Serviceplan's Überverse transforms the onboarding experience into an 'interactive, gamified journey of discovery'

Creating a forward-thinking workplace culture that fosters a sense of belonging and commitment

by India Fizer , AdForum

Serviceplan Group
Full Service
Munich, Germany
See Profile

Full Service
Munich, Germany
See Profile

Yves Bollinger
GM Plan.Net Studios

Plan.Net Studios are experimenting with a VR-based approach to employee onboarding with the Überverse, an onboarding VR experience developed for the Serviceplan Group. Überverse is a new and engaging way to introduce new employees from all over the world to the culture of the Serviceplan Group agency. Yves Bollinger, GM at Plan.Net Studios, speaks to us about this exciting new onboarding experience.


Utilizing a VR experience to onboard new employees is a unique and innovative way to get newcomers engaged. Can you tell us a little bit about how this idea came to fruition? 

We found that traditional onboarding methods often reach their limits when it comes to effectively introducing new employees to a company's culture, values and community. Therefore, we wanted to improve that first encounter with the company to create an experience that would foster relationships, build enthusiasm and effectively convey the company’s values and vision to make new employees part of the community.

Overall, in an age of talent shortages, companies are investing large sums of money to attract employees by strengthening their employer brand. Employer branding campaigns address the GenZ workplace needs: technologically advanced, flexible, value-driven, supportive of their growth and wellbeing, a dynamic and inclusive environment.

But what happens afterwards? Shortly after starting, the attrition rate is high: 30% of all employees quit during the probationary period. As a result, companies not only lose key employees. The ROI of expensive recruiting campaigns drops significantly. The most compelling argument for staying with a new employer is the people who work there. We created a dynamic, audio-driven environment that ensures a seamless and inspiring immersion into the Serviceplan community. It was paramount to address the needs of new employees and walk the talk with a first impression that sticks.

Serviceplan's corporate identity was translated into a three-dimensional world with a unique architecture that brings the group's culture to life. The result is an immersive experience that transforms traditional onboarding elements into an interactive, gamified journey of discovery. Content that would otherwise be lost in PowerPoint presentations and Teams calls was transformed into engaging virtual spaces that invite exploration. In small groups and guided by a colleague from the HR department, new employees experience a playful journey through the company's history and culture, learning about its core values in an interactive way. Individual avatar design reflects the brand architecture and expresses each employee's personality in the virtual space.


What unique benefits does this method offer compared to traditional methods?

Onboarding often is a passive experience, with employees merely receiving information. The Überverse however invites active participation, turning the learning process into an interactive journey that captivates and educates simultaneously. 

It takes abstract concepts like brand values, company missions and structures and turns them into emotional experiences, helping employees feel connected to the company through captivating narratives. Instead of overwhelming new hires with information, the Überverse presents content in digestible, entertaining segments, resulting in clear and focused engagement. By making the first day an unforgettable adventure and immersing new hires in the company culture from the outset, the Überverse fosters a sense of belonging and commitment, which enhances retention and creates a forward-thinking workplace culture.


Are the VR onboarding experiences tailored to different roles and departments within the organization? If so, how does this customization contribute to the overall success of the program?

The experience is tailored to the needs of new employees, being the very first touchpoint they have within the company. The focus is clearly on conveying the sense of belonging and to give a very different and engaging introduction to the company culture. At the moment, more specific introductions to roles, departments and processes are conducted later in the onboarding journey.

By focusing initially on conveying a strong sense of inclusion and cultural immersion, the program ensures that all new hires start on a common ground, which strengthens their connection to the organization. The platform does have the potential for future iterations to include customized experiences tailored to individual preferences and specific topics. This flexibility would allow for highly personalized onboarding. However, this was not the goal of this iteration of the platform.


In the next few years, how will you measure the success of the program? Do you see the program expanding with new experiences to energize and engage new joiners?

The approach marks a departure from traditional methods of explaining corporate culture through presentations or documents. Instead, it immerses new employees in the essence of the Group's DNA from the outset. The program's success will be measured through various metrics such as employee engagement scores and feedback from new joiners. Additionally, we will closely monitor how effectively the program aligns with our organizational goals and values. 

It is also the starting point for more immersive B2E experiences to come, such as candidate interviews in virtual space or the experience of minting the employer token that can be used for corporate retention and alumni engagement. We envision enhancing the virtual experience with interactive simulations, examples of work, personalized learning paths and gamified elements that foster team collaboration.