Boosting employee engagement is at the front of many business leaders’ minds. Higher engagement means higher productivity, lower turnover, better collaboration, and heightened morale, but it can be tricky to know how to generate it. Augmented reality (AR) technology can help.
AR is similar to virtual reality (VR) but superimposes digital displays over the real world instead of fully immersing users in a virtual one. You may be most familiar with it in the form of smartphone games like Pokemon Go, but it’s seeing rising adoption in business circles, too. Here’s how you can use this technology to promote employee engagement.
Making Data More Accessible
One of AR’s most substantial advantages is it can show you a virtual display without blocking your view of the real world. Enterprise AR solutions — either in smartphone apps or headsets — use this ability to make critical information available when employees need it. With AR-based guides or workflow visualizations, you can pull up what you need without looking away from what you’re doing.
“Enterprise AR solutions make critical information available when employees need it.”
Many repair and maintenance companies use AR to give field workers easy access to various repair procedures. Instead of flipping through a paper manual or looking at a digital one on their phone, technicians can see step-by-step instructions in front of them with AR glasses. That way, they can keep working without distraction or disruption.
Streamlining potentially complicated workflows like this makes it easier for employees to stay engaged in their work. Work feels less disruptive or frustrating when you don’t have to look away to get the info you need.
Connecting Remote Workers
You can also use enterprise AR to help improve remote collaboration. Virtual laboratories have been around for 20 years, but now virtually any industry can capitalize on these technologies. AR lets people in different areas see the same data or 3D images in their own environments, making collaboration easier despite the distance.
Some AR solutions can also provide real-time translation services. As someone talks, an intelligent algorithm can translate it, then display it through AR as subtitles over the view of the speaker. This helps remote workers overcome language barriers to work together.
Remote work on its own can help you boost employee engagement, as workers may feel more comfortable working from home. AR tools take those benefits further by enabling remote work with the collaborative benefits of in-person work.
Improving the Onboarding Process
Another way you can boost engagement with AR is to integrate it into the onboarding process. Just as field technicians can use AR headsets to gather important information, new hires can use them to see instructions during hands-on training. This can offer faster, more engaging training by letting workers start trying things first-hand with easily accessible guides to help them.
AR-based training is ideal for positions that may entail hazardous workflows. By using AR to simulate potentially dangerous environments, employees can get a feel for the job before actually encountering hazards. The perception of safety affects recruitment and retention, so this can be a crucial first step in the onboarding process.
Using AR to guide new employees also reduces your staff burden. You won’t need to dedicate as much time or other workers to training recruits, helping all team members stay engaged.
“Trainees can use AR to see instructions during hands-on training.”
Creating Engaging Reskilling Programs
The same things that make AR great for training new employees make it ideal for reskilling. Career advancement opportunities play a significant role in engagement. If staff members don’t feel like they have much room to grow in a company, they’ll find it hard to get invested in it. You can avoid those feelings if you use AR to offer exciting and helpful reskilling programs.
Just as you use AR to show new hires how to work in a specific role, you can use it to train existing employees in new skills, workflows, or departments. This could be part of an optional career development program or a standard part of your workflow to create a more well-rounded workforce.
Reskilling is particularly valuable for manufacturers and other industrial businesses. As automation rises, reskilling the workforce will become increasingly essential and AR can help ensure that process remains engaging.
Gamifying Workflows and Goals
You can also use enterprise AR solutions to gamify your team’s workflows. Most people associate AR with gaming — thanks to the rise of mobile AR apps — and cutting-edge technology like this has an inherent novelty that appeals to people. Consequently, integrating it into regular workflows can make work feel more exciting and fun.
Studies show engagement can increase by 48% after implementing gamified motivation. You can capitalize on that by using AR to introduce novel, gamified elements to break up the everyday routine.
It’s vital to avoid over-using AR and other gamified elements. It could feel tedious or forced if it takes up too much of your team’s regular workflows, leading to the opposite effect. However, careful use of AR and similar technologies can make workplaces more exciting and thus engaging places to be.
“Engagement can increase by 48% after implementing gamified motivation.”
Integrate AR Into Your Business Today
AR in the workplace is still a relatively new concept, but it is growing quickly. If you take advantage of the growing field of business-oriented AR technologies, you can foster higher employee engagement. You’ll then enjoy higher productivity, retention, and job satisfaction.