We’ve all heard the saying “practice makes perfect,” but perfection isn’t really the goal in learning and development, is it? An engaging process and steady progress are the most important components of any learning and development program. Practice ensures the learning process becomes ingrained in employees like muscle memory, prepares employees for real-life scenarios, and allows progress throughout the employee life cycle.
Employees are looking for technology-driven training solutions that allow for a more engaging, rewarding, and flexible learning experience. Successful companies meet employees where they are by giving them tools to learn and practice on their own schedule, in formats that enable active learning and support better retention. It’s also essential to embrace technical advancements like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI) to create a future-ready workforce.
At Bank of America, innovative technology and digital solutions drive success across the company. Investing in emerging technology can be daunting, but the long-term benefits outweigh the challenges of implementing a new program, and our organization is already seeing great results. In 2016, the Academy, Bank of America’s onboarding, education, and professional development organization dedicated to the growth and success of all teammates across the enterprise, began to explore new ways to leverage technology to optimize employees’ training and education.
VR is one of the many ways we use technology to increase skill development, support internal mobility, and ensure all teammates have access to the resources they need to grow and succeed. We experimented with VR training to equip managers and employees with the skills to have complex and nuanced conversations with their clients and each other. This cutting-edge strategy has been successful, with employees citing greater confidence and effectiveness in their jobs and greater retention of training material. We began piloting the program in 2019, and after seeing its success in driving employee engagement and knowledge retention, it became clear this was a program we wanted to extend to more employees. Last fall, Bank of America became the first financial services firm to launch VR training, going live in nearly 4,300 financial centers nationwide.
One of the most significant findings from using these tools is that while one-on-one coaching, computer-based training, and classroom training are valuable, VR training has shown promise for replicating real-life scenarios and giving our teammates meaningful practice and confidence. Post-pilot, 97 percent of the participants felt more comfortable performing their tasks after experiencing the simulations. Employees who feel more prepared and confident in their positions create a better overall experience for both our employees and our clients.
This program is the latest in Bank of America’s longstanding investment in the success of our people and dedication to providing a full range of professional development tools powered by industry-leading innovation. As we look forward, we are seeking ways to implement advanced technologies that offer solutions to benefit our teammates and our clients.
To learn more about Bank of America’s journey into VR, join me at the ATD 2022 International Conference & EXPO for the session, High Tech Learning: Transforming Workforce Development With Virtual Reality.