Wearable tech is no longer limited to just something you wear on your wrist. Creative technicians are finding a wide variety of new uses for wearable tech as it is being invented. Employee training is just one of the many new fields that is enjoying the benefits of the latest types of wearable tech.
Wearable tech can help you improve your employees' performance and increase retention rates by creating an immersive, realistic and interactive training experience. And better trained employees are better employees.
Here are some ways in which wearable tech can help you create a better training experience for your employees.
Fully interactive training - Instead of sitting behind a computer watching a video and answering questions, employees can literally "step into the story" and interact with virtual characters. Best of all, you get to watch and see how they do. In addition, rather than having a standard set of questions you ask all employees to answer uniformly, you can load different scenarios for different employees.
New product interaction - Instead of simply reading materials about an upcoming product, employees can view it in 3D, interact with it and pull up specs as they are doing so. The more familiar your employees are with a product, the more confidently they can present it to your consumers.
Knowledge at your fingertips - Cell phones and tablets put a great deal of product information right at the fingertips of your employees on the sales floor or out on a sales call. Wearable tech, however, offers the same benefits but leaves their hands free.
Better and more uniform on-boarding - As more and more companies are hiring remote workers, wearable tech gives you the opportunity to provide the exact same training for on-site workers as for remote workers.
Real-time support - When an employee needs management assistance, wearable tech allows managers to give face-to-face assistance without ever leaving their desk. And that includes being able to interact with customers. Instead of having to be in three places at once, wearable tech allows you to interact in three different situations within a matter of seconds.
Instant and discreet feedback - Employees in training often make mistakes which you sometimes can't correct until well after the fact. Feedback features on wearable tech allows you to deliver a small vibration to their wrist to alert them immediately when they are doing something incorrectly, without embarrassing them or drawing a customer's attention to it.
Frees employees from their desks - Instant messaging is helpful, but when an employee steps away from their desk, they also leave behind the ability to respond instantly. Wearable tech frees employees from being tethered to their desks while still being able to engage in real-time digital messaging.
Prior to reading this article, your first association with VR headsets might have been to gaming or you might have related smartwatches primarily to fitness training. However, as you can see, these innovations are finding entirely new purposes in the business world. Wearable tech relies immensely on the simplicity of its usage. In addition, by making it a part of employee training, you could provide learning that is not limited by time or space, which opens a world of possibilities. If implemented correctly, it could take your business to a whole new level.
Now that you know how wearable tech can generally be of use to your business, here are a few devices that show the most promise in employee training and engagement right now.
1. VR Headsets
VR - or Virtual Reality - headsets are on the cutting edge of wearable tech. They are what allows your employees to become fully immersed in a fully realistic experience or exchange. By watching your employees actually engage with virtual clients, customers or consumers, you can help them understand how to act, react or respond in almost any situation they might encounter. This not only helps your employees, it helps your clients and consumers.
VR headsets can also help you train employees on job-specific tasks, such as proper fast-food techniques or even how to properly check oncoming traffic for delivery drivers. The great part about VR is that if trainees do something improperly, there are no accidents, no medical bills or rate hikes in your liability insurance.
2. Google Glass Headsets
Google Glass headsets work something like VR goggles, but instead of being fully immersed in the VR experience, the virtual world is essentially "laid over" the real world. Training can still be simulated the same way as with VR goggles but Google glass headsets offer even more versatility because they can also be worn when interacting with real clients.
With Glass Enterprise Edition trainers can also collect data from the wearer than can provide valuable data to help trainers give more accurate feedback. This includes things like the employee's level of attention to the client and whether or not they make direct eye contact or when they become distracted while driving. This data can help trainers offer important feedback directly related to the trainee's actions and interactions.
Smartwatches are the most readily available wearable tech, but they are also the most limited in terms of tailored learning programs. However, they are the least distracting and show the most potential for providing real-time access to critical information while still keeping an employee's hands free for other things. While VR Goggles or even Google Glass Headsets make for a great training experience, smartwatches make the best transition from the training room to the real world.
These are just three of the wearable tech products currently available and some of the potential uses for them. There are a wide range of products currently in development however, many of which may make a better transition from the training room to the real world. Even the tech that exists right now, however, is making for a better, more immersive training experience, which helps both employees and employers.
Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today's business and marketing. When she’s not being all serious and busy, she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, and delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Tweet her @JazzyWilliams88.