Introducing Google Workspace

07 October 2020

Google Workspace
Google workspace

Since the start of 2020, businesses across the world have dramatically changed the way they work. Work itself is transforming in unprecedented ways. For many of us, work is no longer a physical place we go to, and interactions that used to take place in person are being rapidly digitized. This was at first a shock to many businesses, but as we have adapted we have found that working remotely has had so many positive effects on businesses, people, and much more. 

Amidst this transformation, time is more fragmented—split between work and personal responsibilities—and human connections are more difficult than ever to establish and maintain. 

These are unique challenges, but they also represent a significant opportunity to help people succeed in this highly distributed and increasingly digital world.

Google is uniquely positioned to help here, given its history and product innovation: 

  • First, over 2.6 billion users choose G Suite. Google has spent decades building products that are simple, easy to learn, and anticipate users’ needs. 
  • Second, Google products are all cloud-based, so they can innovate with speed and don’t have to worry about maintaining legacy desktop apps. 
  • And third, Google’s global infrastructure helps deliver consistent quality & reliability around the world. 

How Google is evolving to meet the need: 

As a result of these changes, Google is building on these strengths and their vision for the future, by introducing some exciting new developments. Google has changed what was formerly (G Suite) to Google Workspace. This represents the brand accurately as so many changes have been made through 2020 to develop a platform that is easy to collaborate on, all through one interface. 

Google Workspace

Now, everything you need to get anything done, is in one place. Google Workspace includes all of the productivity apps you know and love—Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet, and many more. Whether you’re returning to the office, working from home, on the frontlines with your mobile device, or connecting with customers, Google Workspace is the best way to create, communicate, and collaborate.

To learn more about the new changes that Google are making, read their full announcement here. 

How does Google Workspace help? 

Google helps you get more done at work and at home—with communication and collaboration tools known and loved by billions of users, thoughtfully connected together. It’s a place for shared interests, projects, planning, and group work, with simplicity, ease of use, and helpful features that make any kind of work a little more satisfying. And it’s designed from the ground up with industry-leading security and privacy controls built-in — and powered by the cleanest cloud in the industry. 

Top 3 benefits of Google Workspace

  • Flexible: Designed for flexible, fluid, and fast collaboration – when, where, and how you need it. 
  • Helpful: Address what’s important & let Google handle the rest with best-in-class AI and search technology that helps you work smarter. 
  • Simple: An integrated workspace that’s simple and easy to use, so you spend less time figuring out how to manage your work and more time actually doing it. 

Our role as a Google Cloud Premier Partner:

Netpremacy are always striving to work closely with our valued customers to ensure that they get the best out of their investment. Our goal is to help businesses across the UK to transform the way they work, for the better. Since the start of 2020, we have helped many customers to adapt to a new way of working. 

“Businesses are looking for streamlined ways for teams to collaborate, connect, and get things done remotely – both today and in the future,” said Carolee Gearhart, Global Channel Chief at Google Cloud. “We’re thrilled to announce Google Workspace to help customers transform the way they work, and we look forward to working with our partners like Netpremacy to help organizations build a more connected future with Google Workspace.”

When the lockdown was announced, the DFS group decided to immediately close down all operations, pause deliveries, and halt manufacturing. DFS was then left with just an online presence, and had no other option than to furlough 5,000 members of staff across the UK. Read more on how DFS and Netpremacy worked together to ensure that the business was able to stay online and to keep the business running smoothly when the UK was first put into lockdown.

It’s not just current customers that Netpremacy has helped. Due to the pandemic, we have seen new relationships form with businesses across the UK. We first began to speak to Loxam when they urgently needed 100’s of Chrome devices to ensure that their whole company was able to work remotely.

They were rolled out and deployed within 3 days of delivery, so 200 members of the LOXAM PAD workforce were now fully operational and could continue working remotely. This rapid delivery and deployment is a testament to the hard work and effort the team at Netpremacy put into providing the right solution for their customers, and another great example of how Google’s browser first solutions have a real impact when it’s needed the most.

Read more on how we worked to get LOXAM PAD up and running in days.

Since the start of 2020, we have seen so many of our customers have to adapt quickly to ensure that they can run successfully through such challenging times. Now we have since run webinars demonstrating the new Google Workspace interface, which has been well received by our customers. We are already seeing fantastic adoption throughout, and have seen how this collaborative interface is having a positive impact on the way businesses are working, for the better. 

