3 Biggest Benefits of VR In Warehousing

In any training program, it’s important to cross your t’s and dot your i’s as you prepare new hires for the reality of their roles. When we look at the checklist for warehouse training, there are typically two pieces of criteria underlined and in bold: reduce errors and boost productivity. Yet, safety is the underpinning of training for any specialized role in a warehouse.

Injury is the leading obstacle in the industry, especially when the average warehouse proudly posts the number of days since their last safety incident. Simply put– organizations cannot afford to be casual about the safety standards in their warehouses. VR training is forging new and improved measures for mitigating the risk of injury on the job and reaping major benefits specific to the industry.

While we know what we want to get out of training, warehousing organizations are thinking differently about what they put into their programs. Learning on the job has been a practical standard in warehouse training because it allows employees to practice with a coworker– but the number of training errors that disrupt the flow of products can be an interruption to operations. VR training prepares the workforce to step into roles with confidence and the technical skills needed to operate safely and efficiently.

This article will cover the three biggest benefits of VR in warehousing.

1. Learner Engagement

Immersive learning facilitates experiential training where learners are fully engaged. With VR, your workforce gains the experience that on the job training provides, empowering them to make the right decisions once they start at their assigned location.

VR training creates opportunities for employee enrichment beyond salary, benefits, and job stability. The attractive new technology hones the science of learning by activating the brain with life-like experiences.

We want learners to absorb as much information as possible in any training program. By optimizing learner engagement, employees retain the knowledge they need to boost their performance.

Think of it this way. Learner engagement ensures employee engagement.

2. Improved Safety

The warehouse floor is not for the faint of heart. The fast-paced, buzzing atmosphere practically invites injury. The technical skills that allow warehouses to operate require a workforce with environmental awareness. VR training programs allow learners to familiarize themselves with the environment and learn to identify hazards and risks.

In 2021, transportation and warehouses experienced the highest injury and illness rate involving days away from work per 10,000 workers. With statistics like that, it’s no wonder why organizations are eager to invest in new ways of streamlining their warehouse efficiency.

By helping employees recognize common warehouse hazards and dangers, VR prevents future injury and the price tag that comes with it. By practicing dangerous tasks in a virtual environment, learners remember the dangers associated with the job, allowing them to step onto the work floor with a higher level of preparation.

Safe workers have higher productivity because a safe warehousing environment ensures a consistent workflow. VR enhances the benefits of experiential training and, at the same time, eliminates the top safety risks involved with warehousing. After experiencing VR training, warehouse employees can perform their essential roles without harm. Your pockets will thank you, too!

3. Cost Effective 

VR warehouse training is impressively cost-effective. VR saves organizations by reducing costly turnover and safety incidents. In addition to minimizing everyday warehouse expenses, VR generates outstanding ROI.

In any given VR program, warehousing management has the ability to measure key performance indicators during immersive training. This helps them to highlight the level of productivity workers are achieving during their training and proactively correct any mistakes. This allows hires to walk into the warehouse with confidence and role readiness, eliminating premature walk-outs and rehabilitating the industry turnover rate.

Did you know falls and slips totaled $48,575 between 2019 and 2020? Without paying workers' compensation left and right, warehouses can save on major injury expenses with safety training in VR.  

And let’s not forget the benefit of scalability that VR offers, helping organizations reach all learners and accessible pricing with off-the-shelf content.

In Summary

In the ever-evolving industry, warehouses are embracing innovative training to help their workforce gain virtual learning experiences that translate to enhanced job performance. It all begins with the people who make the product move.   

Dated training practices have been slowing down warehouse production for too long. Training employees on the job interferes with productivity and slims the chances that you’ll hit your numbers for the day.

The warehouse is a fast-paced, high-intensity environment that involves close attention to detail. VR bridges skill gaps in warehouses and helps organizations reap the long-term benefits of immersive training. We can see it now – safer, more efficient warehouses with economical operations.

At the end of the day, training shouldn’t be counterproductive. VR recreates distribution centers in a virtual environment so learners can visualize what it will be like to work there, understand what their job entails, and practice their roles safely.

