After the reality of COVID-19 set in, many employers accelerated virtual work capabilities enabling teams to work from anywhere. As employees became accustomed to their Zoom calls and home offices, employers began to think through their candidate, intern, and employee experiences, and how to recreate them in this new environment. Google searches for “virtual internship,” “virtual onboarding,” and “virtual career fair” saw a huge spike as HR and talent acquisition professionals quickly tried to educate themselves and develop strategies.
Here at exaqueo, our clients began asking questions and we saw an uptick in employer brand forums asking about virtual reality—so we reached out to Dan Griffiths, CEO of eevo, Inc., a company designed to help organizations create interactive experiences. Dan is an expert in the area of virtual reality (VR) and how it can change the ways companies show off their people, places, and products.
AN INTERVIEW WITH EEVO’S CEO
Shannon Smedstad (SS): Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Dan Griffiths (DG): Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, I’m a huge Yankees fan. I went to Boston College and followed that path into finance at J.P. Morgan. However, I’ve always loved taking ideas and turning them into something more, so I left and have been building eevo.com ever since. I’m also helping to launch a great non-profit called Wrapnow.org whose mission is to save the planet one art project at a time and reduce the global waste footprint.
SS: What is eevo and what problems do you help organizations solve?
DG: eevo’s main focus is on helping companies attract and engage the best talent by creating employer brand experiences using interactive 360 videos and virtual reality. We want candidates to get the most transparent and authentic look into a company before they accept a job. If we are able to do this correctly, then it will lead to better matches within the company and ultimately, reduce turnover.
SS: What inspired you to start the company?
DG: My brother Matt, who is our head of creative and content is the original “idea guy,” he wanted to bring virtual reality to everyone. The company focuses on more than just VR now, but we continue to push the medium forward and believe that it has an incredible amount of potential when applied correctly.
SS: Prior to COVID-19, how were companies using eevo for employer branding and talent attraction?
DG: There are a few different ways companies were using eevo before this to highlight their employer branding, but one of my favorites was when companies brought virtual reality headsets to campus recruiting events. The drastic increase in booth visitors and time spent with potential candidates was amazing to see. Not only did it lead to higher application rates, but it let the companies differentiate themselves. The candidates could always see the experiences later on through the company's careers website, in case they missed any of the content.
SS: Do you see work from home or work from anywhere as a "for-now" or a "forever" approach for organizations?
DG: I think the move to flexible work has been happening slowly and this accelerated it. The ability to work from home when you want is extremely important and companies who refuse to accept it are going to struggle to attract and retain talent. I don’t believe that companies are going to abandon their offices, but they may find ways to require less space, smaller offices, and more remote work. I do think there is an amazing opportunity for companies to attract talent, if they don’t require candidates to relocate to San Francisco or New York City, and can keep a strong culture.
SS: How can virtual reality (VR) technology help organizations as they plan their return to work strategies?
DG: One of the best ways for using VR headsets (which is different from web-based interactive experiences) is to give people access to locations that they are uneasy about traveling to. For example, one of our customers is using VR to train new hires on how to find tax breaks at oil rigs and businesses. This way they don’t have to send them to customer locations.
In terms of web and mobile experiences, there are a number of ways it can help, especially for allowing candidates to virtually visit the office, which helps keep the number of people in the office down.
SS: What role does VR play in the future of work? And how does that differ by industry (e.g. manufacturing vs. retail vs. corporate HQ setting)?
DG: VR’s effect on the future of work is the ability to give a real-world experience to people from the safety of their home or office, removing the fear of travel that will exist for some time, and embracing the reality of employees working from home, along with offices being distributed and global. Whatever industry it is, VR allows companies to give people insight into their operations, culture, and job exceptions without anyone having to interact with a human in-person.
While there are unique cases for each industry, the underlying benefit is the same. No matter where people are, companies can give them access to any location and situation through the safety of a headset, allowing important knowledge transfer and learning that can have massive impacts on time and savings.
SS: What are some great examples of organizations using eevo or other VR-technology? What are these organizations doing right?
DG: Rally Health is using these experiences to attract more candidates to their Minneapolis office through virtual tours. They are also going to be adding their DC office to include training for their interviewers and onboarding experience. Ryan LLC. is using it to onboard and train its employees across the globe. Merck uses it to give virtual tours of their historical sites, so employees can visit from the comfort of their homes and learn more about the company. Check out eevo.com/projects to see these.
SS: My final question, what's been a silver lining during this time of crisis for you?
DG: We like to foster dogs (we do it through Socialteesnyc.com) and we have had more time to do that. We are on our fourth one during this crisis, the first three are now all in loving forever homes!
Fine print: We’d like to thank Dan for his time and expertise! exaqueo and eevo do not have a partnership agreement, nor did we receive any incentive to write this post. The sole purpose is to shine a light on potential people and solutions that may help all organizations think through their return to work approach. This post is for information purposes only. All information about eevo was provided with permission by the organization.