MGM lets potential employees try out jobs in VR before signing on

It's hoping to reduce attrition.


MGM Resorts is letting applicants try out casino and hotel jobs in virtual reality (VR) before signing on, Business Insider has reported. It's part of a new effort to reduce employee attrition during the "great resignation" that has caused labor shortages in the US and elsewhere during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The casino and resort group is using headsets from a VR company called Strivr that specializes in virtual training for industry health and safety, customer service and more. The idea is to let employees experience typical job activities so that they know what to expect. "It can be very difficult just to verbally explain the types of positions or show a video," MGM Resorts' chief HR officer Laura Lee told BI. Using VR, by contrast, lets applicants "throw a headset on and really experience the job."

MGM plans to use the headsets at its offices and possibly career fairs, starting in January. The idea is to let potential customer service employees experience key aspects of the job, both positive and negative. For instance, the MGM Resorts VR module would include interactions with difficult guests, something that has reportedly become more common with COVID.

The negative interactions could discourage some candidates, but MGM expects that it would also allow for better hiring decisions. The use of the tech "might've resolved some turnover we experienced when people accepted positions and then realized it wasn't quite what they thought it would be," said Lee.

MGM plans to use the tech for its proposed $9.1 billion hotel, resort and casino in Osaka, Japan. It would be the first casino in the nation, so potential employees may not be familiar with typical jobs. As such, the VR option could be offered to candidates (it won't be required) to show them customer-oriented functions like hotel check-ins and gaming operations.

VR might not be the hit everyone expected in the consumer space, but it's certainly caught on with enterprises, particularly for training. MGM also uses Strivr's tech for customer-interaction training with new employees, saying it allows them to fail without consequences while learning a role. "Virtual Reality gives employees the opportunity to think and correct themselves without getting stressed or worried that they did something wrong," Lee said in a Strivr webinar.