Science

13 Aug 2019

Now, you can practise firing employees in virtual reality

One of the biggest challenges for a manager is to break it to their employees that they are being relieved from their duties.

It's a real pain, especially if the employee hasn't done anything wrong and the company has decided to lay people off for cost-cutting.

So, how to tell them? Well, a new virtual reality employee might just help you there.

Here's how.

Barry

Meet Barry, an artificially intelligent virtual employee

In order to help managers prepare for difficult conversations with employees who are being fired, workplace training company Talespin has developed a virtual employee called Barry.

This artificially intelligent character appears in virtual reality and gives the manager a way to practise the case of firing over and over, unless they are confident enough to handle the real deal.

Details

Barry simulates a range of reactions

Barry simulates a range of reactions

Barry helps managers by simulating a range of responses that employees could give, including sobbing, loud crying, even angry yelling.

According to the company, "They [managers] navigate hundreds of possible conversation paths to effectively terminate Barry, face common wrongful termination pitfalls, and experience Barry's realistic speech, body language, and human-like mannerisms."

This ultimately develops a sense of confidence to effectively deal with real scenarios.

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Possibility

Talespin's VR tech could also help improve leadership skills

Talespin's intelligent VR technology can not only help managers train for difficult conversations but also improve their leadership skills.

For instance, they could have demo conversations with virtual characters and master the skill to hold interviews and performance reviews effectively.

This, as the company says, could ultimately establish better employee-employer relationships and contribute to organizational growth.

Application

VR applications continue to grow progressively

The use of virtual reality in the field of workplace training comes just as other industries continue to leverage the tech for novel purposes.

Initially, we saw gaming as the sole VR application, but over the last few months, we've seen virtual reality gyms, massage centers, and a lot more.

Some researchers are even working on using the tech to solve teenage drinking problem.

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