Walmart | Virtual reality used to decide employee promotions

Virtual reality used to decide employee promotions

US retail corporation Walmart has welcomed the use of technology within its stores, using virtual reality (VR) to help promote its staff members.

Set to be rolled out across all of its 4,600 stores, the technology will source internal candidates for management positions, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The VR assessment aims to uncover how its workers might respond to challenging situations and how they prioritise different tasks, which wouldn’t necessarily be identified in a face-to-face interview. 

So far, 10,000 employees have taken part in the test as part of an initiative to identify potential high performers and cut back the overall number of managers in store. Following the introduction of the assessment, a 12-year veteran of a store in Pennsylvania received a promotion to team a leader position and a ten per cent pay increase.

This also forms part of Walmart’s plan to change how many higher paid managers are overseeing teams and to give its frontline workers more power to make decisions in their roles.  

Using technology in this way may seem daunting for some employers, however, the use of VR in this way may also help to cut out unbiased hiring methods, plus the retailer expressed that it would not be a mandatory part of the promotion process.

Beth Nagel, Walmart Human Resources Market Manager for the Pittsburgh area, called VR a “touchpoint in our selection process. It’s not a disqualifier,” but acts as another tool to help the firm substantiate “what we as a manager see in someone as potential.”

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Additionally, Drew Holler, Senior Vice President of Associate Experience at Walmart, added: “What we’re trying to do is understand the capacity of the individual from a leadership perspective and how they view situations,” Road to VR reported.

The VR headsets and assessment programme were both designed by Strivr, and both the firm and Walmart have unveiled plans to integrate additional data points such as worker’s body movement and attention data to get a clearer picture of employee potential in the future.

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