In order to facilitate a successful migration among your users, it’s important to conduct employee  training and change management. You need to understand your users’ knowledge of Google Apps in order to design effective training sessions.

1. Understand users’ familiarity

You should spend a good portion of your training focused just on change management. Many users will have had some type of exposure to Google Apps, however for those who have never used Google Apps or even Gmail, the change will be quite shocking. Some of these employees have been using legacy software for numerous years and it’s very hard for them to move away from that.
To gauge your users’ knowledge with Google Apps, send out a short survey. Here are some sample questions you can ask:

– Have you ever used Google Apps?

– Have you ever used Gmail?

– Have you ever used Google Docs?

– Are you looking forward to the move?

– What features do you use most in [legacy system]?

– Searching

– Folders

– Flagging for follow up

– Sorting

– Filtering

– What will you most miss about [legacy system]?

h3It’s also a great time to seek out influencers who can stress the need for the switch. These influencers should be trusted employees with a vast knowledge of Google Apps and are ready to encourage others.

2. Review changes from your legacy system to Google Apps

Once you have identified the type of users you have in your domain, customize the change management training to fit their needs. Also consider breaking up the workforce into teams if your employees are at various levels — novice, intermediate and advanced. A Google Apps reseller can also be a good resource if you are interested in outside training and assistance.
Become familiar with the differences between the legacy system and Google Apps so you can inform your users. To ease any worries about Google Apps, demonstrate to your users how common tasks accomplished in the legacy system translate to Google Apps.
The primary differences are:

– Conversations – Gmail consolidates messages into a single thread so you can keep track of entire conversations

– Labels & Archiving – Explain differences between labels in Gmail and folders in Outlook

– Search – Show how to use advanced search and / or search operators to perform old Outlooks tasks in Gmail (before you could sort  by sender now search for “from:example@mail.com”)

– Google Chat / Hangouts – Messaging service in Gmail that most Apps users now can’t live without

3. Conducting Training Sessions

When planning the actual training sessions, it’s best to break the training sessions into smaller sessions focusing on:

1. Gmail

2. Calendar

3. Contacts / Google Talk

4. Google Drive / Docs / Sheets / Presentations

h3Each session will probably take forty-five minutes to an hour, don’t forget to leave plenty of time for questions, as there might be a lot. Have employees bring their own computer and sign into their Apps account. Leading a hands-on training session provides users with an easy to follow walk through process of how to conduct their everyday tasks. Record these sessions for reference later or to show new employees down the road.

4. Provide reference material for ongoing support

Provide employees with a resource site they can refer to for any future questions once the training is over. You can create a Google Site to house all resource materials or refer users to Google’s help site. To engage employees after the training process is over, allow employees to submit their own tips and tricks that can be sent to the entire company on a weekly basis.

Bottom Line

To successfully migrate your organization, a strong understanding of your user’s knowledge with Google Apps is needed to provide the best training. Establishing a resource site or referring employees to an outside resource will enable your users to learn more about Google Apps on their own.

To learn learn how to migrate your data, redirect incoming mail, and enable the Google Apps Marketplace check out: 4 Steps to Data Migration and the Google Apps Marketplace
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