In response to the challenges of remote onboarding due to the pandemic, Accenture has created a virtual onboarding experience for its employees, housed within the metaverse. This innovative approach has allowed new hires to become immersed in a surreal and highly engaging environment, replete with interactive training activities and social opportunities with their colleagues. Known as One Accenture Park, this virtual campus is just one of the many spaces that comprise Accenture’s Nth Floor metaverse.
One of the primary aims of Accenture’s virtual onboarding experience is to improve retention of learnings, with research suggesting that these interactive training activities could lead to a 33% improvement in knowledge retention. Furthermore, as the metaverse is increasingly seen as the future of social and business interaction, Accenture’s decision to embrace the technology could give them a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace.
The metaverse has been an emerging technology for several years, but the pandemic has given it a renewed sense of urgency, as businesses have scrambled to find new ways to onboard remote employees. Sarah Kruger, Accenture’s Head of HR for Australia and New Zealand, said that the real impetus for the company to lean into the metaverse was the pandemic and the need to onboard all of its employees virtually. The company wanted to create an interactive experience that enabled people to retain what they were learning more effectively and gave employees the opportunity to feel like they were getting to know their colleagues.
When a new hire starts at Accenture, they create a personalized avatar of themselves, down to the color of their hair and clothes, before entering One Accenture Park to begin their onboarding journey. The avatar is led by a guide down a passageway and into a vast, dome-shaped virtual room with a waterfall cascading from the ceiling, surrounded by training stations and social areas dotted with the avatars of their new colleagues.
New employees are able to explore the virtual park and undertake various training exercises, such as simulated group problem-solving activities based on fictitious client challenges. These digital exercises not only aid knowledge retention, but also allow Accenture to ensure that the quality of its onboarding processes is consistent.
Accenture has also designed detailed virtual replicas of its global offices for new employees to explore. These digital buildings will be used after they complete the onboarding process to hold virtual meetings and conferences with clients. In this way, employees will become familiar with these virtual environments, allowing them to maintain continuity of work and collaboration regardless of their location.
The park’s designers have taken every opportunity to gamify the experience and inject fun and variety into the learning process. For example, employees are taught to recognize cybersecurity risks through a simulated game where they sit on a pier, with fish flying at them. The game has been designed to make a traditionally dry and confusing subject more accessible, encouraging engagement and participation.
Kruger notes that the younger employees are, the more excited they are about this new onboarding approach. They are more used to the gaming environment and have been operating in these types of worlds for a while. However, Accenture is committed to ensuring that this technology is accessible and engaging for all employees, regardless of age or experience.
The metaverse is predicted to become increasingly prevalent over the coming years, with research suggesting that by 2026, a quarter of the world’s population could spend up to an hour each day in this virtual space. By embracing this technology, Accenture is not only addressing the challenges of remote onboarding but also positioning itself as an innovator and thought leader in the emerging field of virtual reality.