Microsoft and LinkedIn team unveil new features to help firms transition to hybrid work

Microsoft and LinkedIn have announced several new features and product innovation to help companies transition to hybrid work.

As organizations across the globe navigate the challenges and opportunities of hybrid work, technology is seen as the greatest enabler. The two organizations have thus come together to help their employees and their customers as they transform for hybrid work and reimagine everything from meetings that transcend space and time to a digital employee experience that everyone can access from anywhere – right in the flow of their work.   

“Right now, every leader is grappling with how to have effective hybrid meetings, often with limited equipment and resources. Hybrid meetings are an entirely new kind of meeting and require rethinking how we approach and conduct them to ensure we’re putting every attendee on equal footing, no matter where they’re sitting,” says Satya Nadella, the Microsoft CEO in a statement.

As a way of taking the hybrid meeting experience to the next level, Microsoft announced new Microsoft Teams Rooms innovations featuring a new category of intelligent cameras that support AI-powered active speaker tracking, multiple video streams that allow in-room participants to be placed in their own video pane, and people recognition. In addition, and in a bid to make remote presentations more engaging, Microsoft announced launch of cameo, a new PowerPoint experience that integrates the Teams camera feed into a presentation to allow the presenter to customize how and where they want to appear on the screen with their slides.

Planning and understanding who will be attending and how they will attend is also key, and Microsoft announced a new Outlook RSVP feature that lets people specify whether they will attend in person or remotely. The redesigned Working hours will allow users to include work schedule specifics directly in their calendar, so others can know when and where you’ll be working as we adjust to more flexible work hours and locations.

“At Microsoft, we believe that hybrid work is the future of work and that, to empower their people to succeed in hybrid, business leaders will need to reimagine their organizations with a new operating model for people, places, and processes,” Nadella said.

On its part, and as a way of helping employers and hiring managers adapt to this new world of work, LinkedIn is rolling out new fields within job postings where organizations can now signal if the open job is remote, hybrid or on-site, helping job seekers search and discover jobs that align with how they want to work. And coming soon, LinkedIn will also have a way for companies to share how they are approaching the future of work on their company page including vaccination requirements, if they plan to go back to an office, stay remote or go hybrid.

LinkedIn has also made nearly 40 LinkedIn Learning courses free until October 9, 2021 so that LinkedIn members and HR pros can build critical skills that are crucial to thriving in today’s workplace – be it in-person, remote or hybrid.

“Whether you’re looking to support your team through the transition to hybrid work or be the kind of manager no one wants to leave, these courses can help you lead through change,” says Ryan Roslansky, the CEO of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has also announced that its skill-building platform, LinkedIn Learning Hub, will be enhanced to help companies build their employees’ skills through personalized content, community-based learning and skill-development insights that will inform their overall learning and development strategy.

“People are rediscovering how they find meaning and purpose in their lives and at work and responding by seeking out new opportunities. Leaders, meanwhile, are facing new challenges in retaining and reskilling their people to meet the demands of our new world of work,” says Roslansky.

To better understand how employers are thinking about navigating this new world of work, LinkedIn surveyed more than 500 C-level executives in the U.S. and U.K. Top of mind for executives is the same thing on the minds of employees – flexibility. With 87% of people saying they would prefer to stay remote at least half the time, a majority of employers are adapting: 81% of leaders are changing their workplace policies to offer greater flexibility.

Despite all the change, leaders feel like there are opportunities ahead – more than half (58%) are optimistic that flexibility will be good for both people and the business. Leaders have an opportunity to rewrite their playbook when it comes to hiring, skills development, engaging talent and more.

Employers and employees have an opportunity to build new relationships grounded in shared values and a common mission. And more people will be doing work that best matches their skills and needs, leading to greater success for organizations that engage their employees with empathy and trust. But the data also underscores the imperative for business leaders to transform themselves to attract and retain top talent as employee expectations evolve.

At Microsoft and LinkedIn, we’ll continue to use what we’re learning to build and improve products designed to empower people for the ways we work today and the ways we’ll work in the future.

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