Get started with Google Workspace

To celebrate the new launch of Google Workspace we are offering free of charge, our Google Workspace express onboarding package to allow your organisation to fully realise the potential of Google Cloud. This will cover topics such as;

  • Provisioning
  • Authentication
  • Data Migration
  • Security Configuration
  • Change Management
  • General Best Practices

 

Contact us here to learn more about the new features of Google Workspace. 

24 September 2020

Adapting to a more digital world – Top tips to ensure you are set up to take your work home

 

Businesses around the world have been working remotely in a more permanent way for over 6 months now. To put that into perspective…that’s half of 2020. Now, in light of the Prime Minister’s recent announcement, it looks like working from home will continue long into 2020.  We are over the initial shock to the system, but we need to keep on top of keeping our employees happy and motivated and start putting into place measures that are more permanent. 

Netpremacy was born in the cloud, and working remotely is what we teach to other businesses across the country. Which is why we wanted to share our experience and best practices with businesses that were not traditionally used to remote working. Office culture has changed dramatically, however, employees’ mental health and wellbeing is important, as is keeping business running as usual. 

Working from home has benefits and struggles you should consider:

Benefits 

  • Increased productivity 
  • Reduced travel costs
  • Reduced office maintenance costs 
  • Good for the environment
  • Increased flexibility 
  • Good for the environment

Struggles

  • Difficult to unplug from work
  • Loneliness
  • Different working environments
  • Distractions at home
  • Affects mental health
  • Hard to stay motivated

 

Do you have the correct setup?

When the UK was sent home to work, it was done overnight in a panic. Businesses didn’t have a choice and had to ensure their employees were sent home to keep them, and the rest of the country safe. 

Now we have started to adapt, more businesses have decided that working from home benefits them in several ways. Businesses are making the decision to keep this a more permanent solution, and we need to ensure that our employees have the correct setup and working environment. This can have a major impact on a person’s physical, and mental health. There are some simple steps that should help you and your employees to work comfortably and effectively. 

Ensure that when working from home you have somewhere comfortable to sit, that supports your back and neck. Yes, it’s a novelty working from your bed, but how much goodwill that do your back in the long run? The answer is not a lot! 

Working from a clean, and clutter-free environment is another way to ensure employee happiness. Make sure the area you are working in is free from distractions such as the TV, and is a clean space, to keep your mind clutter-free, and to create a productive environment in which to work. 

 Having a consistent spot that you “go to” every day to work helps your brain associate that spot with getting work done. Choose the same spot for a few days and your brain will learn that when you’re in that spot, you’re focused.

Customise your working environment, so that you feel comfortable and at home- make it a place you WANT to go to – just like you would at your desk at work! 

Ensure that your MDM is set up correctly

Mobile Device Management is essential when working remotely, which is exactly why employers need to make sure that this is set up correctly so that company devices can be managed no matter where your employees are working. Through Google’s single console, your company is able to manage the entire enterprise mobility. This provides comprehensive protection whilst being easy to manage.

G Suite admins can now define custom rules that trigger on device events and have associated actions. When an event specified in a rule occurs on a device within your organisation with a G Suite Enterprise license, the corresponding action you have set will automatically be executed by Mobile Management.

• Easy for admins to enroll all company owned devices for MDM

• Easily enforce device-owner mode on multiple Android company-owned devices

• Not be dependent on the end-user to enable device-owner mode

• Gather info on each and every Android device/app accessing G Suite

Read more on how to ensure your MDM is set up correctly, or contact a member of our team who will be happy to help you get set up. 

Keep your teams secure 

Security is important, no matter where you are located. Luckily, much of the Google technology we use has many security features already built-in (learn more here). But it’s always a good idea to have multiple security procedures in place to keep your employees, and data, extra secure. 

The challenge of remote working, when it comes to security, is that if something does go wrong, your IT team is not there to fix any issues. However, by utilising the Google Admin Control allows you to manage devices remotely, which is useful in a time where everyone has been sent home to work. Another suggestion would be to allow only company approved apps to be installed in the work profile, so your employees are not using apps on the work profile that your business has not approved. It is also recommended to set up dedicated work profiles that are isolated from personal apps, and you should make sure data sharing is restricted. These simple steps can help to keep your employees and your company data secure. 

