As the Metaverse matures, businesses must ensure they have a ‘meta-ready’ workforce who can navigate these digital spaces. Tech skills have continued to be challenging for all enterprises, but the Metaverse expands the required skills base.
According to the current Global Tech Report from KPMG, two-thirds of organizations will adopt technologies, including the Metaverse, in the next two years. However, and not surprisingly, these businesses’ top challenge is the shortage of skills.
Research from Salesforce in their Global Digital Skills Index suggests that three out of four professionals are not ready to work in a digital-first environment. However, when the Metaverse is considered more closely and how immersive spaces and tools could be used, the picture is quite different, as research from Ciena concludes that over three-quarters (78%) of the 15,000 professionals surveyed would be comfortable holding meetings, for example, in virtual spaces.
And from a digital talent point of view, building new products and services for the Metaverse will rapidly become a commercial imperative. As post-pandemic digital transformation is focused on creating innovative and engaging customer experiences, the Metaverse is a core component of these strategies.
Technical skills across a workforce have always been critical to maintain and nurture. As the Metaverse makes its presence felt, will enterprises again enter an arms race to attract and retain the best meta talent?
Your digital employee
The Metaverse will impact businesses from a development perspective and enable companies to create unique recruitment spaces.
“Businesses must open their minds to the possibility of using the Metaverse to reach talent in an engaging, enticing way, especially for younger age groups,” Chris Cornelius, Immersive Collaboration Leader, DXC Technology, told UNLEASH. “Many of today’s younger recruits have grown up socialising and gaming online, so businesses must be able to engage them in an environment which feels familiar.
“Using the Metaverse for recruitment also helps companies position themselves as modern and exciting places to work.”
Cornelius continued: “Additionally, hosting first-round interviews in the Metaverse can help recruiters identify candidates with the right behavioral profile rather than just the ones with the right credentials. Ultimately, the Metaverse can offer an additional dimension to a 2D video call and provide a different perspective on candidates.”
After onboarding, the Metaverse offers new spaces and environments to enhance employee experience. Again, workers are looking for businesses that understand what is driving their careers. How their approaches to work – often designed around portfolio working – are supported by employers.
James Ross, managing director of Hype, believes the Metaverse can offer the platform to make a shift to holistic workforce support: “I’m looking forward to the day when companies will start building their own virtual offices in the Metaverse and I’m curious to see what HR will come up with to boost employee happiness and social cohesion in the Metaverse. A virtual tour of the office on your first day? A quick game of mixed reality fencing on your lunch break? A team outing in Roblox? Nothing is off the table in the Metaverse.”
With Robert Parry, director at Hype Talent, who co-founded Web3 recruitment agency WE3 outlined what meta recruitment could look like in the very near future: “For the time being, meta jobs are likely to remain a niche category. Outside of companies with positions which exist strictly in the Metaverse (like Meta’s Horizon community guides, for instance), I expect demand to remain low until the technology truly goes mainstream.
“Once that happens, recruiters will have to adapt to the landscape — as we’ve already done with remote work. If you expect all your employees to show up to work in a virtual space, it’d make a lot of sense if the hiring process includes an interview — or perhaps even an assignment — in the Metaverse, for instance.”
Could harnessing the Metaverse resolve or at least alleviate the continuing chronic shortage of skills businesses must resolve? Indeed, having a unique recruitment environment will appeal to specific groups that will appreciate that the organization has embraced the technology. Highly skilled individuals want to work for forward-looking organizations but don’t approach the Metaverse as a recruitment gimmick.
Work has changed. COVID-19 ushered in a radical shift in working patterns as remote mass working has become the norm for millions of workers. The Metaverse could become the next disruptive technology that will transform work again, but also how business processes are managed and how innovation moves forward at speed.
In this heady mix of new immersive technologies, people remain the same – they have a job to do. The tools they use may change, but the outcomes are similar even if the journey has changed. What the Metaverse means to businesses and their workforces will be on a case-by-case basis.
Making sense of these new spaces, whether they are representations of three-dimensional spaces on a screen or fully immersive environments requiring specialist equipment to access them, how workforces are prepared and supported must be a critical component of all digital strategies.
Many businesses and workers alike lament the shift away from traditional physical office spaces. Here, the culture of a business has come under threat as workers retreat to their homes. Embracing the Metaverse as Meta itself envisions it could, as the company states, could lead to ‘a revolution for organizational culture’ as VR/AR becomes more commonplace and rooted in business processes. How companies such as NextMeet, Mesmerise and PixelMax are approaching the Metaverse from business perspectives can guide HRs to place their enterprise’s needs into the context of the Metaverse.
Do enterprises need to recruit for the impending Metaverse shift in their industries and sectors? It’s certainly prudent to place the Metaverse on medium to long-term development strategies and look to recruit for these development roles. However, the Metaverse is also about how existing workforces will use these new tools and services – here, Meta training and education are vital.
Can we define a ‘meta-employee’? Being comfortable and able to use ‘meta tools’ will become as common as assumed competence with Office 365 is today. For recruiters, understanding how their companies integrate the Metaverse into their internal and customer-facing processes will be critical. Seamlessly shifting between traditional office tools and more immersive environments will also be required. These hybrid workers will increasingly become the norm requiring a different approach to recruitment and management.
The Harvard Business Review makes these telling conclusions: “The workplace of the 2020s already looks vastly different from what we could have imagined just a couple of years ago: the rise of remote and hybrid working has truly changed expectations around why, where and how people work.
“But the story of workplace transformation doesn’t end there. While still in its early stages, the emergent metaverse provides an opportunity for enterprises to reset the balance in hybrid and remote work, to recapture the spontaneity, interactivity, and fun of team-based working and learning while maintaining the flexibility, productivity, and convenience of working from home.”
It is significant that Accenture, for example, has launched its Metaverse Continuum Business Group. The company will also welcome new employees via their immersive space. The Group leader, Paul Daugherty, clearly stated that enterprises must be ‘metaverse-ready’ when he concluded: “The next generation of the internet is unfolding and will drive a new wave of digital transformation far greater than what we’ve seen to date, transforming the way we all live and work.
“Our vision of the Metaverse as a continuum challenges prevailing, narrower views and highlights why organizations must act today, or find themselves operating in worlds designed by, and for, someone else.”
A ’meta-ready’ company can also become a significant pull for the talent enterprises need to succeed in this new environment. As businesses that offer hybrid working have become destination companies for skilled workers, so will organizations that have placed the Metaverse on their transformation roadmaps paying close attention to education, career progression and nurturing wellbeing in the workplace.
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