The Metaverse: The next frontier of human and work experience (II)

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Claudia Sofianu, Partner, People Advisory Services, EY Romania

By Claudia Sofianu
And if we go further, we could talk about the metaverse creation, sale, and purchase of digital properties and assets (such as NFTs, etc.), which will further translate into other categories of income at the individual level – income from the sale of virtual properties, from their rental, and others. So, we will have a parallel of the physical world, which we should think about intensively and seriously, in order to start preparations for its regulation now.
How will the metaverse reframe human-centered experiences?
Putting human interests at the core is an increasingly differentiating characteristic for enterprises today. In the metaverse, this will take on an entirely new meaning as individual personas will manifest and want to teleport across the virtual immersive landscape. Successful experiences in the metaverse will hinge on understanding and adapting to emerging customer behaviors and expectations. Moreover, as customers journey through the metaverse traversing many ecosystems, trust will become even more integral.
As the metaverse emerges in the future as the main technology interface, we also need to ask ourselves about the impact on potential technology addiction and mental health. Concerns already exist across these same topics for the current generation of social media technologies and the metaverse will make that experience even more engaging and potentially more dangerous.
So, in this context, how will this change the way brands design and implement the customer journey? What will it take to deliver truly trusted experiences? And how will customer engagement and loyalty be redefined?
According to a recent study by Gartner Inc. 25% of us will spend at least an hour a day in the metaverse by 2026 to work, shop, learn, or socialize. As a result (given the recent major investments by some well-known tech companies in developing the “corporate metaverse”), it becomes natural to wonder how this technology will influence the way we work.
Like any other disruptive technology, the metaverse can contribute significantly to improving what we already call the “digital employee experience”. From a practical point of view, we could already be thinking of using metaverse in recruitment, onboarding, and induction processes, making it easier for candidates to experience the reality of the organization before joining it. Metaverse can also be used in the delivery of training and development programs, giving employees the opportunity to experience real-life situations or apply what they learn in real-time. Last but not least, metaverse can become a tool to accompany hybrid or fully remote working models, ensuring collaboration between employees in different locations through a closer to face-to-face interaction compared to traditional methods.
At the same time, it is important to be aware of the practical implications of a potential implementation of metaverse technology in an organizational environment as a whole. Firstly, access to metaverse requires the purchase of special devices for the user, and therefore additional costs for the organization. It is also important to take into account the other existing HR technologies within the organization and their (still) fragmented/non-integrated nature (according to a global study by Applaud, an HR technology development and implementation company, the vast majority of companies use on average, 15 different systems to deliver HR processes). Thus, integrating these systems with next-generation technology can also result in major investments for the organization.
Finally, it is important to aim to use technology as an enabler of interpersonal relationships, not as a replacement for them, especially after a period when most employees have come to be affected by the overuse of technology in their daily work (e.g., “zoom fatigue”). Thus, it becomes essential to balance the obvious advantages with the risks that the use of any virtual reality-based technology basically brings: limitation of human interaction, dependency, the demarcation between virtual and real life, safety and security, etc.

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