Walmart is using virtual reality (VR) headsets to carry out skills tests and determine if their staff are ready to be promoted to middle-management roles.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the US’ retail giant is utilising VR technology to see how staff who have requested a promotion respond to various challenges in virtual scenarios.
Its VR programme presents its employees with challenges like angry shoppers, messy isles and underperforming colleagues, enabling hiring managers to gauge worker’s strengths, weaknesses and ultimate eligibility for a management role.
“What we’re trying to do is understand the capacity of the individual from a leadership perspective and how they view situations,” Walmart’s senior vice president of associate experience Drew Holler said.
He said that the assessment will produce a colour-coded report for hiring managers, laying out the candidates ability in various areas such as leadership skills or product knowledge, adding that Walmart hopes the scheme will limit bias, increase diversity and reduce turnover among its giant 1.5 million workforce.
Walmart uses an algorithm developed by California-based tech company Strivr to rate candidates performance, using data collated from real-life hiring managers’ evaluation of hundreds of employee’s VR assessments.
By determining which traits high performers have, the algorithm then recognises these and produces its own assessment. Strivr says that it soon plans to integrate the employee’s body movement into the data, giving a more accurate and compete picture of their performance and soft skills.
This skills test has already been taken by over 10,000 retail employees as part of the retailer’s new store management structure.