Going into 2023, we are experiencing the most dramatic workplace transition in generations. Between ongoing high turnover rates and the shift to hybrid workplaces, organizations are under more pressure than ever to excite and motivate the workforce. To empower and retain talent, organizations need strong leaders at every level of the organization, especially the emerging leaders who haven’t had the benefit of a lifetime of experience.

Virtual reality (VR) has the potential to completely reimagine what leadership training looks like. To understand why, ask this question: What skills make great leaders? Great communication skills? The ability to build bonds across diverse teams? The ability to calm anxieties during moments of crisis? The ability to make people feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves? The ability to retain top talent?

VR is an innovative tool that gives leaders the opportunity to practice communicating in a judgment-free space where they can safely make mistakes and readjust their strategy as many times as needed. The most difficult conversations that happen at work are rare and don’t offer opportunities for a do-over. These are the moments when leaders gain the confidence of their teams by handling difficult situations with grace, dignity and guidance. Practicing these conversations in a simulated environment gives leaders the chance to get better before having the real conversation.

Today, a significant amount of money, time and mindshare are spent on learning and development (L&D) to solve this challenge. Too often, companies waste money on antiquated and stagnant learning modalities with poor outcomes. With macroeconomic headwinds putting pressure on learning budgets, more investment will shift from offline to online, and the return on investment (ROI) and business outcomes of these investments will become mission critical.

VR has been proven effective across dozens of use cases, across all industries, both by research as well as real-world case studies. If the goal is to supercharge communication skills to build an enterprise of stronger leaders, VR offers an unparalleled solution.

As L&D teams look at 2023, here are three immediate use cases where investment in VR can upskill leaders and generate better outcomes by creating opportunities to practice difficult conversations.

Digital Transformation

We are all going through it. The more macroeconomic pressure we face, the more urgent the need for digital transformation will become. What does that mean for the talent base when teams need to be restructured? How can you ensure that teams are performing at top levels and not letting their anxiety about further changes cripple their performance? How do you practice having these conversations in ways that ensure that top team members come through a transformation with an increased commitment to the mission?

Team Building

We all know that happier teams are higher-performing teams. This is easy when all news is upbeat and positive. But what about during times of turbulence? How do you manage conflict on your teams when times are difficult? How do you turn conflict among team members into team-building moments where personal bonds become stronger? How do you get your people into a mindset where they are excited about making sacrifices that benefit their teammates because they feel that they are working in an inclusive environment where they believe their teammates would do the same for them?

Inclusive Leadership

Retaining talent is more important than ever, and the diversity of talent means people from different backgrounds need to work together to ensure talent density. How do you lead teams where generational conflict results in a disconnect that demotivates top talent? How do you ensure that you are hiring the top talent and not letting cultural bias cloud decision-making?

Launching a VR program that can provide a complete enterprise solution is easier than ever. Off-the-shelf libraries empower L&D leaders to launch VR programs within days of purchase. VR-first data analytics platforms surface real-time behavioral data that helps design personalized learning programs and guidance to reinforce learning. Authoring tools enable enterprises to generate company-specific learning courses in quick, cost-effective ways. Multimodal deployment allows a workforce to experience immersive learning across both their own mobile devices as well as VR headsets.

As you look to launch a VR program, here are three areas for assessing a VR solution:

  • Speed to value: How fast can the program launch? This is essential to avoid waiting six to eight months before seeing any ROI.
  • Standardized metrics: Is the behavioral data standardized in a way that can clearly show different key performance indicators (KPIs)?
  • Authoring solution: Is there a scalable way to grow the program by adding new use cases? Without an authoring solution, scaling VR use cases can be cost-prohibitive.

The future is bright for how immersive technology can revolutionize learning and supercharge the workforce by instilling emotional intelligence (EQ) to help leaders drive performance. Moving forward, L&D leaders will continue to play a crucial role in helping their workforce access this world-changing technology for more impactful learning