- Early October, Bank of America became the first major financial services firm to launch virtual reality training for its employees.
- 97% of those who have used VR felt more comfortable performing their tasks after going through the simulations.
- John Jordan, Head of The Academy at Bank of America, told Allwork.Space that VR simulations can help employees practice and strengthen important soft skills.
In early October, Bank of America became the first financial services firm to launch virtual reality (VR) training in all of its nearly 4,300 financial centers nationwide. This technology will allow nearly 50,000 employees to practice a range of routine to complex tasks and simulate client interactions in a virtual environment.
During a pilot of this program in 2019, 97% of the participants felt more comfortable performing their tasks after going through the simulations.
Every financial center in the Bank of America network will use VR headsets for training. Through a series of learning modules slated to roll out by the end of next year, financial center teammates will have the opportunity to use 20 different VR simulations and practice a wide range of skills.
Whether helping a client through a difficult moment or picking up on cues from a person who didn’t even realize they needed help understanding their accounts, the life-like simulations made possible by VR are highly effective at helping employees build and retain new skills and better connect with clients in real life.
Through real-time analytics embedded in VR technology, managers can also identify skill gaps and provide targeted follow-up coaching and personalized guidance to teammates to further improve performance.
The bank has also invested in AI-powered conversation simulators that enable enhanced role-playing opportunities, and platform simulators that allow teammates to train in a real-world practice environment on the systems, software and technical tools they use in their day-to-day jobs.
Allwork.Space spoke with John Jordan, Head of The Academy at Bank of America, to learn more about the program and the benefits of using VR to train and reskill employees.
Allwork.Space: Can you share details about the program and the challenges of implementing it?
John Jordan: Bank of America is the first financial services firm to launch virtual reality (VR) training in nearly 4,300 financial centers nationwide, making this the latest in our long-standing investment in the success of our people. Currently, we offer five training modules but are slated to roll out a total of 20 different VR simulations that will help our teammates practice a wide range of skills such as strengthening and deepening relationships with clients and listening and responding with empathy.
We began piloting the VR 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.
Our nationwide rollout began this month, and approximately 50,000 employees working in our financial centers and call centers will soon use VR headsets for training. We are constantly seeking ways to implement advanced technologies that offer better solutions for our teammates and our clients.
Allwork.Space: How much more efficient is VR training vs regular training models?
We know VR is a highly effective, immersive learning technology that helps teammates to be more engaged, better prepared and develop new skills more quickly. It’s an intuitive tool that allows teammates to practice client interactions on their own time and at their own speed in a realistic environment.
Associates can also receive real-time analytics to help identify skills gaps, giving employees the tools needed to engage in targeted follow-up coaching and provide personalized guidance to trainees that further improves performance.
VR has shown early promise for replicating real-life scenarios and giving our teammates meaningful practice and confidence. Following a successful pilot with 400 employees, 97% of the participants felt more comfortable performing their tasks after going through the simulations. By giving employees the tools to be more prepared and confident in their roles, we can create a better overall experience for both our employees and our clients.
Allwork.Space: Is VR training the future of training employees?
At Bank of America, we pride ourselves on being a great place to work, and that includes providing best-in-class learning programs and meaningful career growth opportunities. VR is one of the many ways we are using world-class technology to increase skill development, support internal mobility, and ensure all teammates have access to the resources they need to grow in their current roles and build new skills. VR has a long list of benefits, but there are many other learning formats and advanced technologies that can be useful for training, depending on the need.
We are highly focused on providing experiential learning opportunities because we believe in the power of hands-on, interactive, and two-way learning. Through emerging technologies like VR, we’re able to simulate real-life scenarios and give our employees both the tools and skills they need to succeed.