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The Modest Mentor

Greig McKenzie talks about his career journey at Network ROI, his personal career evolution to becoming a Training and Development Manager, the transformative power of learning, and how employee ownership changes the workplace culture for the better.

Training isn’t about just transmitting information; it’s about transforming learners’ careers.

Starting Out

Greig grew up as a logical thinker with a fascination for computers (Sinclair ZX80 and Commodore 64 to name but a few). Greig was even programming from an early age and as an analytical thinker, his guidance teacher recommended to him that he should build a career in the burgeoning tech industry. So Greig went on to study Systems Analysis and Design. That was what first drew him to work in technology.

Greig started at Network ROI as a level 3 engineer 8 years ago, but his views on what makes a great workplace culture started way before that. He learned from two wise business owners, Colin and Mick, that mentoring was about more than just offering guidance, but someone who can give you daily the confidence you need to progress in your career path.

Working in what was then a smaller Network ROI, his role soon evolved and he became the go-to person for other engineers, moving from being a Level 3 Engineer, through “Service Desk Mentor” to the “Training and Development Manager” he is today.

There is no typical week for Greig, but he relishes the varied challenges, from delving into training, HR policies and onboarding new employees to overseeing the Quality Management certification.  But he still enjoys helping engineers with technical issues and has even become a shoulder to cry on for some if engineers have had a tough day.

Successful onboarding

Greig explains more about the approach he takes “It’s a bit like seeing a learner driver on the road, you have two choices, you can be very impatient and honk your horn, or you can ease off the accelerator and think ‘I was a learner once, show a bit of patience’”. Greig prefers the latter more tolerant and understanding approach.

Greig talks about expectation setting and how it’s a two-way street. “In the beginning, I try to connect with people to identify what they are good at and how to do it even better. I strongly believe in this collaborative approach to the personal development of people and I love helping people start on the road to fulfilling their potential. It’s about developing a pathway for success within Network ROI, finding one area they can become an expert in, and building on that. To me, it’s a privilege to be one of the first people to meet and get to know a new employee. We have a strong focus on life-long learning, being an employee-owned organisation, so onboarding never really ends; rather, it morphs into employee engagement and retention.”

Network ROI’s approach to training

“We might be an IT company, but we are in the relationships business”

Greig describes Network ROI’s approach to training and development from a comment made by Sean Elliot, the Chairman and founder of Network ROI who said “We might be an IT company, but we are in the relationships business”. Greig went on to explain that what Sean meant by that was that it’s not worth burning a client relationship over a short-term profit if by doing so you lose that customers hard-earned trust. So, when Grieg trains employees he talks about our values-based culture and the importance of building trust with clients.

In a practical sense when Greig is training new staff on Network ROI values, he feels the soft skills matter as much as the technical qualifications. “I tell engineers to always do what they say they will, and how important it is to own a problem.”. When talking about how to treat customers Greig explains the importance of being down to earth, yet professional, when engaging with customers “we should talk to people like real people, that can mean dropping the Sir or Madam, as that can be a barrier to deeper interaction”.

Greig went on to talk about the Network ROI culture and how it differs from other companies “As an employee-owned company and as a more flexible organisation, I like to think that when we hire someone we look at the whole person and what they have to offer, rather than pigeonholing them. I like to think staff feel they can approach the board and senior management, we have a relatively flat hierarchy, so senior management is on hand to listen to the entire workforce.”

Greig talked about what he sees as one of the most important aspects of the company’s culture “At Network ROI we don’t have  a blame culture, issues that come up are a learning exercise, a springboard for improvement, we can all learn from our mistakes. We have a value-driven one team approach to our culture, and our staff are empowered through Employee Ownership.”

Greig spoke about continuous learning and lifelong education at Network ROI “We are focused on continual process improvement right across our business through aligning ourselves to best practice in ISO management system standards in Quality Management, Information Security Management and Service Management.  As our business is constantly evolving and improving, so must we. Lifelong education is important to Network ROI, so when someone wants to pursue a course of study, we do our best to satisfy that wish.  This will sometimes involve training someone not for the role they currently occupy, but for the role they are aiming for.  One of the joys of working in a smaller organisation is the ability to evolve your role over time – I believe I’m testament to that!”

