“Particularly our newer employees who are at entry-level roles, they really love the gamification side of things. They have tasks, they get incentives and can win prizes.”
Accenture began dabbling in the metaverse as an emerging technology before the pandemic, and built a program to onboard staff virtually during the waves of lockdowns by sending 60,000 virtual reality headsets to employees globally.
The Australian arm of the business does not use the Oculus virtual reality headsets – which make it easier to move around the metaverse – so for now employees have to rely on a program on their laptops.
Each employee creates their own cartoon-like avatar. The figures do not have arms or legs, but they do have hands.
“People also use it as an opportunity to sort of express a bit of a personality through clothes that they might be willing to wear in a virtual environment that they wouldn’t be willing to wear in the conservative work environment,” Ms Kruger said.
Accenture is bullish on the role the metaverse will play in businesses in the future and has set up a new business unit called the Accenture metaverse continuum group to sell the services to clients.
Familiarity with the virtual world was also a useful tool for its consultants, Ms Kruger said, preparing them for future work with clients.
A survey conducted by the research company Telsyte found one in three Australians say they would be willing to do meetings and training in the virtual reality of the metaverse if their workplace demanded it.
However, the research found users still have concerns about the headsets used to access the metaverse, saying the devices are too heavy and too difficult to set up.
The metaverse may also kill off more of the business travel market, removing the need to jump on a plane to attend meetings.
Ms Kruger said the ability to bring large numbers of workers into the same virtual space would allow Accenture to scale its onboarding process.
“Two thousand people is a lot of people to come into one location in slightly under 12 months,” she said.
“Our poor onboarding team would have been in a heap in the corner had that all been a traditional face-to-face format.”