The benefits of VR training in the warehousing industry are setting a new standard for picking, packing, and shipping. This cutting-edge training solution is transforming the way warehouses operate, onboard, and upskill their workforce.

See an example of VR warehouse training here:

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Secrets of The Fortune 50: How VR Has Transformed Warehouse Training

As many organizations set their business plans in motion, they often look to the Fortune 50 for pointers on what it takes to get their business to the next level. It’s clear that business growth depends on the choices that are made from the top down. But what kind of incentives lead these big-name businesses to adopt VR training?  If there’s one thing Fortune 50 companies have in common, it’s their rejection of the status quo.

Companies are investing in technology in more ways than one. If you’re familiar with the talk of dark warehouses, it may seem as though the future of warehousing will look dystopian and lifeless, operating solely through automated robots. While the rise of automation is a trending topic in warehousing, the warehouses we see in 2023 still rely on a human touch.

According to a study done by a team of Harvard researchers, 42% of warehouse workers fear job loss. Accounting for 35% of all the negative responses, was a fear that inadequate training resources would reduce workers’ ability to succeed in a new, digital workplace.

Despite the ‘dark warehouse’ emerging as a tangible reality, people will always be essential to warehouse operations. XR training resolves the uncertainty by preparing employees to be an integral part of streamlining operations, making warehouses more productive than ever.

It’s no secret that Amazon is thriving. Much of their success can be attributed to their innovative business model. While automation may replace tedious warehouse positions, VR programs can empower and upskill the workforce to manage warehouses in specialized roles.

For many organizations, taking a page from the Fortune 50’s playbook leaves their stomach turning at the thought of total expenses. But as the metaverse continues to shape business plans and growth objectives, accessible VR will start to level out the playing field. Curious to know what they’ve been working on? Here’s what we’re seeing.

Amazon Robotics Project – Virtual Reality Safety Training

Safety is one of the top training topics that VR programs can address better than any other learning modality. Roundtable Learning created a VR training safety program to bridge a training gap for an Amazon warehouse robotic floor.

This experience was designed to train employees on how to safely enter the robotics floor, perform maintenance within a hazardous environment, and get production back up to speed as quickly as possible. With products zipping around the warehouse floor at light speed, the intricate robotic environment requires employees to know how to get onto the floor, safely navigate, locate the robot, and how to troubleshoot without being injured.

The VR robotics training reinforces safety standards through an immersive experience that engages learners to practice safety procedures. By giving learners a place to practice troubleshooting all the obstacles that may occur, they can react faster to real challenges when on the job.

This program’s effectiveness went beyond the scope of safety. The VR experience also prevents turnover by acting as a realistic job preview. The best way to impact turnover is to help a new hire to experience what a day in the life looks like while providing the tools to effectively train them.

This particular training highlights the trend in upskilling, something that Amazon continues to make a priority in providing career advancement for their employees. Take a look at how the pilot program went over with candidates at Amazon.

This particular training highlights the trend in upskilling, something that Amazon continues to make a priority in providing career advancement for their employees. Take a look at how the pilot program went over with candidates at Amazon.

Fortune 50 Beverage Company – Safety Warehouse Training

Safety is essential, but slow operations are a top concern for every warehouse. A large and well known food and beverage distributor needed help moving their products out into the world faster. The problem was that employees, like in most warehouses, were getting hurt left and right because they didn’t retain what they learned in during their inital onboarding. Roundtable Learning created a custom VR start of shift and order selection training to combat these issues.

The VR program was designed to optimize their workers' ability to stack pallets correctly and efficiently. In the program, new hires navigate the warehouse using their RF gun, become familiar with their environment, and hone their safety awareness.

In our training, learners practiced tasks such as proper layer stacking, correct handling of different types and weights of packages, and the two-hand grab required for safety. It simulates everything a warehouse employee experiences in a real shift, including PPE, reading aisle labels, locating correct items on shelves, and picking the correct number of boxes. The more hires complete these tasks correctly in VR, the more it translates to overall warehouse efficiency.

Each and every detail put into this custom program was designed to address essential warehouse skills, including reinforcement of correct lifting techniques, safety awareness of surroundings, and efficient picking. VR is a useful tool to solidify technical and safety skills, all while avoiding a ride in an ambulance.