Setting up employee devices correctly is a fool-proof way of making sure data cannot be accessed by people outside your company. The data is encrypted, and in case the device is lost or stolen, it can be wiped remotely. The new Advanced Protection Programme is an added level of protection for users who are more likely to undergo security challenges. This uses security keys which prevents unauthorised access to your Google account and protects the user from harmful downloads. New updates and security features are automatically added, so it’s one less thing to think about. 

Employees are generally kept safe from phishing attacks, as Gmail has in-built features that cleverly identifies and flags them; however, it is good practice to train employees, making them aware of what to look for and how to handle these types of cyberattacks. 

Adhering to these suggestions will definitely help to keep your mind at ease, however, if you have any further queries or questions our support and security teams are available to help. 

Regular communication & human interaction 

It’s important to remember that everyone is in their own unique environment, which may make working from home more challenging. Some will have a dedicated office space, whilst others are working in a one-bedroom studio. Whatever your situation is, you need to make sure it works for you, whilst being able to communicate with your teammates. 

Regular communication is important to stay motivated, and to keep up the morale too. Schedule catch-ups with your co-workers, so you are on top of your workload, but also socialising with the people who you usually spend most of your working week with.

Probably the most obvious, but it does get overlooked more often than not – take your lunch break! It can be quite difficult to cut off from work when you are in your own home, so step away from the computer, clear your head, and refresh. If you can spend your lunch break outside, that’s even better.

Keep things fun

Office culture differs with each organisation. Distractions in the office may make things difficult to get things done. Equally, you may find it easier to focus in the workplace more than anywhere else. No matter what you are used to, this is your opportunity to make things fun and make it work around you and your workload. Perhaps suggesting an online office quiz, or meeting up virtually on a Friday afternoon for a virtual drink will help keep things fresh!

Being successful in a digital environment is not just about getting the work done. Balancing health, both physical and mental, whilst having the right technology to communicate, collaborate, and keep your data secure is the key to allowing your business to excel.

Contact us and speak to one of our experts today about the technology we use in order to thrive in a digital world and remember to look after your mental health in times of uncertainty!

21 July 2020

COVID-19 Office Reservation Solution

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Every business wants to return to optimum efficiency. So in an effort to get back into the office, Netpremacy has created a solution. Using readily available G Suite tools you can create a complex, yet easy to manage, booking-in system. This means you can monitor and control the number of staff in the office at any given time, and have access to valuable contact trace data.

This method requires little maintenance and minimal admin, making it an easy solution to adopt and manage.

DOWNLOAD ONE-PAGER

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To find out more, or to see how your organisation can benefit from this solution, contact us and speak to one of our specialists: info@netpremacy.com

17 July 2020

Google announces more features for the ultimate video conferencing experience

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Since lockdown began, Google Meet has grown in popularity and demand. Thanks to Google Meet, colleagues have been able to stay connected, companies have been able to live stream to a remote workforce, virtual healthcare visits have allowed care to continue, and schools have maintained collaborative contact with students. This is all down to the amazing technology we have available at our fingertips. 

With plenty of video conferencing tools available, it can be quite difficult to distinguish which is the best on the market. Google Meet, which is now free for everyone, is launching several updates that will allow for the ultimate video conferencing experience. 

A New, Customisable Background
The long-awaited customisable background will soon be available to use in Google Meet. In addition, it will be possible to blur out your background, which is especially useful if you are sharing your workspace with family or pets and want to make sure calls are uninterrupted and free from distraction. Netpremacy will find this update really helpful during our webinars, as we will be able to make the experience for our viewers even more smooth and streamlined.

Nest Hub Max Integration
A high-tech, smart solution to help virtual meetings run seamlessly is the integration of Nest Hub Max with Google Meet. It will soon be possible to join meetings with just one click or a voice command through your smart home display. This is great for those who may not have room at home for dedicated office space, so you can free up your laptop and work from anywhere in the house.

Extended Tile View
The last update saw the tile view layout reach a maximum of 16 people, making for more fun and collaborative experience. With more people working remotely and relying on Google Meet to stay connected, Google will increase it to 49 participants. This means whole organisations, or larger teams, can all be visible on a call, making it the most connected, collaborative, and streamlined experience yet. 

Hand Raising
Google has not only announced long-awaited updates, but they have thought about the finer details to make the enhancements seamless in so many ways. The new extended tile view layout is great, but the accompanying “hand-raising” tool makes it even better. This allows participants in a larger call to “raise their hand” if they have a question or want to contribute to the meeting. Making a more organised, and smooth experience. 

