a new employee are crucial to talent retention. However, a Gallup poll found only 12% of employees reflected favourably on job onboarding experiences – and that was prior to the pandemic. These experiences crucial to shaping the path forward for an employee.
Within their Nth floor metaverse, a virtual campus called One Accenture Park is now helping new employees personally connect with the culture and plant the seeds of professional relationships. This type of immersive experience enables new hires to experience “orientation” in a more personal way and meet many more people doing so. This year, 150,000 new hires are working from the metaverse on their first day at Accenture.
As the company continues to invest in its people, this VR program enables them to use new ways of connecting with each other to practice soft skills, such as sales conversations and orals, giving and receiving feedback, as well as coaching and mentoring. There’s also growing evidence to support immersive VR instruction. In the latest Accenture report, Meeting the New Reality: Immersive Learning, they found that a majority of learners (70%) forgot training content within 24 hours and virtually all (90%) forgot after a month. Interestingly, a study also found immersive VR instruction offered a path to achieve 33% higher learning retention when compared to video.
Taking this idea enterprise-wide, Accenture has started introducing new learning content in VR this year. For example, their new “VR Cybersecurity Adventure” course provides a gamified experience that takes users through an immersive journey set in both real and fantasy environments. The training asks users to defend themselves against hackers, scammers, fraudsters and cyberbullies as the user’s knowledge of safe cybersecurity practices is put to the test using select VR headsets.
Since the pandemic began, Accenture has held hundreds of community gatherings in immersive spaces where people can connect, learn and better collaborate because they’re in the same place together. For example, at an annual strategy meeting with their client account leaders, they created a virtual lounge using a combination of avatars and realistic meeting spaces to provide a deeper sense of connection. The result: more than 150 managing directors in 25 countries enjoyed face-to-face time from their own locations. And, now that the pandemic is behind us the company shows no signs of winding down its metaverse spaces.