Fortune 50 Wholesaler – Warehouse Training

A little healthy competition never hurt anyone. In fact, it's great for warehouse morale.  We partnered with a multinational wholesaler of food and kitchen products to create an original VR warehouse training to transform their efficiency. Like many leading distributors, this wholesale corporation wanted to try something new and innovative. To spice things up, we incorporated gamification into their VR training program. We designed a custom “perfect picking game” that randomized different scenarios during the picking process. Learners earn a score and compete with other distribution centers, aligning them all with a shared goal for proficient picking.

In VR, the gamification of standard warehouse tasks works to aid in knowledge retention and incentivizes productivity. The opportunity to repeat training in VR ensures that the flow of real-life products will be smooth sailing for their picking process.

What You Can Unlock With OTS

If you’re having trouble differentiating between fact and myth when it comes to the future of warehousing, it’s important to remember that technology is advancing rapidly.

Our experience creating custom VR content for Fortune 50 companies has been a stepping stone in the calibration of VR manufacturing training. We know and believe every warehouse deserves to operate as safely as the Fortune 50. Off-the-shelf VR (OTS) will make advanced training programs accessible for any and all organizations to optimize the productivity of their distribution centers and drive their business growth.

Off-the-shelf training is affordable, versatile, and a great way for organizations to get the ball rolling with VR without starting from scratch. With OTS training, any organization can adopt VR.

How Does VR Compare?

This is not the only way VR is outcompeting eLearning. The most obvious difference is the immersive experience that VR offers. While eLearning has a time and place – users are better equipped to navigate safety hazards, apply technical skills, and onboard at a faster rate with VR training to guide them in their role and familiarize them with their environment.

PwC reports that VR learners are 4x more focused than their eLearning peers and that when delivered to enough learners, VR training is estimated to be more cost-effective at scale than classroom or eLearning.

At 375 learners, VR training achieved cost parity with classroom learning. At 3,000 learners, VR training became 52% more cost-effective than classroom. At 1,950 learners, VR training achieved cost parity with e-learn. The more people you train, the higher your return will likely be in terms of employee time saved during training, as well as course facilitation and other out-of-pocket cost savings.

VR’s budding success is revolutionizing eLearning. With stronger user engagement, training has been shown to yield incredible results for the manufacturing industry.

Bridging Knowledge and Experience with VR

We are all familiar with the book smart versus street smart stereotype. Although, at times, these labels don’t represent the full scope of our capabilities – there is an underlying truth when it comes to the difference between real-life experience and studying it. Virtual reality bridges the gap between information and experience.

From technical skills training to safety training, the top organizations have invested in custom VR training to provide employees with an interactive training experience that sparks an emotional connection and knowledge retention. VR training pairs the opportunity to learn with the ability to physically move through and interact with a virtual environment. The Fortune 50 don’t have to choose between safety and productivity because they know, with the right training, one doesn’t have to compromise the other.

Companies are starting to catch on to the developing presence of VR in the training world. As more of the Fortune 50 organizations incorporate VR into their business models, training programs will continue to optimize industries spanning from aviation to warehousing.

Let’s Wrap It Up

The digital landscape of warehousing will only continue to evolve as companies see more ROI from immersive technology. With OTS VR training, the secrets of the Fortune 50 are within anyone’s grasp.

The top distribution centers are proactively addressing employee confidence and readiness for the job. The advances in VR technology have created more immersive and interactive opportunities for the warehousing workforce to upskill. Discover the potential of your workforce by bridging skill gaps and giving your workforce the right training tools to optimize their performance.

VR training creates company-wide ripple effects that directly impact the most important elements of your manufacturing success. Safety. Efficiency. Speed. VR attracts talent that has digital experience, allowing you to push your business forward by integrating the future of learning into your organization now. Off-the-shelf VR is an accessible alternative to custom training that produces measurable results. 

The pillars of success don’t necessitate an outpouring of funds, but smart investments. At the end of the day, your bottom line is dependent upon your approach to learning in your organization. Discover more about innovative learning here.

