The term “metaverse” first appeared in 1992, in a sci-fi novel called Snow Crash. Thirty years later, this sci-fi concept is fast becoming our new reality. So, what is it? The metaverse in its simplest terms, is a virtual space wherein everything will appear 3D, connected, immersive and real. We are about to move away from flat screen Zoom and MS Teams meetings to a virtual world that simulates the sensation that everyone is in the same place at the same time.
Recently there has been a fair bit of dialogue about the metaverse since Mark Zuckerberg rebranded Facebook to Meta. The shift from the internet to Web 3.0 is just around the corner. In fact, Bill Gates has claimed that within three years, most of our work will take place in the metaverse. Knowing that, it seems extremely short sighted that as leaders we continue to debate the value of a full return to office. Employee experience, culture, employer brand and recruitment will have dramatic shifts in the next few years because of web 3.0, and I cannot help but be incredibly excited for what this will mean for the future of work. When it comes to how employers address remote work, the adage “Don’t look back, or you’ll miss what’s in front of you” has never been more paramount.
Below are seven (7) ways the metaverse will impact employer brand and employee experience strategy in the next three – five years:
Remote Work Becomes Work from Anywhere
Virtual reality and augmented reality technologies will enable employees and leaders to take their workspace wherever they go. Your workforce will be able to have virtual screens arranged just as they like them, virtual keyboards summoned just when they require them, alerts, and notifications to transport them into a live collaboration only when required. Imagine being able to pull your global workforce into one room, and to feel as though they are physically surrounded with their international colleagues.
Indeed, this will all be reliant on virtual reality and augmented reality hardware which can seem rather cumbersome. However, there are some pretty phenomenal VR and AR glasses already in market that are making this a current reality. Ray Ban, Lenovo ThinkReality, and Meta’s Quest 2 are already delivering hardware that brings this reality to life and in the case of Ray Ban, they look just like a pair of their sunglasses. As hardware continues to evolve and shrink in size, a world where our employees are no longer constrained to a desk is almost upon us. If it is getting too noisy at home, no problem, your employees will literally be able to take their desk to the park!
Our teams will have access to greater productivity, will gain more opportunities to be physical and flexible throughout their days, and workplaces will increasingly break down regional and divisional workplace silos.
In a world that is overflowing with Zoom fatigue, the concept of collaborating with peers’ side by side in virtual meetings, and at watercoolers sounds too good to be true. In the metaverse, our teams will have the ability to design or select their own avatars (some of which are so lifelike that it will look like us, right down to our pores). Our teams will be able to use and share whiteboards, create a room with the music and ambient lighting of their choice, get access information real time, hold meetings in remote, fantasy or historic locations, and work together on 3D designs as they are developed.
Meetings in the metaverse will be much more experiential, hands on, playful and collaborative. The idea of co-creation will become a consistently lived experience at work and that missing element of human connection promises to be a part of our every day again.
This shift will lead to employer brand design and branding appearing in virtual workrooms and interview spaces, on avatar clothing, on VR glasses. We will see branded NFTs and be able to offer workplace 360 tours similar to the one brilliantly executed by Gucci Garden on Roblox in May 2021. Experiential designers and narrators will become key roles in employer brand in the near future.
Imagine teleporting your team to Tokyo for a meeting with the COO, or to Bora Bora for a team snorkeling class. Imagine taking your team to visit your new software vendors in India for the afternoon. This ability to create such unique and real experience for meetings will add much more excitement to our workdays, to our team building and to the creative imaginations of our organizations.
Diversity and Belonging
In the metaverse there will be no limit on the talent demographics employers will have access to. A non-physical office and virtual team will enable employers to hire internationally, truly providing access to the best, most diverse talent in the world.
Every person will use avatars that they feel represent them in the metaverse. As employees have the ability to select and switch up avatars regularly, we are hopeful that there will be an increased celebration of what makes us different and a growing sense of inclusion and belonging. This ability to try on different personas with little risk, may enable all of us to express ourselves more deeply and to allow people to bring a bit more of their whole selves to work.
Training, Development and Onboarding
The metaverse will also transform workplace learning and development. It will change how we facilitate workshops, and how we onboard new hires!
In the metaverse, instructors will be able to move from screens to VR, which will facilitate a shift from telling to truly showing.
New hires at an organization can come together from around the world during onboarding training week. They cay come together in VR to roleplay scenes and build lasting first week relationships. They can transport to international offices all within a day to see the nuances of the workplace culture, policies, and rewards.
Engineers, surgeons, architects, product designers, and managers will be able to train with the worlds greatest practitioners by looking through AR glasses at 3D models floating about their desk, while their instructor, who may be hundreds of miles away, teaches them.
Workers in every industry around the world will get the opportunity in the metaverse, to learn from the best in their fields.
We anticipate there will be an opportunity for incredible employer branded onboarding gamification and event marketing. New hires will find it easy to bond with new colleagues and managers worldwide, to learn the essentials in their first few weeks, and have fun competing and solving workplace challenges.
Candidate Experience and Career Fairs
Like virtual meetings, career fairs and candidate journeys will be far more experiential in the metaverse. Whether your recruitment team travels to university campuses to speak with a class, run a networking event or launch a hackathon, it will be much more immersive and global in reach.
Because employers will be both showing and selling the career experience, we expect there will be plenty of visual branding, music, videos, gamification, virtual tours and more built into the candidate experience to ensure it truly stands out.
As we transition from digital advertising to metaverse marketing, we will move away from text and supporting graphics towards 3D. The opportunities are immense for digital marketers, but the work will be much more complex.
Content Marketing and Social Media
Today, only 3% of content on the internet is interactive. Most everything that we consume, including employer branded social media content, is passive. Consider the photos, stories, videos you use today in your content strategy.
Imagine that soon, VR and AR will impact the candidate journey. There will be interactive content that will allow the candidate to explore and discover who you are as an employer, to see the team they are considering joining live and in person. Experiences that mimic a day in the life can really help engage with future talent.
Ensuring that the workplace is safe in the metaverse will pose new challenges for HR leadership. Whether it is tracking employee engagement, performance reviews, avatar rules of engagement, or privacy there is no doubt there will be a plethora of new challenges.
According to a recent survey by Lenovo more than 44% of employees today are willing to work in the metaverse and believe it will add to their productivity. However, 59% do not believe that their employers are investing enough into IT to enable this transition for their workplace.
The emergence of the metaverse is without a doubt one of the most exciting opportunities for workplace cultures! Remote work is here to stay and evolving rapidly. The employer brand and employee experience landscape in this virtual world will offer us all an abundance of creative directions. It will amplify our ability to measure impact, to build joy into work, to integrate the EVP into every aspect of the candidate and employee journey.
In this sci-fi reality, we may just deliver more people-first cultures than ever in history.
Author: Stacy Parker, Managing Director, Blu Ivy Group
Blu Ivy Group is a global leader in employer branding, organizational culture, and recruitment marketing. We help organizations across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors build extraordinary employee experiences, magnetic employer brands and high-performance cultures.
From C-Suite to Employer Brand and Talent Acquisition leadership, we partner with our clients to transform their organizations and design the most compelling workplaces of the future.
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