🗣 As more people are embracing the virtual world to better connect, a continuum of technologies and experiences are growing in popularity—and offering huge potential for future ways of learning and working. Accenture, an IT multinational company, is recognized as an early leader in this space, applying technologies, such as extended reality (XR) and digital twins, to deliver breakthrough solutions for more than a decade.
With the belief that physical and virtual experiences will co-exist in future ways of working, Accenture is moving boldly into the metaverse to create workplace experiences, where their employees can participate, contribute, and “feel like they belong, regardless of where they work”.
Working closely with Microsoft, they started this journey pre-pandemic by building a virtual campus called the “Nth floor” for people to gather and participate in community events. Soon after the pandemic hit, they also began building on these capabilities for onboarding new employees and then extended them to serve learning and collaboration needs within the organization.
The company’s metaverse: The Nth floor
🗣 A new era of digital change is being ushered in by the metaverse—a convergence of physical and digital worlds that enables people to move beyond “browsing” to “inhabiting” a shared experience. Enhanced by advancements in 3D, AR, and VR, it’s where people can meet and where digital assets—land, buildings, products, and avatars—can be created, bought, and sold.
Accenture’s enterprise metaverse, known as the Nth floor, refers to the virtual environments they have created to bring Accenture people together to meet, collaborate and learn. Whether hosting meetings or socializing, the metaverse is a versatile, scalable solution for getting together a geographically distributed workforce.
In addition, they have created digital twins of many of its physical offices, from Bangalore in India to Madrid in Spain, and San Francisco in the United States, all to provide familiar environments for its people to meet, collaborate, and network.
Onboarding new hires
🗣 The first few days as a new employee are crucial to talent retention. However, a Gallup poll found only 12% of employees reflected favorably on job onboarding experiences – and that was prior to the pandemic. So, these experiences are crucial to shaping the path forward for an employee.
Within the Nth floor metaverse, a virtual campus called One Accenture Park is helping new employees personally connect with the culture and plant the seeds of professional relationships. This type of immersive experience enables new hires to experience “orientation” in a more personal way and meet many more people doing so. Moreover, this year 150,000 new hires are working from the metaverse on their first day at the company.
Metaverse & Learning
🗣 As an investment, the VR program enables workers to use new ways of connecting with each other to practice soft skills, such as sales conversations and orals, giving and receiving feedback, as well as coaching and mentoring. There’s also growing evidence to support immersive VR instruction. In the latest company report, “Meeting the New Reality: Immersive Learning”, they found that most learners (70%) forgot training content within 24 hours, and virtually all of them (90%) after a month. Interestingly, a study also found immersive VR instruction offered a path to achieving 33% higher learning retention when compared to a video.
Taking this idea enterprise-wide, Accenture has started introducing new learning content in VR this year. For example, their new “VR Cybersecurity Adventure” course, provides a gamified experience that takes users through an immersive journey set in both real and fantasy environments. The training asks users to defend themselves against hackers, scammers, fraudsters, and cyber bullies as the user’s knowledge of safe cybersecurity practices is put to the test using select VR headsets.
🗣 Since the pandemic began, Accenture has held hundreds of community gatherings in immersive spaces where people can connect, learn, and collaborate better because they’re in the same place together. For example, at an annual strategy meeting with client account leaders, they created a virtual lounge using a combination of avatars and realistic meeting spaces to provide a deeper sense of connection. The result? More than 150 managing directors in 25 countries enjoyed face-to-face time from their own locations.
Foundation: XR excellence
🗣 Accenture’s strategy is grounded in using XR to develop a sense of community and enhance their culture, focusing on three foundational pillars: experience, adoption, and infrastructure. Looking into the future, the introduction of new platforms—such as the platform Microsoft Mesh that’s designed to make app creation easier—offers the promise of new forms of mixed reality collaboration in the metaverse.
Like Accenture, many other companies are beginning to enhance workers’ experience by including new types of technology, which is revolutionizing the way we do life.
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