How Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence Redefining HR
We live in an era that’s ripe for digital transformation. The disruptive power of the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the development of technologies like automation, robotics, reality tech, AI and cloud computing to name but a few.
All of these developments will help to change the way we live and work forever, but there may be no stronger impact in the world of HR than the combination of augmented reality and artificial intelligence.
Optimising HR in a Post-Covid Landscape
The health crisis has presented employees around the world with a taste of a life spent away from offices, commutes, and canteens. The age of the ‘new normal’ will continue to drive remote work as employees see the benefits of a home office.
Worker appetite for working from home is so strong that 58% of survey respondents claimed that they would consider looking for a new job rather than face returning to the office.
This presents a fresh conundrum for HR managers. How can HR teams effectively vet candidates for roles and onboard them if they may never meet them in person?
Reality technology opens the doors for new and innovative ways to recruit candidates. Prior to the pandemic, the HR industry was already looking to move away from traditional recruitments strategies, and virtual reality workplace tours have already helped to give candidates a remote glimpse into their company’s office environments, while some integrated apps have even enabled candidates to role-play the positions they’re applying for in a more immersive manner.
Augmented reality for enterprises has been an area of priority for businesses over the past two years, indicating that we could see further developments and use cases emerge in the near future.
AR and VR alike will certainly carry many benefits for a range of businesses in the future. Powered by artificial intelligence interpreting how users interact with their field of vision, Forbes reports that reality-based training and orientations may have the potential to reduce onboarding times by 40% – and improve employee performance by as much as 70%. There can also be significant volumes of manpower saved in the training process, with intelligent programs helping to train new recruits.
While reality technology is already being explored across many industries for marketing and operations, its potential applications within the HR landscape deserves attention. This can create new ways to enhance and maximize human capital in an age where the industry’s been impacted by the emergence of remote work.
Applying Augmented and AI Solutions to HR
Let’s explore how augmented reality and artificial intelligence can combine to optimise HR processes. This emerging technology can be utilized to bring innovative learning to professionals, advanced onboarding and bespoke training to specialized positions:
- Enhanced onboarding processes: Onboarding is a critical facet in ensuring new employees are provided an effective introduction to their working environments. This process can carry long-term effects on the performance of the employee and the business as a whole – especially in terms of building competencies at a faster pace. With this in mind, businesses are tapping into AR to rejuvenate the onboarding process by using immersive experiences to deliver greater engagement. This not only enhances the quality of engagement between a business and its new recruits, but it can also help to minimize paper and material waste whilst onboarding – with information capable of being stored online.
- Simulated interaction: There are some things that employees can’t easily be trained for, particularly when it comes to customer-facing roles. However, AR gives employees the ability to simulate typical customer interactions directly in the context of their working environments via their smartphones. With AR’s ability to transcend clunky employer-to-employee role plays, staff can get to grips with realistic scenarios that can be repeated and perfected without taking productivity hours from the employer – helping to boost employee confidence at their own pace.
- Support for specialized positions: Factory workers and production line employees can have unique roles that are largely specialized, requiring plenty of hands-on experience to get right. However, when it comes to operating dangerous machinery, there’s a larger margin for error which makes the task more tricky for new employees to train effectively. Augmented reality has the power to enhance employee development in these specialized roles by delivering a high level of process visualization that can minimize risk and boost employee confidence. By utilizing the technology to deliver a digital layer of guidance directly to the equipment they’ll be using, AR can help employees to build their competencies without the danger of costly mistakes.
Training and Development in an AR-Powered Future
Reality-based applications have the potential to take employee training to a whole new level beyond the capabilities of traditional learning methods.
Through specific spatial design, AR and VR applications can simulate real-world environments to avoid dangerous incidents during safety training. They can also enable users to manipulate virtual objects as a means of immersive learning.
While mobile platforms are now readily able to present 3D content and overlay it onto reality as a means of facilitating a learning experience, the next generation of smart glasses are likely to be the next natural evolution of augmented reality technology. With half of the planet set to need glasses by 2050, adoption of the technology is likely to be more natural than other smart wearables – and it could potentially pave the way for even more immersive onboarding experiences in the near future.
For example, Health Education England has adopted AR technology along with AI solutions to support the learning process of its medical students specializing in mental health. The students wear smart glasses while conducting psychiatric sessions with mock patients whilst their tutor observes their performance in a non-intrusive manner whilst offering advice and guidance through an earpiece.
“Immersive technology is going to play an increasingly important role in how we train and educate the health and care workforce,” explained Dr Neil Ralph, Health Education England’s head of technology-enhanced learning. “It is becoming increasingly important that those involved in delivering education and supporting the workforce are equipped to make decisions that will ensure the best return on investment.”
In a world that’s become increasingly ripe for digital transformation in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re likely to see augmented reality leverage more immersive onboarding processes as the technology develops and workplaces become more remote – paving the way for more resourceful, confident, and efficient employees across a range of industries.