Storytelling About RemoteBridge With Alex Sheshunoff
Imagine a world where your employees can engage with each other in a virtual 3D environment – without the need for goggles. That’s exactly what Alex Sheshunoff, CEO and co-founder of RemoteBridge, has created. He wants to revolutionize the way medium to large companies build and retain remote teams using immersive 3D technology. Rivaling solutions like Slack and Zoom, RemoteBridge is transforming employee engagement and productivity and providing an inclusive joyful experience for employees.
Join us as we discuss with Alex the incredible benefits of RemoteBridge! From revolutionizing onboarding experiences to aiding in recruitment for companies like Amazon AWS, the benefits are plentiful. Learn how RemoteBridge’s virtual career fairs, analytics, and translation tools are helping large companies attract top talent and improve their brand perception, particularly for early to mid-career technical and sales/marketing positions. Don’t miss out on this engaging conversation that will leave you eager to explore the world of RemoteBridge and its potential to enhance your company’s remote work experience.
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Show length: 21 minutes
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Co-Founder of RemoteBridge.com, Virtual Recruiting, Onboarding, and Team Building in Immersive 3DFollow
Storytelling About RemoteBridge With Alex Sheshunoff
William Tincup: [00:00:00] This is William Tincup and you’re listening to the Use Case podcast. I have Alex on today from Remote Bridge and we’re gonna be learning all about Remote Bridge and it’s gonna be fun and and I can’t wait to actually learn. Alex, would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself and
Alex Sheshunoff: Remote Bridge? Of course. First William, thanks for having me. Sure. Yeah, my name’s Alex Sheshunoff and I’m the CEO and co-founder of Remote Bridge. We. Help medium to large companies to build and retain remote teams using immersive 3d. So like avatars running [00:01:00] around a virtual world, but without the goggles or or downloads.
William Tincup: So in, I hate software categories, Alex, so I’ll just admit my bias here. But a lot of HR and recruiting budgets are built in Excel or Google Sheets, whatever. So where do y’all fall? Like where do you, where you see your customers kinda pulling budget from to help fund what the work that they’re doing with you?
Alex Sheshunoff: Yeah. Fundamentally we are an employee engagement platform. Okay. So it, it falls into other sort of workplace productivity tools like Slack and Zoom and everything else. So it’s, it’s a way of connecting people who are otherwise feeling disconnected.
William Tincup: Have have people thrown employee experience as well.
Cuz in there I’m just kicking engagement. So many people were, especially last year so many people were talking about ex Do they throw you there as well?
Alex Sheshunoff: Yeah they do. And we’re okay with that. Yeah.
William Tincup: All right, let’s talk about the, your initial thesis when you started the company [00:02:00] you wanted to solve x.
And then let’s talk about go through some of the features of the solution itself and talk a little bit about it. Yeah,
Alex Sheshunoff: for sure. The thesis and it’s proving true, is that, we started during the pandemic and people were suddenly cast a drift from one another and trying to figure out how to remain.
Connected and cohesive as a team and have everybody on the same page when it comes to like mission, culture, and values, those kind of things. And we we sensed early that, that Zoom wallet and video conferencing wallet has a role. Pretty soon, zoom fatigue was setting in and people were turning off their cameras.
And they were multitasking. And at the time I was working for a, another company and we were doing a thousand live webinar trainings a year in hr. And we were looking for different ways to to engage our customers. And and so we started thinking about [00:03:00] VR and AR and immersive 3d and and then we ended up landing on.
Immersive 3d, which is really just, again, just like avatars and, but there’s no goggles. There’s a lot of resistance and issues with goggles and cost. Yeah. Yeah, that’s right. And, a third of wares get nauseous or seasick and, it will get better over time.
But but for non-gamers it’s a pretty steep curve and it’s also, it’s a download, it’s an application date to download and that creates a lot of security issues. And so we decided to make a an immersive environment that was browser based that you could just click on a link to access.
