Inspire Education Group uses Happeo to bring people together in a successful merge

Inspire Education Group uses Happeo to bring people together in a successful merge

“The merger of two colleges created the Inspire Education Group; a process that has revealed many new opportunities. We can now use new and more efficient methods of communication. One of the key opportunities is to use new and more efficient methods of communication. Happeo is a key technology for us that enables our senior leadership team to communicate across the entire group simply and quickly. Not only that it enables teams across colleges to interact and collaborate in a way that previously would not have been possible.”

- Rachel Nicholls, Deputy CEO at Inspire Education Group and Principal of Peterborough College

Two halves forming an innovative whole

It was the merger of Peterborough Regional College and New College Stamford that brought the Inspire Education Group into existence – a group formed of two colleges with 1200 employees, teaching 10.000 students every year. True to their new name, they realized that a new vision on education cannot be complemented by an old way of communicating internally. The two colleges were using different intranets, both static and mainly acting as file repositories. It was time to bridge the formerly separate entities into one, with one common purpose, supported by one common platform. 

Anthony Warner, IE Group’s Learning Technologies Manager, took the time to run us through their use case.

How IE Group will measure success

  • A reduction in the amount of internal emails sent 

  • Happeo’s contribution to staff well-being and stress reduction

  • Decreasing the time spent searching for information

  • Improving the visibility of leadership – a key challenge in education

  • Happeo’s deep analytics, for the first time, will make their communications measurable

Uniting culture and communications

“IE Group’s decision to implement Google Apps for education made Google Workspace our primary means for collaboration. Happeo’s deep integration with Google Workspace made it the logical choice to support our Internal Communications. On a more visionary note, we aspire to be a thought leader and innovator in the sector. Happeo is something new and exciting – which perfectly fits that vision. You can’t change old ways with old solutions. Happeo’s design and ease of use mean everyone can embrace this new paradigm. It’s beautifully simple, where other systems are clunky and not easy to use.” 

- Rachel Nicholls, Deputy CEO at Inspire Education Group and Principal of Peterborough College

Connecting everyone

Prior to Happeo, IE Group’s formerly-separate entities used an older Sharepoint solution as well as Google Sites. The platforms fit well with the times, but became outdated. To make their new platform a success, IE Group set six requirements:

  • Allow all departments to create, control and maintain their own content

  • Provide a seamless and identical view for both colleges

  • Improve collaboration & communication between departments and colleges

  • Be the key tool to foster a culture change

  • A platform that seamlessly integrates existing files and documents used at both colleges.

From static to dynamic communication

“Once we had our new domain setup figured out, installing Happeo was easy. With first-class technical support from both Happeo and C-Learning, our platform ran smoothly from the start, without us encountering any problems. In March, we planned to install Happeo on the Peterborough domain as a prep-phase roll-out. We wanted to give ourselves time and a phased approach to populating the platform with content that our people really want. Then COVID-19 happened. Because Happeo is so flexible, we could immediately use it as our resource center across the Peterborough domain. When it came to our people using the platform, it was instant. Happeo has a very recognizable design.” 

- Rachel Nicholls, Deputy CEO at Inspire Education Group and Principal of Peterborough College

Culture as a competitive advantage

“Our buildings, technology, office equipment – they’re all depreciating assets to a college. The one appreciating asset is our people. In other words: culture is our competitive advantage. The more engaged people are, the better they are at what they do and the more productive they become. Happeo creates competitive advantage by creating a more engaged workforce. Content shared in Happeo increases the bond amongst employees and leadership. In these challenging times there is greater recognition for the impact that systems have on staff health and wellbeing. You can deploy things that increase stress, or introduce systems that decrease it. No good leader would say ‘I want to make your life more difficult.’ Happeo improves the life of our team and people, so they can support the outcome of the organization.” 

- Rachel Nicholls, Deputy CEO at Inspire Education Group and Principal of Peterborough College

Agile education

“Whether you’re in the education sector or not, everyone will ask themselves ‘can I save time?’ And does that time then save money? As an organization, can I improve the efficiency of my Internal Communications? Education leaders increasingly want to be more visible to their staff. Combine that wish with cloud computing, flexible working and an agile methodology, coupled with the challenges for the next 12-24 months due to COVID-19 all make one thing exceedingly clear – Happeo is essential. That’s where Happeo has had an impact for IE Group, in a world where agility is everything, cloud-native solutions like Happeo help you communicate change with great speed.

Being able to target a specific group of users and to communicate with that group instantly – that to me is such great technology. It's so great compared to what we had before. Because it's exciting. You want technology to be easy. They want it to be exciting and not boring. Everything you're talking about, you can do it with Happeo. And I knew that was the answer I wanted to hear because it's the platform that I really wanted.

Education is an increasingly competitive landscape. Return on a £30k - £50k investment is super important. We have to show results. That's why innovation isn't optional. In a shift to agility, the education sector is being held back by these out of date, old fashioned tethered intranets because they're not agile, nor are they aligned with the social media landscape we're used to these days.

- Rachel Nicholls, Deputy CEO at Inspire Education Group and Principal of Peterborough College

The features that changed the game for IE Group

  • Google Workspace integration to bring Google for Education closer to communication

  • Channels that allow social interaction and engagement

  • Easy-to-design Pages – their COVID-19 resource center was up in no time

  • Rich analytics that help them assess the impact of their communication efforts and internal influencers

Conclusion

“Our preferred option is Happeo. It’s a dynamic solution that’s easy to use and combines both a traditional intranet with a community-based social media platform. We expect to see a lot more mergers, especially in the UK but also internationally. It’s not just about mergers with the same types of entities either. Universities and colleges are joining forces in new ways. To support transformation in education, platforms like Happeo are a must. Happeo will improve communication across staff to fill the need for development, a need identified through employee satisfaction results. Curriculum will be better informed about changes and college-impacts, thus improving standards within teams.”

- Rachel Nicholls, Deputy CEO at Inspire Education Group and Principal of Peterborough College