06.10.2022 Human Ressources HR Communication Tech Trends

HR and new technologies – what you need to know about the Metaverse

Writer Sabrina Bonnet, People & Change director 
HR & metaverse KPMG

More than 96 % of companies expect to use Metaverse technologies in their businesses in the near future!

KPMG US & InnoLead – a research and events company focused on helping changemakers in large organizations – released a new report, “Shaping Your Strategy for Web3 and the Metaverse.”

The report highlights the importance of this emerging technology and the opportunities it can bring to companies worldwide.

It also gives valuable insights on how Global 1000 companies are identifying, testing, and deploying technologies such as NFTs, blockchain, and digitally immersive environments.

/Gartner expects that by 2026, 25% of people will spend at least one hour a day in the Metaverse for work, shopping, education, social media and/or entertainment/

It is expected that the Metaverse will provide persistent, decentralized, collaborative and interoperable opportunities and business models that will enable organizations to extend digital business.

But… what is the Metaverse? 

As an emerging concept, the Metaverse is full of unknowns, but what do we understand by the term “Metaverse”?

Like the internet, the Metaverse is not a product or a single technology.

It’s a gateway, a new way of interacting and a driver of transformation across economic and social spheres.

Discussions around the Metaverse suggest that it represents a real-time online network empowered by the integration of different technologies, including blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and interactive sensing technologies.

The Metaverse is an ecosystem created through interaction between the digital and physical worlds and is expected to have a profound impact on people’s livelihoods and work, business operations and the economic environment in general. 

It is physically persistent and provides enhanced immersive experiences. Activities that take place in isolated environments (buying digital land and constructing virtual homes, participating in a virtual social experience, etc.) will eventually take place in the Metaverse.

Many activities and HR processes can be done in the Metaverse such as participating in virtual social experiences, using virtual classrooms to experience immersive learning, interacting with digital humans for onboarding employees, customer service, sales, and other business interactions.

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The interconnected opportunities the Metaverse offers are staggering, with implications for transactions, business models, security and knowledge across markets and sectors. Gartner predicts the longer-term revenue potential of the Metaverse to be $30 trillion, nearly a third of the current global economy.

As the confluence of disruptive technologies starts to change how people work, learn and play on a global scale, there is also uncertainty and confusion. The sheer speed of change can make entry into the Metaverse seem overwhelming. However, KPMG believes that the Metaverse is the key to staying ahead, that’s why we have already started supporting early adopters in deploying Metaverse capabilities, incubating innovative offerings, and providing strategic and technical support across the Metaverse ecosystem.

KPMG: opening the door into the Metaverse

This year, KPMG is stepping into the Metaverse by opening its first collaboration hub between its U.S. and Canadian units.

The hub will allow the firm’s employees, clients, and communities to connect, engage and explore opportunities for growth across industries and sectors. “The metaverse is a market opportunity, a way to re-engage talent and a path to connect people across the globe through a new collaborative experience,” said Laura Newinski, Deputy Chair and Chief Operating Officer at KPMG in the U.S.

The collaboration hub is the next step in both firms’ journeys to lead their people and clients into Web 3.0.

Both firms have formed dedicated teams to help clients develop and execute their own Metaverse strategies. “The metaverse is a $13 trillion market opportunity that could boast as many as 5 billion users by 2030,” said Armughan Ahmad, President and Managing Partner of digital at KPMG in Canada.

Leveraging on other member firms’ capabilities, KPMG Luxembourg is able to explore opportunities with its clients. Being actively in contact with other KPMG entities, our People & Change team is already considering useing this technology to realize meetings, events, or other activities in an original way. We are thinking about how the Metaverse could be used to serve our business and our clients.

Concrete applications to HR

Like all new technologies, the Metaverse can serve many sectors and represents considerable opportunities for HR. Companies are already using it to modernize and dynamize their HR processes.

Metaverse for recruitment

As an example, this year, the French company “Carrefour” organized a recruitment session on a personalized company that is Metaverse-accessible via a simple web link. The main objective was to recruit IT profiles from several engineering French schools. Forty students were invited to register and participate in this recruitment session in the Metaverse.

Organizing a recruitment event in the Metaverse is similar to organizing a traditional event except that the location is in the “cloud” and the participants are represented by avatars. Several activities were proposed such as workshops, presentations, and interviews. For Carrefour, this first attempt to use the Metaverse was a success and the company is now thinking about using this remote collaboration technology all year long.

What about local first movers? In Luxembourg, companies such as CFL, Post or Orange Luxembourg have agreed to “follow” entrepreneur Matthieu Bracchetti, who has set up a Metaverse for beginners with his startup “Virtual Rangers” and “The dots” company.

Concretely, the companies have bought land in the Metaverse in order to install a “Dot”: a virtual dome they can customize to show their products, display images, videos and even have an avatar capable of answering questions. Those three big players in Luxembourg are thinking about using it also as a way to attract digital talents that the country is in dire need of.

Why use the Metaverse rather than video conference?

Since the pandemic, we have seen the emergence of telecommuting and the increase in the use of videoconferencing to communicate. Videoconferencing has shown its limits. Indeed, not all employees want to show themselves on camera, colleagues are clearly separated from each other, and videoconferencing can induce passivity. Companies are therefore looking for other solutions to address the shortcomings of video.

The Metaverse offers new possibilities to meet without the limitations of video. It favors the feeling of co-presence because, unlike video, users are all in the same room and can interact in a gamified environment where it is possible to move around, shake hands with colleagues, open doors, make presentations, etc.

Gamification is the application of game mechanics to a process, an application or a situation in order to reach specific objectives. It is important to keep in mind that gamification is primarily aimed at engaging people over time, essentially to involve and motivate, train, challenge, and reward, and even build loyalty.

To better understand, we can take the example of LinkedIn, which makes a good use of gamification and is in line with the context. The LinkedIn progress bar will allow a user to follow their progress and give a status of its certifications and training courses. Thus, this professional social network pushes the user to commit and acquire a higher status.

This can help employees to maintain a sense of belonging to the company by interacting with their team in a unique way. With the Metaverse, people go from spectator to actor as they can reproduce everyday gestures as in real life. The tool is particularly attractive to the younger generation who are used to engaging in a gamified environment.

Finally, for employees who are not comfortable showing their face every day to their colleagues when they are at home, the representation by an avatar also allows even the shyest to express themselves without effect of “theater scene”.

These examples allow us to see the strength of the tool, which offers many possibilities. For the moment, companies are using the Metaverse to conduct virtual seminars, hold multi-party conferences, set up virtual showrooms for customers, have a collaborative onboarding path, cooperate by manipulating objects and take advantage of remote team games to promote teambuilding.

Limiting factors

Despite its many advantages, the Metaverse still has limitations, the most important being that this new technology is still not mature, and much research is still underway to explore how to make the best use of it.

There is a clear limit of what enterprises will be able to do in terms of infrastructure needed to run heavy software and enjoy all of the options offered by the Metaverse. The head of Intel’s Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics Group predicts that a 1000x increase in computing capacity will be needed to support the Metaverse.

This also raises environmental questions. The production of computers, servers, hubs and broadband antennas causes a big amount of CO2 emissions. In addition, the energy consumption of terminals, data centers and networks will only increase with the development of the Metaverse.

We can also point out that implementing a new IT tool, no matter how complex and impactful, always involves change management. If the Metaverse is rapidly democratized, the challenges related to change management cannot be underestimated. HR functions need to be prepared to adapt and keep in mind that the future is knocking at the door.

This article was originally published on blog.kpmg.lu

Contributor: Adrien Barrandon, Management Consulting adviser 

Source: KPMG