Why Virtual Reality Is The Future Of Warehousing Training

Imagine walking into a warehouse for the very first time. It’s jarring! The fast-paced, hectic working environment can be nerve-wracking. When it comes to warehouse training, it’s important to make new hires feel supported from the start.

Without effective training, new hires slow down warehouse production and become walking liabilities. Putting unprepared people to work on the warehouse floor can demolish the company budget, and your existing workforce won’t appreciate it either.

Prone to injury and turnover, warehouse employees aren’t afraid to cut ties. We know you’ve seen it time and time again – the new hire walks out mid-shift and becomes another statistic. With other competition just down the street, it’s easy to jump ship. It’s time for warehousing organizations to think about what sets them apart.

Warehouses are all challenged by the same organizational issue – keeping enough skilled people to manage the flow of products. Warehouse employees are met with today’s thriving e-commerce world that challenges the industry with a new level of demand. However, warehouses aren’t sitting around waiting for automation alone to speed up production – they are investing in the future workforce.

According to the PwC 2022 US Metaverse Survey, 82% of executives expect the metaverse to be part of their business plans within three years as a new approach to business sustainability. For warehouses, all future signs point to VR. They also mention that 42% of businesses plan to use immersive technology to provide onboarding and training. And this is only the beginning!

What will be the impact of integrating more technology into the warehouse space? Rather than replacing workers, immersive technology is being used to upskill and onboard employees, all while making their safety a priority. Virtual reality (VR) training delivers immersive learning experiences that familiarize learners with the warehouse environment and allow them to practice new skills in a life-like simulation.

VR and the Future of Warehouse Training

As the youngest workforce enters the warehousing industry, organizations are beginning to recognize them as digital natives. Not only has their education been centered around digital learning, but technology has influenced their entire lives. Because technology is their learning preference, VR training attracts the Gen-Z workforce. Plus, VR is a fun and engaging way to onboard new employees and improve their retention.

The opportunity to learn through extended reality (XR) training sends a clear message that there’s been a true investment in employee skills. In VR, immersive warehouse simulations improve things like spatial awareness and technical skills. For example, learning how to locate products or rehearsing safe lifting practices in a VR headset prepares hires to walk onto the warehouse floor with confidence and competence. The development of these abilities through modern training is pushing the manufacturing industry forward.

The demands in warehousing have seen a big shift since the lightning growth of e-commerce. It seems as though an Amazon warehouse is popping up in every neighborhood, and our favorite stores are offering new convenient ways to purchase products. With the increase in consumer spending, warehouse efficiency means something entirely different today. The surge in products and the necessity to move them faster centers around customer satisfaction.

Thanks to the pandemic-driven boom in online shopping, the country's fulfillment and distribution centers continued to staff up at a furious pace. Today they employ 1.8 million Americans — up 37% since January 2020 and up 183% from January 2010.

- Insider

While big-box stores are giving us exactly what we want during this season of change, keeping up with the high demand of our fast-paced lives comes with a huge learning curve. With a booming warehouse industry, employers have a laser focus on retention. How will they ever keep up with demand if they don’t have a dependable workforce?

Here’s an easy formula to help explain. There are three aspects that every warehousing operations team should examine with a fine-tooth comb when solving for retention:

  • Turnover: Is my team happy with their work enough to stay?
  • Safety: Am I providing a healthy environment for my team?
  • Skills: Does my team have the desire and capacity to learn and grow with us?

It all points back to you. Did you set your team up for success on day one? Are you fostering a safe environment? Do you provide a clear career path for each team member? Let’s see.


The onboarding process can make or break an employee’s work habits. There’s a lot of information to take in, and depending on who they’ve been trained by – a new warehouse employee could start their first day with skills guided by years or just a few weeks’ worth of experience. VR eliminates inconsistent training and provides an opportunity to:

  • Familiarize themselves with day-to-day tasks and how to navigate the warehouse environment.
  • Undergo identical training experiences that ensure company-wide standards for work.  
  • Get new hires up to speed so production doesn’t fall behind.
  • Empower employees to feel confident in their work so they can perform tasks to their best ability.