Working Remotely

Last March, Network ROI’s employees shifted from working in offices to working from home (WFH) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional, classroom-based training at Network ROI stopped — yet our business operations clearly had to continue.

Network ROI evoked its well-rehearsed business continuity plan, so it was relatively straightforward for the workforce to move to fully remote working during the lockdown. But when days, became weeks it was important that we all stayed in touch said Greig, “For me personally it was a big help to have remote staff meetings and interact with my colleagues. I missed the banter and it was a good feeling when people approached me during and after lockdown”.

What are your passions when away from work?

Like many who work in IT Greig has a big interest in gaming as he explains “I am a gamer, I am never happier than sitting in my den surrounded by glowing electronics. When I am not gaming or hanging out with the family, I am a huge movie fan and love Japanese gore films.” “I came to family life quite late on and it’s changed my life, my wife and two step kids mean everything to me”.

Greig was asked if there is something that not many of his colleagues know about him and went on to describe one of his passions “when the clocks go back in October, I love to look up at the night sky.  Still, dark nights are a great relaxation, especially if I get the chance to go to an area of the country where there are true dark skies and little light pollution, you see so much more and I am in my element as there is so much to discover!”

Network ROI

At Network ROI we have a shared purpose. We are not just employees, we are employee-owners. With a strong culture and an emphasis on training, we believe our people are our greatest asset. We look after our people, so they’re ready to look after your people. Working with Network ROI, you have a UK-wide team of technology experts available to help with strategy, give you feedback on your plans, and guide your business growth. You’re getting more than an “IT person”—you’re getting a strategy team.


Duo complete Network ROI’s new-look executive team

Duo complete Network ROI’s new-look executive team

Network ROI has appointed Keith Bevan as its new Chief Executive Officer and Neil Douglas as Chief Information Officer. The highly experienced duo to take up the newly created roles as employee-owned Network ROI further develops its growth and development strategy. 

Sean Elliot, Chairman at Network ROI said the appointments were made to ensure we had the right team in place to lead the employee-owned business into the future, growing its services and client base further.  

“We have reached a point in our growth where we need a new mix of experiences and capabilities to take Network ROI to the next stage. Keith and Neil’s skill sets are complementary, Keith is a results-orientated business leader and Neil’s extensive technical knowledge is second to none”.  

“Keith possesses a wealth of experience in the development and growth of SME businesses.  He has taken previous companies from UK based businesses to global operations”.  

“Although Neil has over fifteen years’ experience in information technology, he has never stopped learning and having recently been awarded the ISACA’s Certified Information Systems Auditor, a worldwide standard of achievement, he can impart his high-level knowledge to both our employees and clients in equal measure”.  

Keith said: “I am excited to take up the position at Network ROI, as an employee-owned business I feel I am a custodian of the values Sean created and relish the challenge of growing the business further in the UK. 

“While many industries continue to be challenged by the pandemic, there is an opportunity for Network ROI to help empower customers on their digital transformation journeys as well as by giving timely strategic advice in their cost-based decisions, such as downsizing their office space.” 

Neil said “I feel energised and thrilled to take up this newly created role, we have a great dedicated team at Network ROI and I feel now more than ever clients need our down to earth advice and support in order for them to come out of the pandemic stronger than before”.  

Network ROI provides IT managed services to clients throughout the UK. As an Employee-Owned business, employees are co-owners and recognise the importance of service and value above all else, and work hard to deliver this to every one of their clients. 

Introducing IT Director as Service

Introducing IT Director as Service

Network ROI are introducing a new IT Director consultancy service aimed at SME’s and organisations who want to reboot their IT strategy.

In a year like no other organisations have been forced to rethink and prioritise what matters most to their business. In current climate many businesses and smaller organisations don’t have the budget to take on a senior full-time resource. But they still need expert advice that helps them to re-evaluate their business-critical issues, ensuring that they make smart investments for the future.

