A VR Experiment for Reducing Employee Turnover

The challenge to create engagement for middle-schoolers at a career fair could have a major payoff for human resource managers in their efforts to reduce employee turnover.

We love it when a client asks us for innovation, so when General Shale, the nation’s top residential brick, block, and stone manufacturer, asked us for ideas to steal the show at a career fair for Tennessee middle-schoolers, we offered a double-barreled idea that leverages virtual reality.

We used our 360° camera to capture real-life work by brick plant workers. The videos were properly edited, complete with graphics and sound, and the students used Samsung smartphones and VR goggles to view them. Dawn Henning, General Shale’s Director of Marketing and Retail Sales, loved the idea.

From Tennessee to Georgia, we produced a variety of job videos, from heavy equipment operator to kiln attendant. Led by video producer Kenny Thacker, we got down, up, and sideways inside the plants. We turned the idea into a branded experience called GS 360°.

The kids loved the chance to wear the VR goggles to generate the expected level of excitement. Yet that was just the first blast. In sharing the idea, we engaged General Shale’s Human Resource Manager, who had expressed that the company was experiencing turnover issues at their plants. We told them that there could be ROI in leveraging the GS 360° by requiring applicants for the jobs experiencing turnover to don the VR goggles to experience the job.

The hypothesis is that a good look at what one will experience on the job before they apply will separate out those who might not like the job and quit. Better to sift out some applicants than to spend the time on training and processing in a new employee only to see them leave the company.

We think the VR experience could be a great tool for reducing employee turnover in a variety of careers, from manufacturing to foodservice to healthcare. The experiment has just begun. We’ll provide some stats once we have them from the client.