Walmart Grabs 17,000 Oculus Go VR Headsets To Train Employees Nationwide
Virtual reality headsets are changing the way people play games and, as we have found out over the years, companies are using them to train their employees and augment their workflow. While the adoption amongst gamers has been slow for VR headsets, the biggest brick and mortar retailer out there, Walmart, is now adopting VR to help it to train new workers. Walmart is using the Oculus Go, and every store the chain operates is now using the headsets. This gives more than a million Walmart associates access to the VR headset for training.
This could be a good thing for VR headset makers as well, as the Walmart workers see what VR can do in the workplace, they might be more likely to pick up a VR headset of their own for entertainment. Walmart’s Andy Trainor, senior director of Walmart U.S. Academies, says that VR training not only boosts employee confidence and retention, it also improves test scores between 10 and 15%. A very interesting tidbit is that Trainor reports that when employees watch others using the VR headset for training, their retention is boosted even when not using the headset.
Walmart’s nationwide VR training regime will start rolling out next month with each Supercenter getting four Oculus Go VR headsets and each Neighborhood Market getting two units. In all, Walmart will have 17,000 Oculus Go headsets in stores by the end of the year. Each Walmart associate will have access to the same training that managers and department managers have at the Academies. The training includes more than 45 activity-based modules using software from a firm called STRIVR. The modules are designed to help associates learn information quicker and improve retention. The VR tech will be used to train workers in new technology, soft skills like empathy, customer service, and compliance.
One of the training modules used in ten stores involved workers using the headsets to train on new Pickup Tower units that will be in those stores. All the training for those towers was performed with the Oculus Go with no in-person teachers. Workers who used the tech described it as “beyond hands-on.”
"Walmart was one of the first companies to benefit from VR’s ability to enrich employee education, and its applications will only grow from here," said Andy Mathis, Oculus’ head of business partnerships. "What makes it so compelling is that costly, difficult, or otherwise-impossible scenarios and simulations become not only possible, but immediately within reach."