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The Role of CHROs and HR in the Metaverse Revolution

If the Future is Today, Are CHROs prepared for Work in the Metaverse?

Rewind 10 years ago, the rise of social platforms created the shift to the mobile-first economy. Did you ever imagine a small device could have a more significant impact? Enter the smartphone, its cousin tablet, and an expanding family of “wearables” is enabling and transforming how people live, work, play, and interact worldwide. Today, we are on the cusp of another paradigm shift of technological advancement – The Metaverse. Thinking about what the Metaverse is not is the most straightforward place to start when trying to understand it. It is not a brand-new tool, platform, software, app, or technology. In today’s parlance, the Metaverse is a realm of computer-generated, networked extended reality (XR). It combines all aspects of augmented reality, mixed reality, and virtual reality (AR, MR, and VR) and presents us with a new way to interact with people, businesses and brands.

Is Metaverse a Passing Fad?

Bloomberg reported that the Metaverse market is expected to grow 13.1% yearly and is expected to be worth $800 billion by 2024. According to Gartner, 30% of companies will enable services and products for the Metaverse by 2026. This means at least 25% of people will spend an hour on average in the Metaverse for work, shopping, entertainment, and social activities. Blog Content Image In 2000, Daily Mail carried an article – Internet ‘maybe just a passing fad as millions give up on it.‘ Most people today would find the preceding article ridiculous. It seemed like a passing fad at the start, but now it’s how we make a living. Enter the pandemic. It accelerated the adoption of remote and hybrid work modes in the last few years. We saw companies of all sizes walking in lockstep with technology. Likewise, Metaverse need not be a passing fad. With all companies jumping on this new bandwagon, realizing success will undoubtedly take time. We should consider the combined forces of emerging innovations to eventually connect the dots, culminating in the Metaverses capable of generating modern digital possibilities. In the last decade, the world of work has shifted radically, shaped by factors such as a brutal recession, advances in technology, and a younger breed of workers with wildly differing views about what employment should look like. Over the years, with every buzz, the human resources team has only upped the game, and preparing for the world of work in the Metaverse is only logical.

What Will Workdays Look Like in Metaverse?

Did we think we would spend our work day on Zoom calls and Slack texts? So much has changed over the last few years. It’s not too far-fetched when science fiction writer Neal Stephenson imagined a universe and called it “Metaverse” in 1992 in his widely read book “Snow Crash.” Now, is it time to imagine our journey to work would consist of nothing more than donning a pair of virtual reality (VR) goggles? Imagine that your employees could be teleported to their colleague’s workspace somewhere in the Philippines or Australia to collaborate on a project instead of just typing a slack text. Think of a possibility where all employees could attend town halls with their colleagues’ avatars in one big meeting hall or brainstorming sessions with their teams instead of google meets. Remote-first companies can benefit from having in-person virtual office environments so employees from far-flung locations can still feel connected working in one collaborative space. Metaverse is still nascent and is evolving. There is still much to learn about how the Metaverse can improve the remote or hybrid working model. Preliminary exploration reveals that there are roughly three functional categories into which the workplace Metaverse will fall: an alternative workspace, a location for immersive learning, and a hangout for employees. With Zoom and Slack fatigue catching up, the antidote could be the Metaverse. Working in the Metaverse is already a reality for companies like Meta (previously Facebook), Microsoft, Epic Games, and Roblox. This is just the beginning of a new age of work and collaboration.

CHROs Will be the Torchbearers of This New Workspace

To remain competitive in the market, companies are increasing their investments in this new reality, and human resources play a crucial role in helping companies succeed in this agenda. Employees today despise the one-size-fits-all approach in today’s personalized world. Employee experience is about creating that first meaningful and lasting impression across the lifecycle of the employees. Immersive work experiences, such as hiring, onboarding, training, collaborating, meeting, selling, and marketing, will become more crucial as hybrid work develops and more employees are physically separated from their coworkers. According to Brandon Hall’s Pulse Survey, about 80% of the impact of the Metaverse will be seen in immersive learning, 57% in onboarding, and 51% in collaboration. The Role of CHROs and HR in the Metaverse Revolution CHROs must lead the way and be better prepared to embrace this new world sooner. Organizations can succeed in this new Metaverse future with careful planning, strategizing, monitoring security measures, and training for employees and HR managers.

Getting a Sense of the Unknown

The Metaverse is evolving from a gaming-only environment into an immersive platform for teamwork, education, training, communication, and HR technology—a genuinely new way of working.  In the new world of work, the Metaverse promises to bring ongoing, decentralized, collaborative, and interoperable opportunities. Is there currently a well-defined path for the success of HR in the Metaverse? For the time being, the answer is ‘No’. The most important thing here for HR leaders is to not try to become specialists overnight. When the Metaverse for HR arrives, it is also crucial to ensure that CHROs have the appropriate framework and support for their teams. HR teams should be able to train existing employees, recruit new employees, retain top talent, and provide a level of personalization that will help them stand out from competitors. To give you a headstart, we have done a deep-dive into how the Metaverse will change the workspaces of the future. This is the first of the 5-part series. Read this whole series to understand how Metaverse’s influence will impact the key aspects of an employee’s lifecycle – hiring, onboarding, compliance and culture. This is the first of a 5-part series on the Metaverse.
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