Simplifying Microsoft 365 with SMS sign-in

The digital workplace has evolved at a break-neck pace over the last two years. More and more organisations are relying on digital platforms to deliver company news and announcements, to enable better collaboration and sharing, and to support and drive organisational culture. While this is great for office-based staff (or home-based as most of us are), we often see the frontline workforce considered second in these scenarios, or occasionally deferred to the ‘too hard basket’.

Let’s empty the ‘too hard basket’ and make digital access to frontline workers a priority!

We are talking to lots of organisations about the challenges they face around effectively reaching frontline workers, with urgent or timely notifications. Organisations are expressing an increased awareness of the key challenges around communicating with frontline workers – those key challenges being literacy and language.

They are asking us questions like “how do we ensure frontline workers feel a part of the company culture” and “how do we capture the ‘on the ground’ knowledge that only the frontline workforce have and feed it into the hands of the people who can action it”? Additionally there is an increased focus on the need to communicate and regulate health and safety information, with frontline being no exception.

It is imperative that frontline workers get easy access to your digital platforms, more so now than ever, and the tech is finally here to make logging on easier.

Making it easy for frontline workers to log on with SMS sign-in

As language and literacy are the two biggest challenges for frontline workers in relation to online content, it can be a struggle just to enable logging in. Complicated usernames, strict password controls and MFA can be enough to put anyone off, but especially frontline workers who are often ‘on-the-go’. However, I bet they can remember their own phone number…enter SMS sign-in.

Microsoft have now enabled the ability to set authentication for licensed users using a mobile number and text for authentication. The setup is fairly straightforward for administrators ( the instructions can be found here) and as an employer you can maintain control over which users the authentication methods are available for.

Huzzah! The sign-in hurdle is no more.

Now I know that you are excited and want to implement this for your frontline workers right away. My hot tip is to take a minute and consider the change management implications. While this is a technically straightforward implementation, the change for those frontline workers require communication and a quick guide on getting started – possibly in multiple languages.

If this is your frontline workers first real journey into using your digital tools (such as your intranet, Viva Connections, Teams etc), then there might be a lot of information that is not relevant. Once you’re on this path, consider targeting content to your frontline workers to remove the extraneous content, and give what they need when they need it.

Suggestions for enabling SMS-sign in

  1. Look into the licencing options for your frontline workers
  2. If this is new, it would be worth doing a trial before rolling out across the organisation
  3. Have a Change and Adoption plan and program ready to ensure the roll-out is effective

Get in touch

Identifying risks before they reach end users is where our Change & Adoption team can help. Contact us us today.

About the author

Rachel Harnott leads the digital workplace and employee experience practice at Engage Squared. Rachel has worked with SharePoint for over 14 years, and comes from a front end developer and UX design background. She is a certified Change Practitioner, UX designer, a mum of 2 boys and a professional singer.

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