How Blue Yonder and Microsoft partnered to deliver connected associate experiences

Today it’s not uncommon to feel disconnected in ways that weren’t even imaginable a year ago. Virtual watch parties, “Zoom school” and Microsoft Teams meetings are now part of the everyday vernacular. These new mediums help fill the void of social connection, which is necessary to the human experience. It’s no surprise that corporate adoption of communication and collaboration tools is growing, with 69% of US companies expected to be using these tools in 2021[1].

Collaboration tools foster engagement and a sense of community, which lead to higher productivity and lower turnover rates. According to Gallup, engaged employees are 18% more productive, 23% more profitable and have an 18% lower turnover rate than their peers[2]. All businesses benefit when turnover rates go down, especially those that manage a large hourly workforce. On average, the turnover rate of hourly workers is 4x that of corresponding exempt employees.[3] For businesses with a large percentage of hourly workers, reducing turnover rate means real money to the bottom line.

Another way to retain employees is to empower them. Workforce management tools where associates can view and modify their schedules in real-time gives employees a sense of control and flexibility. In today’s unpredictable climate with fluctuating demand, adjusting work schedules is the norm, not the exception. Whether swapping shifts due to conflicting virtual school hours or picking up an additional shift to help pay the bills, employees like being in control of their schedules.

Blue Yonder and Microsoft are partnering to digitally transform the associate experience by seamlessly integrating Blue Yonder’s powerful Workforce Management (WFM) solution with Shifts in Microsoft Teams. Blue Yonder’s WFM solution manages labor scheduling, time and attendance, and store operation scheduling for more than 7 million users across 45 countries. It creates optimized labor schedules based on demand and assigns shifts based on required job skills to help organizations achieve a 3–8% labor savings, all while maximizing the customer experience and ensuring staff is always on hand to help.

Associates can directly access the Blue Yonder WFM associate portal from within Microsoft Teams to see schedules, view and sign up for available shifts, swap shifts and request time off. This gives them a reason to use the app daily, which increases adoption rates, enables deeper collaboration throughout the organization and keeps things simple for associates. Marks and Spencer recently reported a 90% adoption rate of Microsoft Teams when Blue Yonder WFM deployed with Shifts, uniting employee engagement functions in one place.

Employees have a seamless connection to what matters most — using any connected mobile device or workstation. And, with Blue Yonder, workforce management can be rolled out in weeks, not months. This delivers industry-leading time to value while expanding upon the capabilities already in place with Microsoft Teams. For more information, please visit our website or watch our LinkedIn Live session.

[1] “Adoption of Communication and Collaboration Tools Has Surged,” eMarketer, 2020.

[2] “Gallup Q12 Meta-Analysis Report,”, 2020.

[3] US Department of Labor, 2019