And the audio works the same way as, as as we’re talking here and or as people talk in video conference. But but we’re Fink. But anyway so it grew out of, it grew out of the pandemic in effect. And and a lot of people have shifted. Structurally to remote work and are gonna stay that way.
And yet how do you engage employees and keep them retained and loyal [00:04:00] when they’re just, when they’re zooming into one company, they can zoom into another company. So that’s where we fit in. I wanted to
William Tincup: you, because first of all, I love the, the thing that, that I’ve seen with ar and VR and headsets in particular is it’s not as inclusive.
Like it’s the socioeconomics, right? So some of it’s like the headgear is expensive. Okay? So you got that and you gotta buy another thing and learn a new techno, okay? All that stuff. But also it’s just socioeconomically, it’s just like you’re just gonna, you’re gonna cut off a third of the universe that they just can’t ever.
If they don’t have the bandwidth, literally the bandwidth or they can’t buy the applications. But I, so I like this approach. And I wanted to ask you about training and onboarding in particular. So we jumped right into employee engagement experience, but I can see applicability to a lot of other things that HR goes through.
Alex Sheshunoff: I appreciate that, Wayne. Yeah I totally agree on everything you’re saying. And, just to go back to the goggles, just for just one moment, we work with 19 of the Fortune 100 are [00:05:00] paying clients and they’re like, they’re big tech forward companies like Intel and Microsoft and Google and you think okay, if you work for Intel, you are, you are very tech.
Savvy, but like we’re working with like the accounting department or the, like the graphic design department, they have 30 people doing graphic design for their annual report or work with the patent department. So they’re not all coders and Right. For somebody, for Diane and accounting, like just being in an avatar form and using arrow keys to move around.
That’s, that is super cool and fun and engaging. But the goggles would just be it would be. Would be a, there’d be a lot of friction. And and getting her engaged. And she’s she’s happy just being an avatar for the gamers, by the way. The gamers are like, where are the zombies? I’m wanna blow stuff up.
And no, no need zombies and there’s nothing to blow up. But but so people, so far, like it’s. Such joy to to, you know what otherwise might be a fairly mundane day. I just wanna it’s okay if I just play a quick audio clip [00:06:00] just to Oh yeah. So people can get a sense of what of what the sort of experience is like.
I know we’re on audio only, but this is this is some audio that we just captured from an event recently. It was actually an Intel event, and there’s let’s, these two people are watching their boss dancing in Avatar forum, and this is what they what it sounds like. It’s just like 12 seconds.
Oh, sorry, one second. Oh, I didn’t hit the share button. One second, please. Bear with me. Okay, now you’ll hear it. 3, 2, 1. Oh my god. Dying,
William Tincup: which is what you’d hear like real life, if you’re at the office or you had a party or something like that. There was some type of bonding experience. That would be normal,
Alex Sheshunoff: right? Yeah. E, exactly. Exactly. So in I think Zoom and video conferencing has a way of getting everybody. It’s very efficient and it’s very agenda driven.
But it’s not so good for the sort [00:07:00] of like structured serendipity that you need to create. Cohesive teams, and so that’s where we have a role to play. The other thing that happens in Zoom is that if you get more than five people in a Zoom meeting, there’s one person who’s usually like a guy who’s talking a lot and everybody’s responding to him.
And it’s a sort of hub and spoke thing. And it’s not so conversational and. So you need to get people off script again. And people are turning off their, turning off a camera and they’re checking their emails and they’re multitasking. But when you are in avatar form and you’re dancing and doing back flips and doing collaborative problem solving, you are engaged and you are present.
And and so we’re of course very excited about it. But can I just go back to your question about onboarding? Yeah. Yeah. So onboarding we’re really excited about, we We were approached by let me back up. We were working with a company called Veritas outta Silicon Valley of 7,000 employees.
And we were helping them with their onboarding and our our, and they loved it and they kept coming back and we were doing training and sort of avatar based [00:08:00] training and like engagement during the first 90 days. So this is not. This is not compliance and filling out forms, but this is actually like that initial cultural immersion with the company and it was going well.
