Thursday, 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Best Practices for Employees in Virtual Worlds
With companies issuing avatars to large groups of employees what are the best practices required to create a smooth operating environment for those individuals. What standard operating procedures should be implemented to create the best experience a company projects when sending employees into public virtual worlds?
- Bob Ketner, Creative Director, Studio SFO
- Adrienne Haik, Metaversatility, Inc.
Bob gave a pretty fast ramble on best practises, kind of hard to keep up with taking notes. Here's a few tidbits though:
Why is doing Business in a VW a good idea?
- Employees are already there
- It can solve problems
- I can't reach you
- too little time to come over
- info retrieval
- Gamers are doing it better
- Gamers focus on getting the job done (single action focus)
- Gamers are selforganising folk
- Your new (young) employees are aleardy gamers
- Are using PC's a lot more effectively
Work can be a drag. How many of you say "Hey I can't wait to get to work on monday", and how many say "I can't wait to play World of Warcraft tonight".
IBM is currently looking into World of Warcraft Guilds, as it takes Guildmasters a lot of experience and compentence to manage all these guildmembers. These Guildmasters are actually people that distill and manipulate digital info in an advanced way. So which skills are involved?
The Avatar as a Uniform
Metaversatility's Adrienna Haik gave an insight as to how serious business in a VW can get.
- It's important for employees to understand they are in a virtual workspace, and not a game.
-Let your people take it serious and avoid them flying around during discussions and stuff.
- Visible clues like chairs, desks and other office furniture may help.
- Set up different spaces for different forms of communication and interaction.
- Interaction guidelines, rules of engagement for the natives
- How do you react to weird encounters? Your clients my come in as Furry's. A client new to SL can go ballistic if he's shocked by some appearances.
- Take time for clients and new employees to acclimate. Take them shopping for instance.
-Respect the community. You're on their turf.
- Your avatarname is associated with your business.
- Like with email, use a personal and business avatar.
- Think about sexual harassment by avatars representing your brand
- Your employee is your best marketing instrument inworld. Have them take the brand serious and advocate it.
There were several things in here which I didn't agree on. Especially the private and professional avatar distinction. I've only got one avatar as the lines between work and play are blurring. We're in a global business now and shifting timezones lead to business encounters at many different hours. Nor do I see the leaders of the industry, like Ian Hughes (IBM), Jeff barr (Amazon) and Christian Renaud (Cisco) have different avatars.
When speaking to Jeff Barr on this after the session was done he came up with several good reasons. First of all, these are community leaders. They've got a very professional attitude towards second life and have to build relations on their reputation. Switching Identities makes you have to build multiple reputations. Another thing (which at least goes for Jeff himself) is that they've probably all had PR training and know what they can and can't say. A third reason why you may not consider switching avatars is by self-protection. For some people there might be tempting stuff in Second Life. If you want to stay away from that, it's a strong motivator if you've got a reputation to think off.
It might be different though for regular employees who come into a virtual world to do some work then go off again. They have a completely different precense than their community leaders.
Labels: amazon, avatar, cisco, employement, ibm, identity, second life, vwconference