Turnover is a huge pain point for organizations in any industry, but in warehousing – turnover rates are exhaustingly high.

  • The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that 232,000 workers left the transportation, warehousing, and utilities industries in January 2023 alone.
  • 20 % of turnover happens in the first 45 days of employment
  • Yearly turnover costs businesses an astounding $57-$100k on average

How does this tie to VR? All the learning benefits of VR onboarding increase retention. VR programs allow employees to earn their sea legs through an accessible, tactile training experience. By closing the training gaps and reinforcing standard work practices, new hires begin their employment at the same starting point and benefit from the security of having the right knowledge to perform their jobs.


Any worksite, especially those where manual labor is involved, must ensure a safe environment and safety procedures. VR training allows warehouse employees to learn by doing before they ever enter a real warehouse. 

  • Occupational Health and Safety says VR is among the top technologies to train for safety and revealed that the use of VR led people to remember information better than a traditional computer program.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that from 2011 to 2017, 614 workers lost their lives in forklift-related incidents and more than 7,000 nonfatal injuries resulting in temporary leave occurred every year.

No one wants people or equipment damaged while building new skills. Warehouse VR training prevents future incidents while providing a safe space for workers to identify hazards and practice mitigating risk while on the job.

Skill Gaps 

Upskilling is becoming a top priority for warehouse employees as the landscape of manufacturing evolves, which is a huge benefit to organizations. The more people looking for opportunities with upskilling and longevity, the greater the opportunity for organizational growth and retention.

High turnover, safety incidents, and skill gaps that continue to plague the warehouse make it clear that training and onboarding practices must cater to the evolving demands of the industry while empowering the people behind the production.

Easy Ways to Get Started

It’s no surprise that VR has made a business case for itself has being the safest and most effective training modality for different learning experiences across the board, so what’s next? As the Fortune 100 continue to pave the way for smaller organizations to adopt virtual reality into their business strategies, the future of learning offers options for companies of all shapes and sizes.

Custom VR

If you're looking for a way to get your employees up to speed quickly and safely, custom virtual reality is an excellent option. With custom VR, organizations play a key part in the creation process of training content, which is best used for training programs that require learners to adopt a highly specific set of skills. By creating an exact replica of a unique warehouse floor or a complex piece of equipment, custom VR can recreate any environment to allow learners to practice in a safe space.

Developing a custom VR program alongside a dedicated team of expert instructional designers and developers will help you outline your specific learning objectives and identify the key metrics you want to measure. This framework ensures that your custom VR training will be tailored to the needs of your organization.

Benefits of Custom VR:
  • Addresses specific business challenges of your organization
  • Maximizes (ROI) return on investment
  • Enhances employee performance
  • Closes skill gaps faster

Off The Self VR

Off-the-shelf VR content is a great option for organizations that are looking to streamline the basics. Many organizations offer pre-built training modules for warehousing, making it easy for mid-sized organizations to adapt to the growing presence of XR training.

These modules have been developed by industry experts, ensuring that they're both relevant and up-to-date. As a result, you can focus on implementing effective training programs rather than investing in the development of custom content.

The scalability of off-the-shelf VR content also makes it an attractive option for organizations aiming to streamline their training programs for new hires or to expand existing programs to cover additional skills and knowledge areas.

Benefits of Off-The-Shelf VR:
  • Ready-made training content
  • Cost-savings
  • Scalability

Looking Towards the Future 

It’s no surprise that warehouse employees are in high demand. In order to streamline efficiency, you have to meet people where they’re at. There’s an amazing opportunity to do that with VR training.

VR warehouse training allows onboarding to rehearse their roles in a safe environment to reduce injuries in the real world. Immersive learning gets new employees where they need to be at a faster rate by providing experiential learning that transforms performance.

The Top 3 KPIs to Measure the Success of Your XR Training Program

In the age of information, organizations are more transparent about their business goals and have incorporated new technology to support a vibrant learning culture.

The momentum of innovations like virtual reality (VR) training isn’t slowing down anytime soon. In fact, a new wave of strategy for measuring the success of these training programs is transforming the way organizations see ROI.

