Microsoft announces new features to empower millions of frontline workers

News Desk -


Microsoft highlighted new features in Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Viva geared to assist millions of frontline employees in its Work Trend Index Special Report, “Technology Can Help Unlock a New Future for Frontline Workers.”

The 2 billion frontline workers globally account for 80% of the global workforce, with 88 percent of firms employing frontline workers. To modernise workflows, increase job performance, and improve workplace culture and communication, businesses are increasingly investing in digital solutions for frontline workers. Since March 2020, Microsoft’s Teams collaboration platform has experienced a 400 percent increase in monthly active usage among frontline workers.

“It’s no secret that the pandemic is reshaping work for all workers, and at a faster pace than we have ever seen,” said Emma Williams, corporate vice president, Microsoft.

He added, “Empowering frontline workers remains essential for digital transformation. Together with our partners, we’re equipping frontline workers with tools that allow them to stay connected with their team and company leadership while concentrating on the customer or job at hand. If done well, we believe technology can modernize workflows and enhance job performance while also improving workplace culture and communication.”

The Work Trend Index research shows major findings that affect practically every worker segment:

On the front lines, caring culture is a new currency: 76 percent of employees feel attached to one another, yet more than 60 percent believe their firm should prioritize culture and communication from the top. Furthermore, 51% of frontline workers in nonmanagement jobs do not feel valued as employees.

Frontline workers are at a crossroads: As a result of the Great Reshuffle, frontline workers are exploring a job change for better salary and benefits, work-life balance, and flexibility.

There is a lot of hope for technology: Tech ranked third on the list of issues workers feel might help reduce workplace stress, with 63 percent of frontline workers thrilled about the career opportunities it creates.

There’s a chance to close the tech and training gap: 46% of frontline employees say they’re under pressure to adapt to new technology or risk losing their jobs if they don’t, yet 55% say they’ve had to learn new tech on the fly with no formal training or practise.

Today, Microsoft is announcing new joint products with industry partners, as well as capabilities in Teams and Viva, Microsoft’s employee experience platform, that are expressly tailored to serve frontline workers.

• Microsoft is strengthening its strategic partnership with Zebra Technologies Corp., a global pioneer in creative digital solutions, including software and hardware for the frontline workforce, such as rugged Android mobile computers. The Teams Walkie Talkie app is available on a variety of Zebra mobile computers, with a specific push-to-talk (PTT) button for accessing Teams Walkie Talkie capabilities on Zebra devices. In addition to Android, Teams Walkie Talkie digital PTT is now accessible on all iOS mobile devices.

• Microsoft is improving Teams’ connection with Zebra ReflexisTM, which connects Reflexis Workforce Management solutions to Teams’ Shifts application. This new integration makes it easier for managers to accept shift scheduling and time off requests in Teams.

• Scheduled virtual appointment queuing is now accessible in Teams, offering a single destination for real-time updates on wait times, missed appointments, and staffing delays, allowing customers and patients to have a transparent and stress-free experience.

• In the flow of work, the Viva Connections app in Microsoft Teams connects frontline employees to business culture, resources and tools, news, and employee resource groups. Integrations with critical partners like Workday and Espressive make it easy to access important resources and centralise tasks like payroll and HR.

• The Viva Learning app allows frontline employees to find, share, and track learning content directly from Microsoft Teams, making it easier for a complete company’s staff to keep current on mandatory and recommended training. New upgrades make it easy to assign learning from SAP SuccessFactors, Cornerstone OnDemand, and Saba Cloud partner solutions. Partnerships with learning providers such as EdCast and OpenSesame provide access to a large content collection to assist frontline workers in upskilling and training.

• For IT, better device management makes it easier to secure and locate misplaced shared devices.

In addition, Microsoft Cloud for Retail will be broadly available on February 1st. By providing proven retail sector solutions that integrate with retailers’ existing systems, Microsoft Cloud for Retail helps businesses develop faster. It begins by bringing diverse data sources together across the whole shopper journey, allowing merchants to maximise the value of their data and create a single holistic view of the customer. Once connected, data and AI can help merchants better understand and improve the shopping experience for their customers. Retailers can create a real-time, sustainable supply chain by providing more relevant and streamlined experiences throughout the retail value chain. The system also features the Teams and Viva capabilities, both of which aim to empower retail personnel.

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