Microsoft modernises work for millions of frontline workers

A culture of caring is the new currency on the frontline, the tech giant’s research shows.

Microsoft has released a Work Trend Index Special Report, “Technology Can Help Unlock a New Future for Frontline Workers,” and announced new features in Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Viva designed to serve millions of frontline workers.

The two billion frontline workers worldwide represent 80 percent of the global workforce, with 88 percent of organisations employing people in frontline roles.

Increasingly, companies are investing in digital tools for frontline workers to modernise workflows, enhance job performance, and improve workplace culture and communication. Microsoft has seen 400 percent growth in monthly active usage 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 caring is the new currency on the frontline: 76 percent of workers feel bonded to each other, yet more than 60 percent say their company should better prioritise culture and communication from the top. In addition, 51 percent of those in non-management positions on the frontline don’t feel valued as employees.
  • Frontline workers are at an inflection point: amid the Great Reshuffle, frontline workers cite better pay and benefits, work-life balance, and flexibility as reasons for considering a job change.
  • Optimism for tech is high: 63 percent of frontline workers are excited about the job opportunities tech creates and tech ranks third on the list of factors workers say could help reduce workplace stress.
  • There’s an opportunity to bridge the tech and training gap: 46 percent of frontline workers feel pressure to adapt to new tech or fear losing their jobs – but 55 percent say they’ve had to learn new tech on the fly, with no formal training or practice.

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

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

“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 modernise workflows and enhance job performance while also improving workplace culture and communication.”

In addition, on 1 February, Microsoft Cloud for Retail will be generally available. Microsoft Cloud for Retail accelerates business growth by providing trusted retail industry solutions that integrate with retailers’ existing systems.

It starts by unifying disparate data sources across the end-to-end shopper journey, allowing retailers to maximise the value of their data, resulting in one holistic view of the consumer.

Once connected, data and AI help retailers better understand and elevate the consumer shopping experience. In providing more relevant and streamlined experiences throughout the retail value chain, retailers can build a real-time sustainable supply chain. The solution also includes the Teams and Viva capabilities announced today, all working toward empowering store associates.