Transforming Employee Onboarding with Virtual Reality

Hollyn Phelps, Worldwide Communications Manager

New employees retain information after a VR experience two times more than after viewing video or text-based learning materials. 

An unforgettable onboarding experience for employees is the crucial first step to a successful and productive career. This is why Lenovo is digitizing and transforming employee orientation with its own virtual reality (VR) Mirage Solo headsets.

“Onboarding new employees is too often synonymous with long meetings and information overload. With VR, however, employees take control of the onboarding process, with a rich, immersive onboarding experience. At Lenovo, we want to bring the benefits of smarter technology to all, and there’s no better place to apply this vision than within our own company. Using VR for smart onboarding is how we walk the talk when it comes to the intelligent transformation of business,” said Subhankar Roy Chowdhury, Executive Director, Human Resources Asia Pacific, Lenovo. “Virtual reality opens up a world of possibilities for a new joiner to experience intelligent transformation from Day One.”

smarter employee onboarding with virtual reality
New Lenovo employees in Asia Pacific experiencing virtual reality Mirage Solo headsets during orientation.

“Smarter” onboarding, introduced for the first time at Lenovo to employees in Asia Pacific this month, includes the full Lenovo Theater of company video training content, adapted for VR, as well as a 360-degree video that introduces new employees to Lenovo’s management team in living color. The goal of smarter onboarding is not to replace current orientation with a virtual reality solution, but to enhance the experience with VR. “We wanted to create a “wow” experience for employees,” said Sachin Kinagi, Learning Manager at Lenovo.

By adding VR into the onboarding mix with Lenovo’s Mirage Solo headsets, Lenovo has significantly enhanced the new employee onboarding experience, and improved the productivity of new joiners by helping them integrate faster into the organization and better retain what they have learned. Research shows that memory retention after a VR experience is two times higher than after viewing video or text-based learning materials.

“I felt completely immersed in the VR world, which made it easy to concentrate, pay attention and remember information,” said Shashank Charati, who recently joined Lenovo as an Account Manager and participated in the company’s first VR orientation session.

smarter employee onboarding with virtual reality
New employees in Asia Pacific learning about Lenovo and its culture with virtual reality Mirage Solo headsets.

VR can also provide an alternative for new employees or management team members who are not personally able to attend the orientation. “Many times, when we have onboarding sessions, the market general manager or segment leader is not available for the session,” continued Kinagi. “VR is a great opportunity for us to fill that gap and ensure employees hear from our leaders even when they are not physically there.” Anytime, anywhere onboarding allows new joiners to proceed at their own pace, time and location – taking “on-demand learning” to the next level, “on-demand onboarding.”

When employees complete their VR-enhanced orientation, they feel more empowered, excited and motivated about the company. “After experiencing VR, I did feel even more excited about working at Lenovo and being a part of the journey toward ‘Smarter Technology for All,’” continued Charati.

At the same time, by using VR during orientation, new Lenovo employees are quickly able to accustom themselves to the company’s product and better understand company vision.

Following the success of its pilot program in India, Lenovo in Asia Pacific plans to roll out VR onboarding to its offices and sites in other markets. For example, in the virtual world a new employee joining in Vietnam will be able view Lenovo’s massive data centers around the globe, take a tour of the corporate headquarters in Beijing, or visit a factory in Shenzhen. Lenovo will also share its experience with corporate customers who are interested in using Mirage Solo VR for their own onboarding solutions.

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