Sean Elliot, Network ROI founder and Chairman said: “We are delighted to introduce a new service for small and medium enterprises who may lack strategic IT leadership. The Coronavirus pandemic has forced many companies to find new ways of working or reinvent their business models, accelerating the pace of digital transformation and remote working.

IT Director as a Service enables organisations who don’t want the permanent commitment of a senior fulltime employee to hire a specialist who can uncover technology gaps or give them strategic board level advice on key issues such as information security”.

The service assists SME’s who need help solving their key challenges including:

–  IT cost containment and optimisation,

–  Digital infrastructure and digital transformation

–  Business systems integration

–  Risk management and security

The new service can scale up or down as organisations require.  We take a personal approach to each client, examining both the immediate business goals and the longer-term ambitions of an organisation before coming up with an actionable plan they can take forward.

Visit the website for more information

Network ROI double award nomination

Network ROI double award nomination

Midlothian based Network ROI is very proud to have been shortlisted by a panel of judges as a finalist in two categories in the Midlothian & East Lothian Chamber of Commerce Business Awards 2019.

The Employer of the Year Award will be given to the business that has a genuine dedication to their workforce, over and above any statutory duty. The Business High Growth of the Year Award recognises businesses that have experienced exceptional growth in sales, profit, market share, jobs or international trade.

Adam Johnson, Managing Director said: “As an employee owned company, I am delighted for the entire team. For us to have been nominated for two awards is a great achievement. Our culture is at the forefront of the business, as we believe  that if we look after our staff, who are fellow business owners, then they will in turn, look after our customers, with exceptional service.”

“2019 has  been an exceptional year, as we have recently opened a new office in Newton-le-Willows in North West England, to service over 90 businesses in the region. We have also significantly increased our employee numbers in our Midlothian head office; doubled turnover to over £5m and continue to upskill our workforce, with our clients benefiting from expert advice in cyber security through our Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP), as well as undertaking numerous University and post University qualifications”

“We are driven by our clients’ needs to continually improve our services, including being ISO accredited for quality (ISO 9001), service (ISO 20001) and cyber security (ISO 27001), alongside our three gold and five silver Microsoft accreditation’s. We offer our clients round the clock 24/7/365 fully managed support services.”

The winners of the Midlothian & East Lothian Chamber of Commerce Business Awards will be announced on 30 October 2019 at The Brunton, in Musselburgh.

My1Login simplifies cybersecurity for Natural Power

My1Login simplifies cybersecurity for Natural Power

Network ROI security partner, My1Login recently helped Natural Power simplify cybersecurity with its innovative and award-winning Identity Access Management software.

With locations in the UK, France, Ireland and the US – among others, Natural Power has complex information security requirements. Since the introduction of the GDPR in May 2018, they, like many other organisations needed to have a tighter grip on data protection controls to eliminate the possibility of amassing huge fines. Managing a sophisticated technology estate across multiple continents and more than 340 users is a tricky task.

My1Login is easy to use and set up

Calum McLean, Head of Innovation and Data at Natural Power praised My1Login for its ease of use and short set-up time. The innovative software has helped Natural Power overcome two significant challenges; shadow IT and weak passwords.

Eliminate the threat of shadow IT

Staff members storing files in non-designated cloud apps was a big problem at Natural Power. With almost 600 instances of such applications found by My1Login, Natural Power had no way of accessing these files if a staff member left the business, which in turn made tracking and auditing an almost impossible task.

Weak passwords are no longer a thing!

Weak and reused passwords were another problem at Natural Power, as they are in many organisations. My1Login removes the problem of weak passwords by cleverly generating a new, secure password that the user doesn’t even need to see or know, increasing security and ease of use for users and administrators alike.

My1Login makes systems faster and easier to access, providing a productivity boost. Users were delighted on how user-friendly, seamless and transparent the software is. On the technical front, My1Login integrates with Active Directory, simplifying user management and reducing the burden on the IT department. Client-side password encryption instead of server-side provides more control, further streamlining the security, control and management of the software.

Case study

Download the case study here or watch the video below