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Netpremacy’s Top 5 Updates

Netpremacy was born in the cloud, our teams are incredibly familiar with Google Meet. The new updates add more inclusiveness and make the sessions more seamless in a remote environment. The most exciting benefit of the updates is how they will affect our webinars. The introduction of the below features will allow us to have complete control and increase engagement, which makes an even greater experience for our audience. 

1. Meeting attendance: This will make it easier to track who attended, so we can follow up efficiently and make sure attendees receive collateral and the slides/recording of the webinar.
2. Breakout rooms: We try and personalise the experience for our attendees, as we want to make sure everyone leaves with valuable information. These breakout rooms will give the opportunity to ask the experts directly.
3. Q&A: Our team of experts that deliver these webinars tries to answer as many questions as possible, if not all, so this Q&A channel will make it easier to monitor and direct the questions without disrupting the flow of the webinar.
4. Additional moderator controls: The introduction of more controls, makes the experience smoother. So muting, presenting, even joining the webinar is an afterthought for the speaker, as the hosts can organise and monitor, making it a polished experience for all.
5. Polling: Real-time polling is also a new feature that will be added to Google Meet. We can ask for instant feedback and can get an idea for what content our audience wants to hear in future sessions there and then.

If you want to learn more about our webinars and the topics we talk about, visit our events page.

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To help businesses stay connected and to continue working, we have been offering G Suite Essentials to new customers, which includes Meet, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and it’s free of charge until 30th September 2020.

For more information download our one-pager or to book in your free installation, contact us here: netpremacy.com/contact-us/get-g-suite-essentials-free/

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22 June 2020

In a new age where most of the population is working remotely, could now be the time to look at transforming the way your business works, for good?

 

Hear from our account director, Alastair Lumley on his personal experiences of working remotely, and how he sees the workplace changing.

The world has changed as we know it and there are no signs that we will go back to “normal” any time soon. It, therefore, poses the question, do we ever want to return to normal? 

lady remote workingWe have all suddenly had to adopt a new way of working. Personally I’ve fallen victim to poor WiFi, seeing nothing but a freeze-frame of a colleague only knowing they are there by the sudden boom of their voice. My colleagues have had to deal with my face being too close to the camera, or my persistent shouting as I refuse to use headphones, maintaining that my set up is the best! We’ve all probably had our own experiences of suddenly working from home and things we’d want to change, but these are all teething problems right, this is now the new normal?  

This is why now is the perfect time to look at the tools we use, understand how the wider workforce has adopted a digital-first approach, and really evaluate the business. To put it bluntly, the shock is over, now how do we make it work for us? 

Netpremacy has recently been announced as Google’s Global Partner of the year for Work Transformation – Enterprise. This is a result of over a decades worth of work & experience, implementing some of the largest transformation projects with the likes of, Just Eat, Monzo, Morrisons, Ovo, DFS… the list goes on.

With this in mind, we wanted to share a few things to remember/consider when looking at a digital transformation, they may be obvious but, here they are written down. 

Netpremacy’s 5 top tips

  • Staff are the most important asset. Provide them with the right tools and you’ve won half the battle, we employed them for a reason so let’s ensure they can do their job to the best of their ability
  • Change for the right reasons. Yes a cashable ROI is important, but it’s also imperative we do this for the right reasons, do we want a more flexible working environment, are we looking to reduce operational costs at the same time?
  • Are we looking for a younger workforce, do we need to become more collaborative & innovative to react to market demands? Therefore do the tools we use need to attract that demographic and drive the adoption across the wider organisation 
  • What are our competitors doing? Have they changed how they operate? Are they making changes we arent and benefiting from them? Are we beginning to fall behind? Or, are we the first to change, can we get ahead of the curve? 
  • What’s happening on a global scale? (particularly important right now) Can we learn from other countries and their success or even mistakes? 

 

These are just a few things to take into account when we start a transformation project and very high level questions. Once we start to answer these questions, we can begin to focus on choosing the right tool for the job, and that is where Netpremacy can help. 

At Netpremacy, Google & in particular G Suite has kept us running like clockwork over the last few months. We simply picked up our Chromebooks, in some cases monitors (large scale project planning to do), opened them up at home, and away we went. 

