Microsoft announces new research and technology to empower millions of frontline workers

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REDMOND, Wash., January 12, 2022 / PRNewswire / – Wednesday, Microsoft Corp. posted a Special report on the labor trends index, “Technology can help open a new future for frontline workers,” and announced new features in Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Viva designed to serve millions of frontline workers.

The world’s 2 billion frontline workers represent 80% of the global workforce, with 88% of organizations employing people in front line roles. Increasingly, companies are investing in digital tools for frontline workers to modernize workflows, improve workplace performance, and improve workplace culture and communication. Microsoft has seen a 400% growth in monthly active use of its Teams collaboration platform among frontline workers since march 2020.

The Work Trend Index report reveals key insights that impact nearly every segment of the workforce:

  • A culture of benevolence is the new motto on the front line: 76% of workers feel connected to each other, but over 60% say their company should better prioritize culture and communication from the top. In addition, 51% of people in non-management frontline positions do not feel valued as employees.
  • Frontline workers are at an inflection point: In the middle of Big reshuffle, frontline workers cite better wages and benefits, a work-life balance and flexibility as reasons to consider a job change.
  • Optimism for technology is high: 63% of frontline workers are excited about the job opportunities created by tech and technology ranks third on the list of factors that workers believe could help reduce stress on the job.
  • There is an opportunity to bridge the gap between technology and training: 46% of frontline workers feel pressured to adapt to new technologies or fear losing their jobs, but 55% say they have had to learn new technologies on the fly, without formal training or practice.

Today, the company is introducing new joint offerings with industry partners as well as capabilities specifically designed to support frontline workers in Teams and Viva, Microsoft’s employee experience platform introduced in early 2021.

  • Microsoft is deepening its strategic relationship with Zebra Technologies Corp., a global leader in innovative digital solutions, including software and hardware such as rugged Android mobile computers for the frontline workforce. Both companies deliver The Teams Walkie Talkie app on a wide range of Zebra mobile computers, including a dedicated push-to-talk (PTT) button to access Teams Walkie Talkie functionality on Zebra devices. Additionally, Teams Digital Walkie Talkie PTT is now available on all iOS mobile devices in addition to Android.
  • Microsoft is improving Team integration with Zebra Reflexis™, which connects Reflexis Workforce Management solutions to the Shifts app in Teams. This new integration streamlines shift planning and time off requests in Teams, making them easy for managers to approve.
  • Queue programmed for virtual appointments are now available in Teams, providing a single place for real-time updates on wait times, missed appointments and staffing delays to create a seamless and stress-free experience for clients and patients.
  • the Viva Connections app in Microsoft Teams Connects frontline workers to corporate culture, resources and tools, news, and employee resource groups in the workflow. Integrations with strategic partners such as Espressive and Workday will allow users to more easily access important HR resources and tasks, such as payroll, time off and expense reports, all in one place.
  • the Viva learning app enables front-line employees to discover, share and follow learning content directly from Microsoft Teams, making it easier for all staff in an organization to stay on top of required training and recommended. New updates make it easier to assign learning from partner solutions like SAP SuccessFactors, Cornerstone OnDemand and Saba Cloud. And partnerships with training providers such as EdCast and OpenSesame activate an extensive content library to help frontline workers improve their skills and train with relevant learning content in the workflow.
  • For that, improved device management helps ensure that misplaced shared devices can be easily secured and located.

“It’s no secret that the pandemic is reshaping the work of all workers, and at a faster rate than ever before,” said Emma williams, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft. “Empowering frontline workers remains essential for digital transformation. Together with our partners, we equip frontline workers with tools that allow them to stay in touch with their team and company management while focusing on the customer or the job at hand. If done right, we believe technology can modernize workflows and improve job performance while improving workplace culture and communication. “

In addition, on February 1st, Microsoft Cloud for Retail will generally be available. Microsoft Cloud for Retail accelerates business growth by providing reliable solutions for the retail industry that integrate with existing retailer systems. It starts by unifying disparate data sources throughout the end-to-end customer journey, enabling retailers to maximize the value of their data, resulting in a holistic view of the consumer. When connected, data and AI help retailers better understand and improve the shopping experience for consumers. By delivering more relevant and streamlined experiences throughout the retail value chain, retailers can create a sustainable supply chain in real time. The solution also includes the Teams and Viva capabilities announced today, all aimed at empowering store associates.

To find out more, visit the Microsoft Official Blog, Microsoft 365 Blog and the new one Work trend index report.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation in the age of a smart cloud and smart edge. Its mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to do more.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.

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