The overwhelming majority of companies hope to motivate their workforce to upskill and align with company-wide goals. With these intentions in mind, extended reality programs are making a big impact on corporate training.

We ran a survey and found that measuring the success of training programs sometimes is divided between departments. As one of our participants put it:

“Success Metrics are difficult to come by and they don’t always translate into useful information for both parties involved. What operations (teams) find helpful as a metric doesn’t help the L&D teams define success and vice versa.”

Measuring the success of your training program is not always clear-cut either. For many businesses, communicating the broader organizational impact of training programs can be like waiting for an egg to hatch. But it’s no secret that organizations want to see training metrics in real time – yesterday.

Picture this. Your company has implemented custom XR training. There’s a renewed sense of motivation and energy flowing amid your incoming workforce. People are putting on headsets, completing trainings, and leaving with a smile on their face. But how is training actually going? Without training metrics, there’s no sure way to know the impact your training program is making for your organization. So, how do you find meaning in the metrics? To start, organizations need to decide what success looks like.

As many companies incorporate new training modalities like VR, it’s important they have the right tools to measure its success and make sense of the analytics drawn from immersive learning.

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) 

KPIs is every company’s North Star for measuring success, yet it varies across industry. Because organizations can - and should - customize their KPIs, it’s important to know which metrics give the most insight into your overall business goals. 

1. Employee Turnover

High employee turnover rates are a clear side effect of larger issues within an organization. However, new hire turnover is the most common.

  • According to Forbes, 20% of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days, but 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experience a quality onboarding process.
  • The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that in January 2023, 260,000 workers quit jobs in the manufacturing industry and 232,000 left the transportation, warehousing, and utilities industries.
  • Workhuman says that the cost of employee turnover is 1.5 to 2 times the amount of the existing employee’s salary. Imagine spending twice the amount you’d pay for someone to work at your organization only to walk out the backdoor!
  • The cost of turnover is more than just a dollar amount. While the average cost associated with yearly turnover has been estimated between $57,150 and $100,000, the organizational impact of turnover burdens the remaining workforce and negatively impacts team morale.

 2. Onboarding Time

Onboarding is a first impression without any re-dos. The metrics tied to onboarding measure both employee satisfaction and productivity. Effective onboarding reduces turnover, engages employees, and can improve the level of future productivity. But we know decision makers like to follow the bottom dollar, so let’s take a look at a few stats.

  • According to Glassdoor, the average U.S. employer spends an average of $4,000 on every new hire.
  • While getting new hires up to speed, it's inevitable that production slows down. From the new hire to the training supervisor and the co-worker filling the gap - each salary is costing their organization for a slowed pace of work. 
  • The onboarding process for warehouse employees takes an average of 6-8 weeks. That's up to 15% of a new hire's yearly salary and doesn't even guarantee proficiency. 

The onboarding process, when done correctly, prepares new hires to perform their roles as quickly and efficiently as possible. Measuring the time to proficiency (from the first day of training to demonstrated capability in a role) provides useful insights to the success rate of your onboarding program.

3. Safety Incidents

Employee safety seem like an obvious win, but the decrease in safety incidents like personal injury has a direct correlation with sound safety training programs and proves an easy case for your ROI.

While no business is the same and each has its own method of madness in defining and measuring what success looks like for them - investing in a new training method can be expensive, even risky. Turnover, onboarding, and safety never miss the mark on displaying successes and failures on a pedestal.

Deciding which metrics to focus on in measuring success should reflect the objectives for each of your training program. As organizations adopt newer training methods at a faster pace, measuring the recommended KPIs above will prove how XR programs save you, big time.

Data Tells A Story

Businesses use all kinds of strategies to measure training effectiveness, including employee surveys and post-training exams. And while word of mouth is a nice starting point, numbers don’t lie.

VR training metrics can be collected with an (XRS). A standard XRS can maximize the value of your VR training by bringing all your essential KPIs to one web-based dashboard. With an XRS, real-time training metrics are automatically tracked and received in easy-to-read digital reports. These reports can help organizations gain a deeper understanding of the impact that training is having on their company culture and production efficiencies.  