We have teams creating training plans using docs, teams supporting customers via GoogleMeet ensuring they can still operate. Senior management has been able to constantly update the company via weekly meetings ensuring we know what’s going on. Our delivery teams are creating project plans, our Account Directors are creating proposals to roll out GoogleMeet for free to give those who need it most access to vital tools. Our developers are still…..developing. It’s business as usual here at Netpremacy.

The best bit is, that as we do this it’s all super-fast, reliable, and secure as it’s all floating above our heads in the cloud (i am aware that is not strictly true). None of the struggles or delays in wondering how the hell we were going to operate, we just did and it worked. 

What I’m trying to say is, if ever there was a time to take a step back, pause for a second and look at the last 10 weeks now’s the time, but use that reflection and think forward as this is likely to become our new normal. As we all begin to return to the office let’s make sure we have the right tools, our teams have access to everything they need and try to use the positives to build the next generations’ way of working. 

In order to help share some lessons and experience, we’re running a series of webinars that are focusing on how tools such as G Suite, Chrome & Googles wider cloud platform are helping us prepare for a  return to the office, as well as specific industries and how they are coping. 

To find out more about how digital transformation can dramatically improve your company’s way of working, take a look at our digital transformation whitepaper. Or, if you would like a more informal chat, please contact me at alumley@netpremacy.com

16 January 2019

G Suite is a Cloud-based productivity suite that helps to connect teams from all over the world on any device. It allows you to work smarter and facilitates collaboration, saving time and allowing your business to focus on what matters.

As a Google Cloud Premier Partner, we have many years of experience of deploying G Suite. Netpremacy ensures that we support you every step of the way, helping you and your employees get the most out of G Suite.

G Suite has greatly developed over the past decade to make collaboration more intelligent.

AI and machine learning are now being used to protect the world’s emails, and G Suite enables businesses to concentrate on collaboration to better connect their teams.

Collaborating in real time with your colleagues on a document not only saves time but also makes version control easy because it’s all in one place. This is great for preventing loss of data and unnecessary duplicates – which can be incredibly frustrating and hard to track. Documents are created, edited and saved automatically from any device, including mobiles. Multiple users can work on the same document simultaneously without worry, thanks to the comments, chat and edit auditing functionalities. With G Suite your organisation can move faster together, using intelligent, cloud-based applications to collaborate from anywhere, in real time.

So, how does collaboration work?

Collaborating on a document is simple and straightforward. Create a new Doc, Sheet, or Slide; click the Share button in the top right, and add your colleagues using their email handle.

They will then receive an email informing them that you have shared a document and will be able to click into the document straight from their inbox.

When sharing a document you have three different sharing permissions to choose from: Edit, Comment and View. Edit access allows collaborators to make changes to your document. Comment access allows collaborators to leave comments or suggestions on your document. View means that the person you have shared the document with is only able to preview the final edits (they cannot see suggestions, comments or the version history).

As soon as they enter the document, you will see their picture at the top right of the screen, this picture will be surrounded by a colour that matches the cursor of that collaborator in your document. Click on a collaborators picture to go to where they are working in your document.

Commenting

Add comments into the document by highlighting a section of text you want to draw attention to and click the message icon bubble that appears on the right of the page. Tag a colleague in a comment by inserting ‘+’ followed by their email address (you will be prompted with a drop-down of your contacts). Alternatively, assigning a task means that an individual has an action to complete on your document. Colleagues can search for documents with tasks in their Google Drive search bar. When your colleague has completed a task or dealt with a comment, they can simply click ‘resolve’ or ‘✓’.

Version History

See who has made changes and when. This also allows you to revert your document to a previous version. Find version history under your ‘File’ menu. Here you can name the current version of your document or see the full version history. Selecting a previous version will prompt the ‘restore this version’ button to appear. This will restore your document to how it was in the version you selected.

Real-time collaboration and editing

This allows you to see your colleagues making changes and editing the document, right in front of you.

Why collaborate in a document?

Collaborative tools allow for your employees to be more productive and get more done in a working day. The collaboration functionality eliminates frustrations of duplicates, as there is just one version of the document you are working on at all times, saving confusion, error and data loss.

How can Netpremacy help?

Netpremacy’s dedicated and highly skilled Cloud consultants can guide you through your full G Suite journey. From technical assistance and advice during deployment to onsite training on G Suite, and ongoing support services after deployment. Our teams ensure that we are on hand from start to finish. We ensure that your transition is as smooth as possible, your teams are correctly trained on how to best utilise G Suite.

