- Business News Daily reports that Walmart has partnered with STRIVR, a performance training firm, to add virtual reality to its employee training programs.
- Brock McKeel, senior director of central operations at Walmart was inspired by watching VR technology being used to train the University of Arkansas’ football team, Business News Daily reports. He brought the idea back to Walmart headquarters and a test pilot showed that Walmart employees who trained using VR performed better and retained learning material longer.
- Walmart will be rolling out the new VR training to 30 Walmart Academies across the U.S., and by the end of the year all 200 facilities will be using the technology. Over 140,000 Walmart associates are expected to be trained on VR this year.
Last summer, HR Dive predicted that virtual reality would be one of the new ways companies would train employees. Using VR for training has precedent; law enforcement agencies and the military have been using the technology for a while with success. It was only a matter of time before a huge retail company like Walmart would see the value of VR for its own training purposes.
Virtual reality is cost-effective (though somewhat expensive to install at first), easy to manage within a training center and enables employees to safely experience job-related tasks and scenarios before engaging with customers in the real world. This can only help to better prepare Walmart associates to handle the challenges of retail work. In the current market, where large retail chains are being replaced (or purchased) by online retailers like Amazon, it’s critical that Walmart has only the best associates on the floor interacting with customers.
Walmart began investing in employee programs in 2015 by increasing hourly pay and developing training centers, resulting in lower turnover and higher customer satisfaction scores in stores.