Talespin develops VR tool to help employees avoid firing pitfalls

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Los Angeles-based extended reality (XR) developer Talespin has launched a virtual reality (VR) soft skills training tool for employee learning and development, placing them in difficult situations such as terminations so that they can avoid common pitfalls.

Talespin’s new tool presents trainees with a safe, repeatable learning environment to practice interpersonal and leadership skills such as communication, negotiating and conflict resolution.

When using the tool, trainees interact with a virtual human, or character, that uses speech recognition, artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing and narrative branching to realistically simulate a conversation.

The virtual character’s delivery of realistic speech, body language and mannerisms creates emotional realism in the simulations, a vital component to practicing communication that’s typically missing in other training systems or role play, according to Talespin.

Talespin develops VR tool to help employees avoid firing pitfalls
Barry is an AI-powered virtual character that Talespin created to represent an employee slated for termination

To demonstrate the tool, Talespin created a demo putting the user in the shoes of a human resources manager tasked with terminating a fellow employee named Barry. The scenario captures the real stress and emotion typically associated with this situation and presents trainees with common wrongful termination pitfalls such as demonstrating bias.

The AI-enabled software provides real-time feedback so a trainee can gain virtual experience that feels real enough to create emotional muscle memory, and get real-time guidance on how to empathetically and effectively terminate an employee.

“Improved workplace communication and empathy are the most critical factors we’ve identified as we help organisations think about the future of work.”

Kyle Jackson, chief executive officer and co-founder of Talespin

“Improved workplace communication and empathy are the most critical factors we’ve identified as we help organisations think about the future of work,” said Kyle Jackson, chief executive officer and co-founder of Talespin.

“We’ve developed our virtual human technology to help people better prepare for a rapidly changing workplace dynamic and evolving technology by improving their interpersonal skills. With this platform, we’re empowering people to become better managers, colleagues, and communicators, and in turn, helping our customers unlock innovation and growth.”

The VR soft skills training tool is the latest component of Talespin’s platform of connected XR solutions, which offers enterprise customers VR software for job simulation, augmented reality tools to support distributed workforces in the field, and immersive business intelligence applications.

Talespin has multiple Fortune 100 customers currently using its solutions, and will be announcing them later in 2019.

Watch Talespin’s virtual human in action in the video below: