While VR experiences are not often designed to make users feel marginalized, this one really leans into situational discomfort
Human Resource Executive®’s Top HR Products contest spotlights 10 of the most innovative new solutions on the market that are helping business leaders meet the ever-evolving HR needs of their organizations.
Here’s one of this year’s winners:
Virtual Reality Inclusion Experience
What It Is: Virtual Reality Inclusion Experience provides an immersive, virtual-reality exploration of what it feels like to be undervalued because of insensitivity to diversity. HR leaders are well aware of the business benefits of diversity, but many, especially those in the “in group,” lack the emotional experience of being undervalued—and, thus, have problems empathizing with those who have. Using VR headsets, users interact with virtual characters in scenarios that give them the experience of having their opinions and ideas ignored, undervalued or even derided. Immediately after the VR experience, users join together to discuss their feelings about the session, using questions and discussion topics suggested by DDI. After the initial training, HR leaders can repeat the VR experience before engaging in potentially difficult conversations focused on diversity.
Why We Like It: While VR experiences are not often designed to make users feel marginalized, this one really leans into situational discomfort. Strapping on the Oculus VR goggles reinforces the feeling that the user is actually “living” in the experience and, therefore, can feel freer to experience the emotions associated with being a member of an undervalued group in a business setting. We especially appreciate how nuanced, negative expressions and gestures (such as eye rolls, sighs and head shakes) from the actors in the simulation can clearly be seen and felt by the user. It’s truly an uncomfortable immersive experience—for all the right reasons.