And then our primary contact was poached by Amazon aws. To help improve their onboarding. Right now they’re, or when they came to us, their onboarding in involved, like watching 26 videos at home alone and then taking a quiz based on those videos, right? So their scores were were, weren’t great.
Amazon of course measures everything. So they came to us and they said, can you improve this process? And. Over a series of months and trials, we have really dialed it in so much better for them. And now they’re doing some of their onboarding for AWS on the sales side in our platform.
And the results are terrific. Like 85% of people said they would’ve been more excited to be part of the Amazon team if they had come if they’d done their initial onboarding on our platform. Information retention is up by [00:09:00] 75%. And so now they’re talking about rolling it out organization-wide, which is of course exciting.
But I, I think a lot of companies are facing that, that same kind of problem, which is how do you engage people in the first 90 days? You agree with that, Wayne?
William Tincup: hundred percent. I think I’ve. I thought this for a while. I think in the onboarding experience, the way that probably you and I went through it with a binder or a day or you’re in a conference room, it just like sterile and kind of event.
They come out of recruiting. I. We, where we’ve romanced them and listened to ’em and talked to ’em and, there’s all this wonderful engagement and and all of a sudden we drop ’em off in board in onboarding and it’s just really sterile. And so I, I think a fixing that part and kind of con continuing the, Hey, this is a great company.
You made the right decision. This is a great company. You’re gonna have fun. The work’s gonna be the work. Team’s gonna be the team, et cetera, but pulling that excitement through, and I think it goes on much longer than 90 days, [00:10:00] like I think we’re to a certain degree. Where does the line of onboarding and engagement stop?
Like what? I think it’s blurred. And that’s okay actually in my. In my opinion that you’re never not onboarding. Like you company just brought brand new software. You’ve been there 20 years. You’ve gotta engage them and, train them and onboard ’em into a new system.
So it’s I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s the fuzziness of onboarding, like where, cuz there used to be real clear lines of demarcation. Like it was 90 days or the, oh, a week or something like that. It’s okay, you’ve been onboarded, now you’re go with your manager and good luck. God’s speed a little.
But I think it’s, I think it’s blurry now, especially with remote work. What do you think?
Alex Sheshunoff: Yeah. I agree. We, one of our clients said something like if you don’t get onboarding you end up with disengaged employees who leave or disengaged employees who stay. But either way
William Tincup: it’s, oh wow, that’s really good.
That isri I’m gonna use [00:11:00] that cuz that is really good because again, you, that’s something you can control. Like you, it’s an experience, right? Like any experience, you can control this. You can, there’s a symphony, you can manufacture it, you can control it. And if you don’t, this is the result.
Alex Sheshunoff: right? And before the sort of onset of. Remote work at scale. Like we’re seeing now, you people were a little more trapped depending on where they live. And now they can work globally in effect for any company. And so you gotta keep you gotta keep these folk your team engaged and excited to be part of the team.
You, as you say, like through throughout the employ the entire employee sort of life cycle, right?
William Tincup: And and training So like I could see this experience and what you’ve built with Remote Bridge doing or helping people. Train like like I could see okay, cuz it’s kind, it’s fun, it’s visual, it’s a different way of thinking about it.
And, we’re constantly thinking about skills and skills development.[00:12:00] So how can you know the applicability, how can we use remote bridge to actually help people learn something new and interact with each other in kind of a learning and development, training and development type way.
Alex Sheshunoff: For sure. We work with a Harvard professor who is he’s in the Department of Education and focuses on e-learning, uhhuh and and he’s helping us guide the sort of, how we structure the content, and, in general, what we have found is that you, you have to use sort of movement in the 3D environment because if your avatar’s not moving if you’re not taking advantage of the medium, like in some ways you might as well be in Zoom if you’re just getting, where you can see facial expressions and right.
So it, but in a movement context. And then it’s really good for we have these, this feature where you can turn on these private sound spaces and this courtyard and around these tables, and so people can wander in between, from table to table. That’s very difficult to do in a video conference situation.
