Ever heard of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One?
It’s a novel that takes place in the year 2045. Human civilization is in a dark period, so people seek refuge in a virtual reality world called the OASIS. Many spend all their waking hours in the simulation – working, taking classes, exploring different cultures, and trying out new hobbies.
The book became a pop culture phenomenon when Steven Spielberg signed on to direct the film version, but that’s not why I was interested in it. I’ve long been intrigued by the promise of virtual reality, and I think Ready Player One presents a reasonably accurate portrayal of what our lives will be like around mid-century.
Is The Prospective Company A Good Fit?
Ready Player One does not talk about HR and the employee lifecycle, but my mind went to this application immediately. The first thing I considered was hiring. We instruct candidates to think carefully about whether a prospective company is a good fit, but without the opportunity to spend time in the organization, there’s a great deal of guesswork involved. Virtual reality could enable a candidate to experience a day-in-the-life of an employee in their role. She could walk through the facilities, meet managers and co-workers, and start a project. But most importantly, she could get a much better sense of the culture.
Virtual reality could also revolutionize talent management. At present, leaders have trouble managing global, dispersed workforces. Employees might clock in from locations all around the globe, work variable schedules, and communicate using different methods. Virtual reality will certainly change the degree to which remote workers feel engaged and part of a unified team. By mid-century, you’ll put on your headset and send your avatar to work alongside colleagues who could be physically located anywhere. Conferences, meetings, presentations, performance reviews, brainstorms, and team building/social events could all be conducted in the virtual world, facilitating ongoing communication, relationship-building, and innovation.