Business benefits from empowering your frontline workers

Getting your frontline workers more involved in your company’s business is extremely important. For that, you need the right tools and processes.

Frontline workers have been in focus in recent times, because their role in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis has brought up their importance, and quite deservedly so. This trend is welcome in more ways than you might just think.

What exactly are ‘frontline workers’ and why do they matter?

Let’s start with the definition of frontline worker, sometimes also known as firstline worker or essential worker. In a Harvard Business Review study sponsored by Microsoft, they are ‘employees who are the first point of contact between organizations and their customers or who spend most of their time making products or managing operations’. This still leaves room for interpretation, as one could even argue with good basis that a CEO always on the move is a frontline worker.

Whichever definition we use, it has become clear that businesses need to put more effort into how frontline workers can do their jobs and how they are managed. This includes the collaboration and productivity tools but also modern ways of working.

A study that was carried out in the Financial Services Industry in 2018 found that frontline workers do not get the training they would need to do their jobs effectively. This is a good example that shows that both the tools and the processes leave a lot to desire.

Frontline Workers in Different Industries

Healthcare is quite possibly the vertical with most challenges but also with huge benefits if changes are made to accommodate frontline workers’ needs better. Sulava has done exactly that with Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) through Microsoft Teams having many roles, including effective work management with Shifts.

We are currently integrating ServiceNow with Teams for a major retailer in the Middle East with the idea of allowing their store and warehouse workers quick access and seamless communication for their service requests on their mobile devices. I already wrote about the huge potential of ‘Teams as a Platform’ last month, explaining the different types of Teams apps.

Kone is another interesting example of connecting frontline workers. Sulava helped them create the ways of working so that their service technicians can communicate seamlessly with the whole organization.

What’s in it for me?

Whilst these stories may sound like trailblazing innovative companies being in the forefront of development, the afore-mentioned Harvard Business Review study tell us differently. If you do not empower your firstline workers, you will be quickly left behind. Firstline workers need to be seen as adding value rather than just a cost that should be minimised.

For this, Microsoft provides the technologies and Sulava the solutions. We will tailor-make the best practices to your precise needs in your important leap towards having a connected workforce with modern tools and processes.

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