You can go to a breakout room, but suddenly the screen goes black and you can’t see who’s in. Who’s in which room. And so for for role playing, [00:13:00] it’s it’s especially effective. And, the other use case that we are working in, in, in partnership with another company is is to recreate a sort of a retail environment where it’s like a big box retailer.
And because as like the store layouts are pretty consistent from store to store, there’s some variation, but we can recreate that environment and, and there’s huge turnover in that industry. And so grocery, I know the numbers on, it’s something like, 50 50% of employees turn over every 90 days.
Wow. It’s crazy. And the number one reason they cite for leaving the job is they felt like they were not given the tools to do their job well. Which is like a very narrow end to me. It’s like surprising reason. So we can, using sort of Immersives 3d, we can make the initial training more engaging.
We can help them retain it better and make it more consistent. Because right now, a lot of times the training is done by whoever the manager on duty happens to be. And if they’re right. Having a good day or a bad day, or if they have time, they don’t have time and [00:14:00] it’s very inconsistent. And we can re, we can say, we can also do like product location training. So you like keep going through until you get all the product locations right. We can do simulations where there’s like a shoplift or an aisle three and a spill, an aisle four, and you gotta triage it. Oh, I love that. I think there’s some really, yeah, some for sure, some really interesting applications.
And again, they’re not goggle based. I know Walmart and some others are going, towards goggles. But it’s hard to scale in for a lot of. Dis distributed workforces and right.
William Tincup: Retail. It’s, that scenario that you do mentioned with retail, it’s, again, employee comes in, there’s fires somewhere, something’s not being done, and they don’t get the training or the attention or the engagement that they needed.
They’re just thrown into something. I think role playing like you, you mentioned. Is so important in those environments. But also, I was thinking about it when you first said roleplay. I’m like, this would be so great in a sales environment to go over objection response stuff. Be being able to actually, [00:15:00] you’re the prospect, I’m the salesperson.
Okay, go and then flipping that around and letting everyone else be a part of that. I think that would be just a fantastic use of it.
Alex Sheshunoff: Yeah, we have had it’s not our core focus, right? But we have had clients who’ve come in and used that. Especially on the tech side where they’re trying to engage their, their partners or their potential clients.
Right now, for the most part, they had to go to Zoom or video conference, and then they share a screen. Maybe it’s a PowerPoint. Again, the client is just like the employee. They’re multitasking their cameras off, but you put them, sometimes they do it in an avatar form and they’re mixing it up with some games and some prizes and depending on the, the style of the meeting.
But but in any case, they’re using immersive 3D to further engage the client. So for sure, I totally agree. There’s a great use case there too.
William Tincup: So we’ll switch to some of the buy side stuff for just a second. What’s your favorite part of the demo? What do you love showing people and or what do they the aha moment for prospects?
Like where do they get kinda get turned on?
Alex Sheshunoff: At the very beginning we always just, we pull up our [00:16:00] avatar changing room where somebody can customize their avatar and when they see that they can, they can have avatars that are in wheelchairs or and that, that or not, and that they can.
Sort of customized to really reflect who they think of themselves as. That’s pretty exciting. Our, also the hairstyles are generally better than people’s hair in real life. So our hairstyles were designed by an Emmy Award-winning hairstylist to the stars, right? Some people will spend two minutes in there.
Some people spend like 45 getting it totally dialed in. Then they go from there and they like they enter our sort of virtual island on their browser and suddenly they’re like, this person that this character that kind of, that looks like them, is doing back flips and dancing better than they do in real life.
And they’re just like, they’re all in. They’re just like, this is so cool.
William Tincup: Okay. First of all, thank you for that. The next thing I wanted to ask you is a, with if you can’t, naming names, I’m not really interested in the brands, but like where you’ve seen a company use remote bridge and you’re just like, you’ve fallen in love with the way that they’ve used it.
