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Future focused businesses recognise the importance of soft skills development, especially as they provide the foundation for high Emotional Intelligence (EQ). With today's focus on company culture and teamwork, emotional intelligence is critical to building high performing teams. Air New Zealand and Xero are excellent examples of companies that embrace EQ in their leaders and benefit from happy, flexible workforces with a good company culture.
Why Immersive VR is so effective for Soft Skills
VR’s immersive nature allows you to be more than a passive observer. VR affects your senses; sight and hearing, movement, balance and body awareness, changing the way you see, think, feel and behave. This strengthens your emotional link, heightening your memory of the experience, which is exactly what you strive for with learner retention. VR training influences real-world behavioral change. Your behaviour in VR is difficult to fake-traits you see displayed from your teams and leaders are going to be genuine responses to the situation and surroundings they are placed in.
Another key reason that VR is so effective is that it offers a space to experiment, be curious, innovate and most importantly fail safely …together, as a team. Learn. Grow. Succeed. Google conducted a two-year study and concluded that high-performing teams have five specific traits, the main one being Psychological safety: The willingness to take risks without feeling insecure or embarrassed. Improving the quality of the relationship with teammates through psychological safety has a significant impact on performance, engagement and innovation.
During the first prolonged COVID-19 lockdown, I secured a position as Head of Learning at ASB Bank. My interviews were conducted over video calls and due to the lockdown I was unable to get into the office to meet my new team. After lockdown was lifted, we were only to be physically in the office 1-2 days a week. I was previously part of a Global/remote team at Xero and had just spent many weeks pivoting to running a fully remote team at Air New Zealand due to the pandemic and thought I was well equipped for the first few weeks with a new team, that I was yet to meet.
Effectively connecting with the team was slow progress. I was managing a much larger team than I previously had, significant ambiguity due to the current climate was causing unease amongst the team and a less physical presence compounded for a far from ideal situation. Had we continued at that rate of progress, we likely wouldn’t have started to work optimally as a team for several more months.
This is where virtual reality played a pivotal role in expediting our connection and generating a mindset shift within the team. A 4-hour RevealVR session helped us discover how each other worked, our motivations, gave us time to reflect on how we could communicate more effectively, develop strategies and tested our agility. RevealVR gave us the space to experiment, try new ideas and innovate. It sparked authentic conversations due to the high-intensity, time sensitive, disaster scenario we were placed in. It gave us the ability to recognise certain behaviours and make each other aware of them, good or bad. We learnt more about each other in that one session than we would have done in months of one-to-one’s and team meetings. It was an experience that we discussed and reviewed for months afterwards, one that had real lasting impact and one that helped drive positive behaviour change enabling us to grow as a team.
I am the Product Owner for RevealVR and look forward to showing you more of how VR can supercharge your teams and leaders!