One month after Zuckerberg’s October 2021 announcement, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unveiled his company’s vision of the Metaverse at their Ignite Fall Conference – on video, naturally.
Microsoft’s Metaverse will also be a place of creativity and fun, Nadella claims, but he focusses on the corporate potential of this digital world. “I can’t overstate how much of a breakthrough this is…It’s no longer just videoconferencing with colleagues, you can be with them in the same room.” These immersive capabilities will be built into Microsoft’s applications like Microsoft Teams. He announced a new layer to Teams called Mesh. “Mesh for Microsoft Teams will allow you to connect with presence and have a shared immersive experience directly in Teams.”
Nadella provides proof of concept by bringing in two executives from Accenture, the global consulting and technology firm prototyping Microsoft’s ventures in the Metaverse. Jason Warnke and Ellyn Shook’s avatars are very enthusiastic about how Microsoft’s digital advances can facilitate a traditional HR process like onboarding.
A Gamechanger for Onboarding
Shook explains that Accenture onboarding involves about 100,000 people a year. “Like many organizations, onboarding has been remote for the past 18 months, so bringing new hires into this immersive environment fosters immediate and deeper connections. It transcends physical boundaries and helps individuals experience a culture in a very personal way. Our new hires meet many more people and grow their professional network much faster.”
Warnke says that Accenture is implementing Mesh’s capabilities through Teams by installing it on all the company’s computers; they have also recently deployed 60,000 VR headsets throughout the network. “The integration with Microsoft 365 makes everything feel familiar. But on top of that, spatial audio makes everything sound just like it really would in person. I love seeing our colleagues collaborating and whiteboarding, and using this space for productivity.”
Back to Nadella, he “just loves seeing how Accenture has been able to re-create the human connection you feel around water cooler-type conversations and even the design and whiteboarding sessions you would typically have in person…. The Metaverse is not just transforming how we see the world, it’s changing how all of us are actively participating in it.”
Like Meta’s, it’s easy to look at the Microsoft video with a jaundiced eye. Its avatars are stiff cartoon-like creatures, missing the bottom halves of their bodies. But Nadella does offer an interesting vision of how technology can have a positive impact on two major trends of work: hybrid (post-pandemic, people want a say in when, where and how they work) and what LinkedIn’s Ryan Roslansky calls “the Great Reshuffle” (workers want to reconfigure the real meaning of their work and will search for the companies which can provide them with this meaning.) You can follow Nadella’s thoughts about the post-pandemic meaning of work in the links below.
What will be the implications for recruiting and search in the post-pandemic, at least partly Metaverse world we’ll be entering, ready or not?
Read our previous post on the Metaverse…
CNET Highlights, “Watch Microsoft’s Satya Nadella’s vision for the Metaverse (with Teams)”
Harvard Business Review, “Microsoft’s CEO on the Metaverse and Flexible Work”