And again, you don’t have to use [00:17:00] brand names. I’m really thinking about the experience itself
Alex Sheshunoff: for sure. So there is there’s a very big there’s a very big company that came to us and they initially did a small workshop with nine people, and then they were like, oh, this is cool.
And then they came back with 50 people and they did a team building event, and then they did another, then they did a holiday party. We have a version of our island that’s covered in snow and has like secular holiday decorations with, for 125 people. And then they came back and said, oh, can we get can you know, can we have 29,000 of our European employees come through this as well?
And we like that use case. And, a lot of times another one of our clients is really helping us. We try to, on the product side, we try to have it. Have our custo have our customers drive the product development. So we are now working with a very large company who is helping us build out our analytics.
And we have some analytics, but we’re in the process of building ’em out. So we’re gonna be able to measure everything. From, of course like use time, but mic engagement also like [00:18:00] back flips per hour, like crazy stats. And that same cu customers also were building out in the process of building out translation tools, right?
And so somebody speaking in, Japanese will be understood by a Portuguese speaker and that is technologically possible. Right now it’s a, it’s a heavy lift, but we’re gonna be able to, we’re gonna be able to offer that. And that to me is super cool. So I love it when their customers are helping us drive the product.
William Tincup: Because it’s a new category for some folks, what are some of the questions that, that you would love? Buyers prospective buyers to ask you, because, again, like ATS is, I think it’s now a 55 year old software category, time and attendance has been around since, things of dinosaurs.
So like the buyers of those things they got a battery of questions. They know the questions they need to ask, but with something like with remote bridge, what are the questions that they should ask?
Alex Sheshunoff: I appreciate that question. One that really comes to mind is how can we use this for recruiting?
And we do have we do these hosted career fairs that are two hours long [00:19:00] and it’s it’s an alternative for the company to. To increase their sort of, the quality of the and volume of the candidates that they’re seeing. And so we source all the, and screen all the candidates, but it’s so much better than trying to drive candidates to a sort of a, an antiquated career site with stock photographs and forms.
There’s no energy there. And so for a company to be able to say, oh yeah, we’re having a career fair, and it’s company time over this period, over this, two hour block and find out what we’re doing and we’ll get a chance to meet with you. And that is I love that use of the technology.
What we’re finding is that that 45% of the candidates who attend these events are advanced to a second round of interviews and a quarter are advanced to a third. 12% end up being hired, which is a huge number. That’s, yeah, that’s
William Tincup: massive. And is it anything I wanted thought’s generational, but is there anything industry-wise or that you’ve seen in the data in terms of age or anything like [00:20:00] that kind of pulls through?
Cause that’s a, yeah, 12% is a huge number. I’m just wondering cuz when recruiters hear this, they’re gonna get really excited. But also like it, is it working better in one place rather than another?
Alex Sheshunoff: What we were finding is that we, where I think we have the most value to add is early to mid-career technical and sales and marketing positions, right?
The more senior somebody is, the more they probably already know the company and the company already knows them. So it is, yeah, early to mid-career. And technical and sales and marketing. The other really fun stat for us is that 88% of the people who attend these career fairs say that they leave with an improved perception of the client’s brand and culture.
So even if they’re not hired, they’re more likely to be evangelists for the company. And so that’s, that feels to me like, like a big win. I think we have a lot of value to offer for for like good companies that are great to work for, but may not be nationally recognized brands.
Google and Disney, they’re getting all the applications in. Yeah. They don’t struggle. No, there’s [00:21:00] no struggle. But if you’re like an insurance company, you may be like, you may be a great place to work, but people aren’t like excited to like brag about it at Thanksgiving lunch, Thanksgiving dinner that they work right.
For, whatever insurance company. But so I think. We can help them like show, and not just say, but show that their culture is fun and tech forward and and so I think that’s a really exciting use case too.
William Tincup: Jobs, Mike walks off stage. Alex, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
This has been wonderful. Thank you. And really appreciate,
Alex Sheshunoff: it’s been super fun.
William Tincup: Absolutely.
William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.