For example, Learning & Development (L&D) teams can analyze results by comparing each individual learner’s performance to what’s considered ideal. They can track what parts of the training learners need to spend more time practicing, determine the average time to proficiency and plan production schedules accordingly, all while identifying which areas of the job pose safety risks based on failure rates and body ergonomics and solve for them.

At the end of the day, people want to see results. They want assurance that learning has taken place and that it translates to higher productivity, safer working conditions, meaningful cost savings, and employee satisfaction.

What is Mercury Extended Reality System?
What is Mercury Extended Reality System?

The Measure of Success

The measure of success can be subjective, but it’s safe to say that onboarding, turnover, and safety incident rates keep organizations conscious of costs.

Have you been looking at your training program with rose-colored glasses? If you’re looking to save on expenses, it’s a smart move to get a clear picture of the effectiveness of your XR training program with metrics that support your top objectives.

KPIs prove the effectiveness of training programs but, perhaps more importantly, influence the way you implement programming in the future. To quote Maya Angelou – when you know better, you do better.   

The cost of XR training is no drop in the bucket, nor is it a trivial investment. The measure of success starts with your XR training program and the KPIs to deliver meaningful results. Don’t worry, ROI is just over the horizon!

Want to learn more? Check out more on our YouTube Channel.

The GROW Model: Coaching Conversations As A Successful Retention and Performance Strategy

In any organization, growth is not just important – it’s necessary. There are several ways to establish a strong learning culture. At Roundtable, we’re here to point you in the right direction. It starts with human-to-human experiences.

A voracious appetite for learning is a sure way to achieve goals in the workplace. However, many corporate leaders find themselves frustrated by a perceived lack of hunger amongst their teams. We found that beneath the veneer of apathy is much-needed leadership engagement. 

We all have coaches we remember. If you retrace your experiences, you may realize how big an impact they had on your success. In the corporate world, inquiry is largely underrated. Facilitating employee growth starts with asking the right questions.

Addressing Retention and Performance

Forbes reported that between July and November 2022, more than 4 million Americans quit their jobs each month. Work culture and leadership were a big part of the top contributing factors that negatively impacted retention rates.

You may be wondering, are underperformance and turnover generational issues? Yes and no. The answer isn’t so easy.

Just last summer, the zeitgeist of social media introduced 'quiet quitting’, a phenomenon coined on TikTok that overcame the workforce in 2022. While it had little impact on leadership practices, quiet quitting encouraged employees to perform only the bare minimum of their responsibilities instead of quitting outright. Underperformance records soared.

Research points to more than just a universal rejection of hustle culture, a glorified, relentless work style that says if you are not hustling, you are failing. On the other side of the coin is the need for leadership strategies that address work culture issues. The psychology behind creating an improved workplace culture starts with determining why the desire for a shift in culture exists in the first place. Employees want to feel seen and heard.

Gallop reported a decline in engagement and employer satisfaction among remote Gen-Z and younger millennials below the age of 35. Their answer? Managers must learn how to have conversations to help employees reduce disengagement and burnout. In fact, they recommend that managers have one meaningful conversation per week with each team member.

There’s no denying that the global pandemic impacted social attitudes toward work. However, this cultural shift comes with real consequences for organizations. According to Apollo Technical, it costs an employer an average of 33% of an employee’s yearly salary for their exit. Ouch!

So, what could be worse than costly turnover rates? Quiet quitters make up at least 50% of the workforce. Underperforming employees may be the first sign that leadership needs a new strategy.

Successful executives must increasingly supplement their industry and functional expertise with a general capacity for learning—and they must develop that capacity in the people they supervise.

- Harvard Business Review

So, how do we develop another’s capacity to learn? Coaching conversations inspired by the GROW Model give employees options to reach their goals and create accountability for growth and development by establishing a mutually beneficial plan forward.

The GROW Coaching Model

There’s a clear difference between asking someone if they like food and what their favorite childhood meal was. The latter sparks a flow of conversation that welcomes follow-up questions and creates a connection. The GROW Coaching Model serves as a framework for selecting the right questions to build connections that improve employee retention and inspire new performance goals.

