Frontline retail workers feel the pressure as much as managers

SL62_Retail_2014_116Microsoft Australia has revealed that frontline workers and business managers both undergo similar challenges and pressures in the workplace, regardless of their different business priorities.

Microsoft alongside research firm, YouGov, conducted a survey of over 1,000 employees in four industry sectors – health, retail, manufacturing and public sector.

More than three quarters of business managers (78 per cent) and 73 per cent of firstline workers feel the daunting work pressures that comes with deadlines and outcomes.

Tough competition shows almost three quarters of business managers (73 per cent) identify with the pressure of meeting financial performance targets and having a healthy profit margin compared to firstline workers (67 per cent).

Retail workers are also keen on maintaining good health and wellbeing with close to seven out of 10 firstline retail workers (67 per cent) and nearly three quarters of business managers (73 per cent) saying this is a source of pressure in their jobs.

The global tech giant said the top priority that firstline workers and business managers share is improving customers’ experience. It’s more significant for firstline workers (63 per cent) compared to business managers (52 per cent). The frontline workers rank growing their skill set as the second major priority (61 percent) followed by improving the culture in their workplace (40 per cent). Business managers were more focused on achieving financial goals in their roles.

Technology in the retail industry

Microsoft found out that about 35 per cent of business managers said their organisations have the latest devices which places them ahead of business managers in the health, public sector and manufacturing industries. However, 37 per cent of firstline workers in retail said they had limited access to the latest devices (42 per cent), which allows them to have more face to face interaction with their customers. More than half of retail workers prefers having a clearer communication with their bosses to ease the pressures at work.

“In an age where digital has become more prominent, traditional methods are becoming far less effective with workers feeling frustrated and unmotivated by the disconnect experienced from management,” said Heard.

“At Microsoft, we recognise the value of having access to the latest technologies including devices as a tool to bridge this disconnect and enhance communication. Microsoft’s Surface Go which is now available in Australia, has been purposely designed to support retail environments as firstline workers need to access information on demand while they are with their customers in stores.

“Its innovative design allows firstline workers to be closer to their senior management and customers. With access to a smarter and simpler tool for daily tasks from making enquiries about inventory levels to getting the latest updates on products they are about to stock, communications are crucial for success in retail environments.”

In addition, live and on-demand events, now generally available in Microsoft 365 enable staff to create and stream events including training sessions in Microsoft Stream, Teams, or Yammer informing and engaging employees from the firstline to management.

Ian Heard, Modern Workplace lead, Microsoft Australia said: “Employee engagement goes right to the heart of a business and does not just makes a business unique, but also successful. A workforce that is passionate, connected and engaged helps to drive innovation and propels the business forward. At Microsoft, we empower firstline retail workers by providing them with digital tools to exercise greater creative and strategic freedom, bringing real value to their work. Retailers which create an engaged, connected and collaborative workforce will be better poised for success in the long-term.”

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