Tina Beaty, Acting Chief Marketing & Experience Officer for SHRM, explains how businesses can advance their employee brand and experience by hosting events and training in the Metaverse. Tina also discusses how companies can redefine their relationship with technology.
DOUG: Tina, could you start by telling us a little bit about what your organization does?
TINA: Sure. SHRM is the voice of all things work. So, we really look at the intersection between people and business and helping to ensure that employers and employees can thrive together in today’s economy and be ready for the future.
DOUG: Yeah, and one of the areas we’ll be discussing today is how the metaverse can possibly be applied to the HR area. What are some of the potential best uses you see of the metaverse for people in the workplace?
TINA: The metaverse presents a really interesting environment. It’s going to be the next phase of hybrid work likely. Some organizations are staying fully remote. Many organizations are coming back to the office full time now after Covid, and some are finding a way to make hybrid work. Right now, we’re utilizing the same tools we had during Covid to bring people together, have meetings, things like that. So, the metaverse presents maybe a unique opportunity to put folks who are spread out across the globe or coast to coast in one environment and engage, meet, brainstorm that way.
DOUG: Yeah. As some of our followers know, we put out a report on PR and the Metaverse 3.0 where we surveyed senior executives. Did anything stand out? Among the findings that you saw.
TINA: There were two things in that report that really stood out to me. The first one was just that we are headed towards a $1 trillion industry. So, I really find that fascinating. And then where will that funding come from? What industry is going to be the earliest adopter? The next fact that caught my eye was the B2B versus B2C usage right now and then predicted for the next 12 months. I was fascinated to see a kind of higher adoption within B2B versus B2C. So I really look forward to seeing what companies do to bring their constituents together.
DOUG: Yeah. And given your expertise, I think a part of the B2B portion was clearly internal communications because there are a lot of use cases for that, both for learning centers, for getting groups together, for presentations to large segments of the organization. You touched on a little bit before, how the HR industry is looking into it. What are some of the ways that you think even with the metaverse, without that you’re seeing with all these different types of work experiences, hybrid, etcetera, what are some of the best approaches that businesses should take?
TINA: It is a fantastic opportunity for them to showcase who they are as a company, to put their employer brand out there. They could be using the metaverse in recruiting opportunities. They could then shift their focus to retention strategies and bring employees across a myriad of different offices or departments together for a training, for L&D, to engulf people again in that brand, that experience that a lot of their other technologies, even like Zoom calls, don’t really embrace at this moment.
DOUG: Yeah, it was interesting that we found because we sent this survey out to a large group of PR professionals, but overwhelmingly it was more than 90%. It was the senior PR executives that were responding, both at brands, nonprofits, and agencies. So, from an employee perspective, it might be a bit different because it seems to be grasped onto more by senior leadership. As an employee at an organization, what should they be thinking about how their work experience might be affected?
TINA: I Think employees as much as the employers need to be willing to test and innovate as these new technologies come online, as they become available, let’s figure out together how we can utilize the tech, because the technology is only as great as how we’re going to use it to bring people together. So, I think employees need to be willing to embrace it, but then also give feedback to their employer, to their HR departments or their learning teams to say, this really worked for me, or it didn’t and here’s how I think it can improve. That’s how we’ll get the tech to work for us better.
DOUG: Now that makes tremendous amount of sense. Now, you had a chance before this interview to take a tour of our Metaverse 3.0 environment where there are things in there that may sort of light go off or sort of like burn out. What based on what you saw in terms of possible use cases?
TINA: Loved how easy it felt to navigate. Candidly, I was expecting either a trickier or just a more complicated process to realize where I was as a human sitting at the desk versus where my avatar was in the system. But it really did feel flawless. As I moved the cursor around, we went into the different rooms. I saw how I could engage with those there, and so it felt very natural, like I wanted to actually have the video roll and start to network with people in the variety of rooms that you had produced. As a marketer, I saw great potential for signage, for the ability for logos and storytelling, again, to kind of create that environment that we don’t get with the more static tech like a like a zoom call. So, I think those are the really the pros that saw in that metaverse that you previewed.
DOUG: Yeah, I could see it for a lot of applications like introducing a new health care program, options to employees, where you could have presentations go in a different breakout room even if one on one kinds of opportunities. Any future trends, whether metaverse or not, given you know all that your organization does and I found it so interesting that when your organization was weighing return to work, you were realizing a lot of companies, employees had no choice but to return to work. And if you weren’t engaging in that direction with a hybrid, sometimes you’re in, sometimes you’re not, you might be losing touch. Given that you have so much sort of touch and awareness of what’s going on, what do you see as trends keeping employees both happy and maximally productive?
TINA: You know, C-suite business owners, leaders are still really at that decision of what will be the future. We had to do certain things, and now we’re at this ability to pause and make the best decision moving forward. And so that’s where you’re seeing a lot of companies across all different types of industries and sectors re-evaluate what makes sense for their business type, not only where people will physically be sitting, but how are they going to embrace culture and tech. And that I think is really exciting for both employers and employees to redefine what they want for right now and what they see for that short term and long-term future. I think we’ll see more companies focus on the short-term future because it is definable. We know where we want to be going and so we can make proactive decisions to create the best company culture for us at that moment. And it’s going to be different for every company. And that’s why it’s great. And that’s why companies can embrace tech at different scales because it means something for them, their employees and their bottom line.
DOUG: Tina, this has really been great insights and information. Any final thought you’d like to add?
TINA: I just appreciate you guys really bringing to the forefront that conversation of the metaverse, of how it can be used in the marketing and communication space, but how it can also be used for employer branding and for HR professionals to look at that same consumer tech and see how they can use it.
TINA: Awesome. Thanks again for your thoughts and great ideas. It’s been a pleasure.
TINA: Yeah, thanks for having me. Have a great day.