Bank Of America Turns To VR For Soft Skills Training

VR training designed to help Bank of America employees better understand the diverse needs of their customers.

One of the largest financial institutions in the nation, Bank of America, has announced that it will soon begin using VR for soft skill training in almost 4,300 financial centers across North America. Roughly 50,000 employees will use VR to practice a number of tasks, bothroutine and complex, as well engage in various client interactions employees are likely to encounter on a daily basis.

Created by The Academy—Bank of America’s award-winning onboarding, training, and development organization—the program is part of the company’s commitment to providing the most cutting-edge professional development tools to their employees to ensure they are successful in their roles. 

VR training will roll out by the end of next year. Employees will access to 20 different VR simulations that will them how to strengthen and deepen relationships with clients, navigate conversations, and listen and respond to empathy.

Image Credit: Bank of America

In a Newsroom post on the Bank of America website, John Jordan, Head of The Academy at Bank of America said, “At Bank of America, our commitment to being a great place to work for our teammates fuels our focus on innovation,” adding, “VR is highly effective at helping teammates build and retain new skills and it is one of many ways we are using technology to support internal mobility and provide best-in-class learning opportunities.”

Through the power of VR, Bank of America learning leaders will have access to real-time analytics collected as part of the VR training. Branch managers will be able to identify skill gaps and then provide personalized feedback to an employee and their teammates, improving their individual performance and collaborative skills.

The company launched a successful pilot program with 400 employees using the Oculus Go. According to the report, 97% of the participants left feeling more confident in their abilities.

“Innovation is at the heart of everything we do,” said Hari Gopalkrishnan, Head of Retail, Preferred, Small Business, and Wealth Management Technology at Bank of America. “We are focused on creating and implementing technologies that offer advanced solutions. With VR, we’re rolling out a proven learning tool that will empower teammates with the skills they need to better serve clients and help make financial lives better.”

In a 2019 article published by the Academy of International Extended Reality (AIXR), research showed that success in your job and your ability to grow in that role was based on 15% hard skills and 85% soft skills. Additionally, the research also showed that 80% of individuals who were terminated or failed in performing their duties were removed due to their lack of soft skill training. 

Image Credit: Bank of America

Despite the aforementioned research, some companies are still hesitant to adopt immersive learning within their LMS. They need to see the ROI (return on investment). In the same AIXR report, Katya London, an Associate VR Training Management Leader said, “Corporate environments are tied to old traditions, so there needs to be strong evidence in retention, engagement, and their ROI.” London continues, “If they can see direct tangible evidence showing that there is an ROI, then they are more willing to consider making the investment.”

Not only will The Academy introduce VR training as part of their employee development program, it’s also planning on using AI-powered conversation simulators to help further employee skills through artificial role-playing opportunities.

For Bank of America, it’s obvious the company is committed to leveraging VR training and other new technologies to improve employee performance, which in turn means a better banking experience altogether for you, the customer. Considering that the powers that be at Bank of America are all pretty good at crunching numbers (I would hope so!), I’m gonna assume they see that important ROI.

To learn more, you can check out the Newsroom post on the Bank of America website here.

Feature Image Credit: Bank of America

About the Scout

Bobby Carlton

Hello, my name is Bobby Carlton. When I'm not exploring the world of immersive technology, I'm writing rock songs about lost love. I'd also like to mention that I can do 25 push-ups in a row.

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