VRE recently worked with the lovely team at Biggin Hill Airport /Alison Delaney (Little Bird People Development) to explore then implement some VR leadership training for their heads of department and senior managers.

Biggin Hill was perhaps best known as a key fighter base during its role in the Battle of Britain, but now is one of the three busiest private jet airports in Europe.

As part of a programme of development we were asked to design and deliver a leadership activity using VR to examine existing development areas and to help develop leaders across all the key departments at Biggin Hill.

Team Building VR Exploration Day

As part of the wider plan to use VR for leadership and team development we first ran a VR team building day for their teams. This served several purposes:

  • It allowed us to see how the teams were currently working and collaborating
  • How the leaders in the respective teams would lead their teams.
  • Made their first experience of VR a very fun and engaging experience instead of a perceived high pressure assessment
  • Familiarised everyone involved with how the vr headsets worked and the software we were using
  • Allowed their in-house training experts at Little Bird People Development to become familiar with the process and see the kind of behaviours drawn out by the activities.


The Logistics

Running VR team building and VR leadership training takes more people than you might think, we generally work on the ratio of 1 VR facilitator per 3 VR delegates, so for a group of 9 delegates there will be three of us on site (plus assessors if assessing in the room).

In addition, we also have our metaverse team, these team members work remotely and firstly welcome delegates into the VR space, check they can: move, have audio, pick things up.

Typically, if we are assessing remotely too in VR we will have a VR team lead to focus on running the activity for the group, but also one of our Cyber Psychologists who will be observing and recording behaviours. For a group of 15 we would typically split these into three groups of 5 so three VR team leads and three observers.

We then combine this data in a wash-up at the end with the unique combination of observations in the physical room but also observations from our assessors working in the VR space and seeing first hand their contributions to the VR tasks.
It’s important to build in regular breaks as for most people it will be their first experience of VR.


The VR Leadership Training

We often work with other internal trainers, partners, psychologists in delivery of our VR services and working with the excellent Alison Delaney at Little Bird People Development we were able to plan an interesting variation to our normal session design.

  • Groups of 5 assigned to each VR leadership training session
  • Five VR stages/simulations
  • Each 15 mins long
  • Each stage had a different nominated leader
  • Break and feedback/review after each 15 mins simulation

Feedback was therefore immediately after each stage, peers were able to then feedback and the group discuss their performance before going into the next stage.

So each team member took 30 mins, 15 mins for simulation and 15 mins for review, so 5 members took 2 and half hours.

This process worked extremely well, it allowed teams to learn from observing other leaders, their feedback and then the discussion review. These fast paced rounds of activity/feedback/review accelerated learning significantly and led to some excellent insights for all concerned.

An important part of this methodology is the disinhibition effect, using VR means individuals stop self-monitoring, become so engaged in the task and experience that they start to leak their true behavioural preferences. It is here where VR leadership training adds the most value.

We ran these sessions for three days putting their teams through their paces using an exciting space/sci fi style simulation with interesting and challenging tasks they will not have encountered before.

Feedback was excellent from all the teams who took part and without exception all were able to take part in the activities.


The Future of VR Leadership Training

Here at VRE we believe the future of VR leadership training is bright, this is because of the opportunities VR presents to collect incredibly useful behavioural data automatically and objectively.

Our own VR leadership training platform collects behavioural data on a key range of important workplace related behaviours, it helps:

  • Teams understand if they are a truly a team or simply a pseudo team/working group
  • Leaders to emerge regardless of their past experience, and tap into their potential
  • Identify complex dynamics in the group or schisms in the team
  • Test teams and what they do when circumstances change quickly (by the trainers)
  • Compare their behaviours to high performing teams to see where they need to improve

If you would like to know more about VR leadership training or even try out our new VR leadership training platform then get in touch and we will be pleased to arrange a demo.