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Virtual Reality Being Used by Walmart to Evaluate Store Manager Prospects

Walmart Inc, the multinational retail giant, is utilising virtual reality (VR) headsets to perform aptitude tests for ascertaining their middle management eligibility.

Virtual reality (VR) headsets are being used by Walmart employees in real-life scenarios, such as pacifying angry shoppers, showing new hires across the stores, and evaluate the knowledge of departments. The technology is also being used for testing leadership abilities, decision-making and the soft skills of employees, according to Drew Holler, Senior Vice President for Associate Experience, Walmart.

A screenshot taken from Walmart’s virtual reality training shows a misplaced item on a display shelf. Cr: Walmart

Situations can be recreated through virtual cloning, and standardised offerings can be created for numerous employees. It can help in reducing all eventuality of bias, enabling the selection of employees into roles based on their skills.

The VR technology is helping Walmart measure the engagement of employees. Whilst there is no definite right or wrong, the tests do highlight the leadership maturity of individuals, as well as, their approach to customer service. – Drew Holler

STRIVR, a California-based company located in Menlo Park, is responsible for developing the virtual reality training system for Walmart. It has used the Oculus Go VR headsets from Facebook-owned VR company Oculus, which retail for $250.

The partnership between STRIVR and Walmart has existed for a few years. The headsets were first introduced to thirty Walmart Academies, to train associates in handling an array of situations, ranging from management of the produce section to handling the craze during occasions like Black Friday.

In the space of the last few years, all the stores have been equipped with Oculus Go VR devices. According to Holler, an impressive 10,000 workers out of the 1.2 million Walmart workforce has been part of the skills assessment procedures until February of this year.

David Arias, a 32-year-old employee who has been a Walmart employee in Economy, Pennsylvania, for 12 years, has managed to grab a promotion following the VR tests. He has also received a pay hike of 10 percent.

During the training process, employees are asked to choose an option, likely from a situation that they would face on a daily basis as part of the management team. Cr: Walmart

According to Arias, one of the VR settings put him in the shoes of a manager, and he had to help a store associate and customer browsing the shopping aisles in search of mascara. Based on Arias’s effective handling of the situation, the VR technology system and his hiring manager both determined that his leadership and teaching skills were adequate.

The 360-degree environment of Walmart is quite suited to the use of VR technology, and aids in performing efficient modern testing methods. The virtual technology gives the participants a fully realistic feeling. – David Arias

According to Holler, VR testing is a step of the recruitment process. The decision of hiring an individual still lies with the hiring director.

Maria Fernandez Guajardo, Head of Enterprise, Oculus VR and AR, remarked that the three-dimensional nature of VR is more naturally attuned to the perceptions of human beings.

Several other companies are making the use of immersive technology forms like VR, MR, and AR. The list includes prominent organisations like Ford, Johnson & Johnson, and Farmer’s Insurance.

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