Technology Record - Issue 28: Spring 2023

FEATURE 166 Jenifer Hart has to juggle multiple time-sensitive responsibilities in her role as a multi-brand beauty advisor for L’Oréal Luxe, a division of beauty company L'Oréal. Not only does she have a busy customer-facing role at a store in England, but she also creates and delivers educational content for other beauty advisors in the UK. In the past, Hart had to switch between various platforms to manage her daily tasks, access critical information and communicate with other beauty advisors and head office about training, product launches, merchandising, promotions and more. This was time-consuming, stressful and open to errors. Now that L’Oréal has migrated to Microsoft Teams, Hart can do everything from one device via one platform, which has simplified her job role and freed up time for her to do the task she cares most about: delivering a great customer service. According to Microsoft’s business strategy leader for retail and consumer goods Anya Minbiole, this is the type of experience that all retailers should deliver to their frontline workers, particularly now that supply chain disruptions, the rising cost of goods, labour shortages and other factors are forcing them to do more with less. However, while many aspire to achieve this aim, most have yet to take the steps to do so. Avanade’s 2022 global workplace study, for example, suggests that 67 per cent of retailers are yet to achieve parity between the experiences they offer frontline and information workers. “Historically, retailers have focused on equipping knowledge workers with tools and data insights but haven’t devoted the same attention to their frontline staff,” says Minbiole. “This is primarily because high turnover rates, the transient nature of the tasks they carry out and the lack of access to their own secure device makes it difficult for retailers to equip frontline workers with a digital identity.” The pandemic has forced many to reconsider their current approach and take steps to reduce frontline inequity. “We’ve always had minor issues with things such as poor communication, labour shortages and supply chains, but when the pandemic brought multiple shocks to the system simultaneously, they suddenly became major challenges that Microsoft’s Anya Minbiole explains how equipping frontline workers with tools and technologies that enable them to communicate, collaborate and streamline their tasks can enable retailers to optimise operations, boost productivity, drive sales and deliver enhanced customer experience BY REBECCA GIBSON Fightingfor frontline the workers