As the world reaches the two-year mark of the COVID-19 global pandemic, we have seen an acceleration of change in the workplace. Many companies have, and are still adjusting to new ways of working. From conference calls to virtual reality, there are many online tools to support employees. Hyundai Card, a credit card issuer in Korea, is at the forefront of applying technology to keep employee morale up during the prolonged pandemic.
The company has been using online conference platforms long before the start of the pandemic. These were largely used to communicate with overseas offices and many partners located around the globe, the company meeting rooms are equipped with high-quality devices to provide seamless experiences enabling communication in real time.
On 3 January, the first working day of 2022, Ted Chung, vice chairman and CEO of Hyundai Card∙Hyundai Commercial greeted employees via Webex, an online video conferencing solution. During the session he mentioned that in 2022, Hyundai Card was seeking to become a more agile organisation to adjust to a constantly changing and unpredictable environment. Employees voiced they enjoyed having a chance to interact with top management and found the live session useful and encouraging.
At the end of 2021, the company held most of its year-end celebrations online. An extension of its ongoing online classes took place under a special holiday theme. The special classes included a Christmas dessert making class which many employees enjoyed with their children and a calligraphy class in which employees learnt to create beautiful handwritten cards. Additionally, two new events were held in a virtual reality metaverse.
Employees could choose to create avatars like their actual selves or create an alter-ego to portray them in the virtual world
Gino Kim, team leader of the corporate culture team commented: “Due to the current Omicron variant and stricter social distancing regulations, we currently have 50-70% of employees working from home. As a leading finance tech company, a majority of our employees are generation MZ and we have found that utilising new technology is well-received and effective. We wanted to plan a series of fun and enjoyable events that would encourage employees at the end of the year. We decided to use a metaverse platform to add more life to the events and have employees participate even as they were working from home.”
One of the metaverse events was an online singing competition based on the TV singing competition, The Masked Singer that allowed employees to show off their karaoke skills. Employees were asked to create avatars to represent themselves in a metaverse and were able to demonstrate creativity from head to toe. Employees could choose to create avatars like their actual selves or create an alter-ego to portray them in the virtual world. A total of 71 contestants applied and after two competitive rounds, five people were selected as finalists. The final competition was shared live through Hyundai Cards’ in-house broadcasting for all employees to enjoy. Employees who prefer to listen, were selected as a judging panel for the event. All contestants competed as avatars which hid their identities, allowing the judges to score without bias.
“I love to sing but get stage fright so the metaverse singing contest was perfect for me” said Minhyuk Choi, who took first place. “At first I wasn’t quite sure about a virtual reality competition, however, when it was my turn and my avatar walked on stage, it felt as if I was live on stage with all my colleagues watching. I could see and hear them cheering me on, I knew I had to perform my best.”
Eunseok Heo who participated as part of the judging panel said: “This was my first time with virtual reality and I really enjoyed creating an avatar in the metaverse and listening to all the contestants sing. They all did so well! The entire event was a fun game rather than a work event. I look forward to more events like this in the future.”
Another metaverse event was a group quiz. Each team was asked to designate a representative who would answer the questions in the metaverse on behalf of the team. Teams were allowed to discuss with each other via online communication tools, before coming up with a final answer. “We wanted to create different events for the employees to enjoy. Teamwork was key for the quiz, we wrote questions with the intention of having team members cooperate and work together to come up with the answers. The entire quiz event was designed to encourage teamwork and create a memorable year-end for employees” Kim added.
A total of 17 teams made it to the final and after many rounds each eliminating teams, the IT planning team came out on top. Quiz questions covered a range of topics included the company’s products and services, maths, music, culture and general knowledge sense. The prize for the quiz was a meal kit sent to all team members’ home addresses to enjoy an online team dinner.
Kim commented: “[W]e are constantly exploring different ways to engage with employees and found technology has been key. We found hurdles for implementing new technology are low and employees are able to quickly adapt and embrace technology. Furthermore, employees are able to utilise technology in their daily tasks and become more effective. Moving forward we will continue to find technology solutions which enhance the working environment and provide memorable experience for all employees.”