You can find out more about G Suite, and the training our dedicated Change management and training teams provide here, or feel free to contact us for more information on collaboration with G Suite.

27 March 2018

jellyfish and netpremacy

About Jellyfish

Jellyfish are a global boutique agency located in offices in the UK, Europe,  US and South Africa. Jellyfish pride themselves on being accountable, autonomous, flexible and personal.

About This Project

In 2017, Jellyfish approached Netpremacy as they wanted to achieve a more flexible and collaborative way of working. Over the course of several months, Netpremacy facilitated the transition to G Suite for all Jellyfish offices around the globe.

The Process

The project was kicked off with teams from Jellyfish and Netpremacy to outline the approach for the project. Initially, the Core IT staff at Jellyfish were the first team to go live.

 

The G Suite Ninjas were next. G Suite Ninjas were a select group of Google enthusiasts, tech-savvy individuals who would help support other end users through the transition. Jellyfish created a series of fantastic illustrations to accompany their Ninja theme, and brought fun and creativity to their go live!

 

“Jellyfish decided to Go Google in 2017 to further enable us to work in a more collaborative and secure environment. Netpremacy were incredibly helpful throughout the project, and ensured that our transition to Google was a smooth one”

– Daniel Paget, Group Operations Director

 

For the final phase of the project, to make all other users live, Jellyfish and Netpremacy took a ‘big bang’ approach. This meant everyone went live on the same day. G Suite branded bottles, T-Shirts and stickers were handed out, along with bunting, balloons, and cake to decorate the offices during this time. This made Go Live week a more engaging and exciting event for everyone in the business.

netpremacy google cake

In addition to this, Netpremacy built a social intranet for Jellyfish to display content and create a central place for internal communications. This intranet was accessible for all staff members which integrates with G Suite where people’s emails, calendars, and files can be displayed for a more personalised feel. The intranet allowed for easier access to information, news, and files and formed an online social community for Jellyfish. This was also launched at the same time as users went live on Google making for a whole new exciting user experience!

 

05 February 2018

The key to delivering effective and engaging training

 

Welcome!

 

A brief introduction to myself: my name is Fraja Hodges and I am one of the Netpremacy Training and Change Coordinators. After nearly two years of being a trainer, I thought it about time I put our training practices down on ‘paper’ to give you an insight as to how we at Netpremacy engage our audiences in training so as to provide them with the best possible support during any form of change initiative.

 

Training is a critical part of the change management process so it is important that it be delivered to a high standard. If learners leave the session feeling frustrated or confused, this can encourage a negative look on the product and the project as a whole. Inadequate training can lead to “bad-mouthing” of the product from trained users to other employees causing resistance and complaints. For big projects like a G Suite deployment, we are often completely uprooting daily procedures and making a huge difference to their whole working life that relies on these IT systems and technologies. A trainer’s role, particularly for, in this case, is to be not only motivating to build up enthusiasm and project energy into the session, but also inspiring in order to boost credibility and encourage innovation. With all the above in mind, I aim to explain the methodologies and approaches we apply to training here at Netpremacy and reveal our best practices from basic etiquette to the structured rules we embed into any form of training session.

 

Our Training Methodologies and Approaches

 

At Netpremacy, we make use of a range of training methodologies and approaches to ensure our audiences are fully engaged throughout the whole training session. Firstly, we apply the “Intro” model to kickstart our training, which is an acronym for Introduction, Need, Test, Range and Objective. Each of these components help to set the scene for training and can be delivered in any ordered. An Introduction to yourself as the trainer as well as the company you work for and their role in the project is a given, providing transparency from the offset. It is also vital that you allow your audience to introduce themselves, not only so that you can gauge who you have in the room (for both levels of seniority and departments) and what their concerns may be, but also so that you give them chance to talk, making the communication two-way. The Need for change is the most essential component of the “Intro” structure as it emphasises why they are there and why the change is happening, providing them with both a clear purpose for the change and burning platform for the product. Test their knowledge of the products to help you further understand your audience and tailor the training to best suit them. It might be that you have someone in the room who has previous experience or is already an advocate, which you can use to your advantage during the session to facilitate learning. The Range serves to inform your audience of how long the session will take and roughly how it is split up. In this section, it is good to set expectations of what the session is (ie. in-depth/focused training on a specific topic, a certain level (advanced, intermediate or beginner), a practical or demonstration-based session) and what the training covers (ordered agenda). Lastly, telling your audience the Objective of the training gives them something to work towards in the session and ensure they are fully confident when they leave that they achieved this.