First published in his book Coaching for Performance in 1992, Sir John Whitmore’s GROW Model is arguably one of the most widely-used methods in organizational leadership today. Let’s take a look at the acronym’s four key steps:

Want to see how it works? Here’s a fun leadership scenario to help paint a bigger picture.

Ben’s resume and initial performance at work was impressive, but he tends to check out these days. Although his tasks are completed, they often display minimal effort. Someone even saw him searching for other jobs during the workday. Ben is a quiet quitter. Leadership knows something has to change. They set up a meeting with Ben over coffee and structure the coaching conversation like this:

Ben will walk away from this coaching conversation with a clear goal and support from leadership. His performance will improve and his likelihood of staying within the organization is much higher.

Want to hear some more examples? Check out the 40 Best GROW Model Coaching Questions from Positive Psychology.

The Benefits

The process of inquiry is an effective approach to coaching conversations, so what are the real benefits?

For one, conversational coaching elevates company culture by empowering employees to find solutions. The philosophy behind the GROW Model is that it prioritizes transformational coaching over transactional coaching. Transactional coaching is based on general feedback, while transformational coaching inspires an emotional commitment to a goal. When leaders ask constructive questions, employees have the opportunity to self-reflect and create solutions on their own terms.

Coaching conversations are a successful leadership approach because it establishes a workplace culture of continual progress. Who doesn’t want a more motivated and committed workforce? Create a strong company culture through collaborative and thoughtful conversation, where performance expectations become a shared goal.

Successful conversations get everyone on the same page, and that goes for company alignment as well. Gallup explains that employees and teams who most align with their company culture consistently perform higher on internal performance metrics than those who least align

Retention and performance go hand and hand. Conversational coaching helps motivate employees to stay in your organization and perform better while they’re there. The higher the engagement, the stronger the performance.

When To Use It

There are certain things coaching is the right answer for. In order to create a vibrant workforce that performs with goals in mind, knowing when to use this framework is the first step to a better retention and performance strategy.  

Conversational coaching is not intended for technical skills. Technical skills are acquired through training. Coaching is best used when there is potential to change behavior. Coachability is determined by whether employees have it within themselves to change their behavior and attitude towards work.

Conversational coaching should be used when leaders want to incentivize productivity and performance. Conversational coaching is also suited well for correcting employee judgment. For example: “Why did you choose to do it this way?” Questions help shape conversations that lead to collaborative solutions structured by supportive leadership.

Harvard Business Review explains,

Of course, workplace coaching usually takes place outside of formal coaching sessions. Most often, it happens in brief exchanges, when a manager might respond to a request for help by posing a single question, such as “What have you already thought of?” or “What really matters here?” When more of those interactions occur—when you notice your managers growing increasingly inquisitive, asking good questions, and working from the premise that they don’t have all the answers—you’ll know you’re on the right track.

It's the small, day-to-day moments that make the greatest changes. A simple way to think about coaching is to structure the conversation. The simplicity of the GROW Model is why it’s useful.

All in all, strong leadership with a genuine interest in everyone’s success has a trickle-down effect.

Putting Into Practice

Practice makes perfect. The GROW model is a framework that can be used in all industries. Here are some final tips for putting coaching conversations to the test.

Company culture is not just a set of philosophies that the workforce subscribes to. Think of your workplace culture as a verb. Forbes advises to schedule both departmental and individual meetings asking employees for feedback consistently to build a positive workplace culture.

Effective leadership starts with inquiry. The more you ask, the more you know!

Failed relationships often stem from a lack of communication. Businesses are not exempt from the consequences of poor people skills, and nurturing talent at your organization is best practiced through transparent and consistent dialogue.

While quiet quitting is a trend that continues to permeate the workforce, the GROW model can restructure how leaders influence company culture. Improving retention and performance is achieved through incremental steps of leadership engagement. Choose your words wisely!

As you navigate the 2023 workplace, incorporating coaching conversations as a performance and retention strategy will transform your organization. When practiced the right way, identifying a common goal, assessing the reality, evaluating options, and inspiring willpower in others can all happen in a single conversation. Coach people to lean into their potential. 

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