How HCM Leaders Should Prepare for the Metaverse

Metaverses are immersive 3D digital worlds based on virtual reality gaming experiences. Metaverses allow people to enter using their real-life identities and use these platforms to work as well as shop, play and hang out. In human capital management, Metaverses promise to create more realistic, immersive and personal digital experiences, including more immersive learning, hiring and collaboration. 

Brandon Hall Group’s pulse survey, How Will the Metaverse Impact Human Capital Management?, showed that 46% of organizations are at least moderately familiar with the concept of the Metaverse and almost two-thirds say has merits. 

A new seismic wave of web innovation is on its way. Employers that sit on the sidelines too long will do so at their peril. 

The Metaverse, once developed, is a more immersive way to communicate with people who are physically apart. As far as we have come with the use of collaboration technologies during the pandemic, it is still basically two-dimensional video with decent audio. 

As hybrid work evolves and more workers are physically separated from their colleagues, immersive work experiences — ranging from hiring to onboarding, training, collaborating, meeting, selling, marketing and more — will be increasingly important. 

However, there are several barriers and challenges, both in refining the technology and adopting it in businesses and human capital management. 

But the Metaverse is the future of HCM technology and should be embraced. HR leaders should use the time they have before the Metaverse is fully developed to create a strategic plan, build an ecosystem and make incremental progress. The potential benefits for all areas of HCM are too important to let barriers stand in the way. 

HR organizations that actively prepare for the Metaverse and partner across the enterprise will be prepared to hire, develop and retain the talent they need to succeed in the future of work. Those — like 43% of our research respondents — that plan to be inactive despite the potential could be left behind. 

Are our current technologies positioning us to support the future of work?
How do we educate ourselves about advanced HCM technology so we are poised to benefit from the next generation of internet evolution?
What role should HR play in driving exploration of the Metaverse for our functions?

The HCM function has an opportunity to be on the cutting edge of technology innovation and transformation by having a vision of its future in all areas of HCM and a tolerance for the ambiguity, uncertainty and change that the Metaverse will cause. 

Here are four high-level strategies for HR to take a leadership role in developing and leveraging the Metaverse: 

  1. Improve Knowledge of the Current State 

Only 24% of organizations have advanced technology that will better address the needs of their workforce to meet business objectives in some or all areas of the organization, according to Brandon Hall Group’s study most recent HCM technology study. 

2. Develop ‘Platform Vision’ 

The Metaverse amounts to a significant evolution of the internet. To leverage it correctly, organizations should have a strong understanding – “platform vision” – of the logic and architectures of digital platforms, and how digital systems integrate into scalable enterprise-wide architecture. 

This means that organizations will need to hire Metaverse ecosystem architects, with knowledge in deep technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, computer vision, data analytics and high-speed networks, to lead their digital transformation program. 

In HCM, leaders must also develop platform vision – not to the extent required of tech leaders – but at a level where they understand the technology and can pursue the future with knowledge, appreciation and vision. HCM leaders must take an assertive approach to understand the Metaverse and how it can help them with hiring, learning, collaboration, career development and other disciplines.

3. Form Cross-Functional Exploratory Teams 

HCM leaders, and digital leaders within the function, must work in cross-functional teams with IT and business leaders to design the Metaverse experience. HR should influence the next-generation technology rather than react to it. 

Within the HCM function, it would be great to see people from talent management, technology, compliance, learning, leadership development and other disciplines work together to build their technology acumen and create bold ideas to revolutionize the employee experience. 

These exploratory teams should also include employees outside of HR and business leaders – the potential end-users. Get the digital natives to help you understand and become comfortable with the technology. Spread the word across the organization that you have a future vision and want everyone’s help to develop it. 

4. Identify Potential Pilot Projects and Work to Get Them Launched 

What would be a great use of Metaverse technology to drive employee experience and improve employee engagement? 

HCM should answer that question and work across the organization to gain a deeper understanding of the Metaverse and propose one or more small projects to get started. 

A pilot might take months — even years — to develop, but building a coalition of advocates and inclusively developing ideas and plans will move the organization forward and put the HCM functions at the forefront, where they belong. 

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