 

Secondly, we like to follow the “Pose, Pause, Pounce” approach when delivering training. This relates to testing your audience: pose the question, pause for while, and if no-one voluntarily answers, pounce (it’s a good idea to remember at least three names from introductions). The attention span of a typical audience lasts about 7 minutes before you run the risk of losing them, therefore, it is important to make your session as interactive as possible. By asking questions, you are giving them a reason to listen and absorb the knowledge you are providing them, so that they can apply this when responding. Instead of making statements such as “This is what it does”, we try to convert these into questions: “Does anyone know what it does or can anyone guess?”. Don’t be afraid to pause long enough for someone to pluck up the courage to answer; people have a tendency to relate silence to awkwardness and will usually try to fill it, but if that fails, you can always follow by pouncing.

 

A trainer’s best practices

 

There are two stages to our best practices: the first is trainer etiquette and the second is a set of high-level rules to remember. Starting with etiquette, although not part of the training, this can directly impact your audience’s mindset and mood from the offset. If you give off a bad impression before you’ve even started your session, they will have that at the forefront of their minds throughout the training. This stems from looking unprepared or unprofessional, contributing to your credibility (or lack of). To get the audience on your side, from when they step in the room to when they leave, we have adopted this simple routine: (1) arrive early. This gives you time to properly meet your hosts, get ready for training (ie. log onto the WiFi and distribute handouts) and greet people as they walk in. (2) bring all the necessary equipment. You will most likely need to charge your laptop at some point during the day and you may even need to bring adaptors to connect to their resources. Making sure you are prepared for the day, gives your audience a sense of relief knowing that they are in safe and capable hands. (3) dress smartly. The key is familiarity, so understanding the organisation’s culture helps with finding that happy medium between professional and approachable – we have found that ‘smart, but not overly imposing or formal’ tends to tick all boxes. (4) leave the room the way you found it. The audience will be pleased to see you respecting their working environment, so if you’ve moved any furniture for training purposes, be sure to reposition these and take any rubbish away with you. These points may seem obvious, but I think they are greatly underestimated considering just how much of an impact they can have on your audience. They are an important aspect of a trainer’s best practices and are the epitome of the saying “minimum effort, maximum effect”.

 

In terms of the actual training, there are few rules of thumb that we deem essential to delivering a successful and engaging session. One of the most important to remember is that there are no “stupid” questions. A lot of people won’t speak up and ask for help through fear of looking a fool in front of their colleagues. It is, therefore, our job as a trainer to create a comfortable environment (or safe zone) where the audience feels confident enough to participate and ask questions. With this in mind, trainers should liberally praise those brave enough to speak up. So, you want to ensure your audience feels at ease, but you don’t want them to relax too much; otherwise, you may end up losing them to the classic early-morning tiredness or post-lunch coma. To combat this, you should utilise your space; if you’re stood up and moving around, you keep their eyes and therefore, their attention on you at all times. Rather than use your mouse, get up and point to the screen, or better yet, get them to.

 

To round up a training session, referring back to the objectives you outlined in the introduction helps provide your audience with a sense of satisfaction. They can clearly see that they have achieved what you wanted them to know by the end of the session, and if they haven’t, this gives them the chance to say so. Using a competency scale is a great way of ensuring that your audience feels confident enough to start applying their new-found knowledge as soon as they get back to their desks. On the flip side, it also allows you to identify anyone who is still struggling and may need one-to-one assistance. The closing of the session should then always be a recap of the next steps and the direction of immediate and long-term support.

 

Summary

 

There are lots of elements that can contribute to effective and engaging training from proven methodologies and preferred approaches to our best practices (built up and carried out by the Netpremacy Change Management team). In summary, a trainer needs to remove barriers to create a comfortable and informal environment for training, as well as leave space for interactivity to make the session as exciting and digestible as possible. These two main training streams, supported by the “Intro” model, the “Pose, pause, pounce” strategy, and various rules of thumb and etiquette as discussed in this blog post, are the key to an engaged audience and a successful training session.

 

If you would like to find out more about the training we offer here at Netpremacy, please check out our training page.